Can you be charmingly socially awkward?
I have heard of the term “adorkable” (if you can’t figure it out, it’s a portmanteau of the terms “dorky” and “adorable”…now you know), so I know that’s a thing…but I’m wondering if another combination is possible.
What has inspired me to write this post is the Facebook status of a friend:
So, you know when you put yourself out there because you think “I’m going to be bold and if they don’t like it, then they’re clearly not right for me” …and then as soon as you do that, you start worrying “What if I came on too strong? What if I was too forward? I don’t normally put myself out there like that, so maybe I should have just been my normal self and not asked them out when I barely know them that shit only works in movies.”
I haven’t found myself in that sort of situation yet, but I keep imagining that things are going to be just like that. I have to play to my strengths, and make my weaknesses into strengths as well…and I have to face the facts: I’m awkward. And so let’s talk about relationships and sex awkwardly, right?
If there’s one thing I feel Mormonism has given me a particularly warped view about (but warped in a very complicated way), it’s about relationships and sex.
I say “warped” in the sense that I cannot seem to grasp these things in the same way that seemingly every non-Mormon basically gets socialized to think about these ideas in our modern American society. However, I say “complicated” because it’s not so easy to describe. It’s a complex kind of warped…neither “Oh poor, naïve, sheltered Andrew S” on the one side, nor “Congratulations to righteous, chaste Andrew S” on the other side.
I mean…I feel my naiveté on the dimension of sex and sexuality is similar to my naiveté about drugs and alcohol. When I was growing up, and DARE would come by and tell us not to fall for peer pressure and do drugs, I wondered what the hell they were talking about — there was certainly no one offering me any drugs throughout school. I wouldn’t have the first inkling of an idea for how to get any drugs other than alcohol or cigarettes (and I learn every day just how thorough my ignorance of the world of alcohol is…)
So it goes for sex. Intellectually, I understand that sex is a thing that people are having. Sex is a thing that people are doing. However, my mindset is such that I never assume that it’s happening unless people explicitly mention that it’s happening, or unless there is some huge implicit clue that implies that it is happening. Fortunately, in common society (or at least, just with the people I hang out with — again, see my “no peer pressure” example with drugs), people don’t explicitly mention if they are having sex. As for implicit clues, well, if someone is pregnant, that leads me to believe that sex happened exactly one (1) time.
But that’s about it. I don’t assume unmarried couples are doing it. I don’t assume married couples are doing. I don’t assume anyone is doing it.
As I said before, intellectually, I know this is incorrect. Intellectually, I suppose this is really incorrect. But I have no idea what the scope of the incorrectness. I wouldn’t be able to guess what percentage of the population has premarital sex, for example, although I suspect that it’s A Lot.
…that being said…I don’t think I can blame all of this on Mormonism. And I wouldn’t imply it. (Hence, why I mention all the complexity.) I think some of this is specific to me, personally. Years back, I identified as asexual. I don’t know if that is or ever was completely accurate, but no matter what, I definitely feel gray-A. I like the term asexualish.
Anyway, maybe that contributes to a lot of my assumptions. I assume that people are just like me, and so, I can’t really account for the possibility that I may just be highly unusual.
Regardless, I feel like these several features (yes, I consider them features, not bugs) combine to make me a rather socially awkward person, especially when it comes to relationships.
Personally, I could see myself as “the 40-year-old virgin.” Unlike many folks on either side of the aisle, I don’t think it would really bother me. I don’t think I would struggle with it. (I’m not meaning to imply that no one should struggle with celibacy, or that my case should be generalized.) That being said, it’s not like I’m actively pursuing to set any records here. Then again, I’m not really doing a lot to change things either…My thoughts are something like…if a relationship comes, then it comes…
…but then, I worry if that’s how you get on the road to FOREVER ALONE in the first place. And that makes me think thoughts like my friend’s facebook status from the beginning of the post.
I have a bit of a twist on it…I want to experiment with whether it’s possible to be charmingly socially awkward. I won’t try to hide it; I just want to be out front with all the weirdness — I am a Mormon, but not a believer, but it still impacts me, so you’re going to have to deal with that. (I imagine it would just be so easy to date other ex-Mormons.) “Dealing with it” entails dealing with whatever ignorant/naïve preconceptions or intuitions I have. My inability to get any hints whatsoever, because I essentially grew up speaking a different language and have missed the critical period to understand non-Mormon courtship rituals (much less gay non-Mormon courtship rituals.)
From there, I think I can really gamble on either bumping up the charm or alienating everyone completely. If I’m staring too much at your face, then allow me to ask you for permission to creepily gaze at your face. It’s a compliment, man! Can’t you see I don’t really know how to be discreet about this?
Ugh…don’t most people get to get over this awkwardness when they are teenagers? So much for that, late bloomer.
And then, I will hide the embarrassment of my emotions in a veneer of faux badassery. There will be no “dates.” There will be no boyfriend/boyfriend whatever. There will only be the PACT of BROTHERHOOD, with its attendant rituals and mythos that we can make up essentially as we go along. They don’t have to be lifted wholesale from Alpha Centauri, but if you want to double commerce between our bases, that’d totally be cool too. I just want someone to be MAGNANIMOUS with. (or SUBMISSIVE??? I don’t know how things like this work…)
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