It’s only weird if you make it weird.
Is it, though? Like Actually?
This is a phrase that I mutter to myself at least once a week, as I do many phrases. However this one is unique in that, no matter how many times I beat myself over the head with it, I find it virtually impossible to believe.
I know we typically refrain from using names in this blog, but I feel pretty safe in telling this story because I find it unlikely this person’s potential future race for president is harmed by this anecdote (and if it is, I solemnly promise to edit this post). But remember Paul Bailey? He’s a very iconic sort of person, and was especially iconic to a young impressionable pre-youth group E.
One of my earliest memories of Paul Bailey (you have to use his full name it just doesn’t work otherwise) is when he was joking around with some pals (his oldest brother was there also), and he said “yeah whenever I feel uncomfortable in a given situation, I do absolutely everything in my power to make everyone else in the situation as uncomfortable as possible.” From where I was standing in my corner by the air hockey table not quite feeling up to actually joining this conversation, I gave a weak, horrified laugh, and then pretended to read whatever poster was closest to me.
In retrospect, what I think Paul Bailey meant by “make everyone as uncomfortable as possible” was probably closer along the lines of “exacerbate a weird moment until it crosses the threshold where everyone finds it funny and then suddenly we’re all laughing and no one feels weird.” which, if anyone could do that with aplomb, it’s Paul Bailey. But I didn’t quite grasp that nuance at the time. Instead, I just imagined someone so immune to social anxiety that they would just walk up to a group of people having a good time, pick a person, and happily make prolonged eye contact with them without saying anything.Continue reading “It’s Only Weird if You Make it Weird – embracing vulnerability”