CB for my girls (image by Ana Benaroya)

What is it that makes someone socially awkward? Is it a way of walking, with toes splayed out or head jutting forward? Or is it how you hold your body in a chair with your knees too far apart or too close together? I guess it's this palatable sense that you are worried about how you appear to others that makes one seem awkward. I know I'm awkward on many occasions--I don't like long pauses and fill them with jabber, I don't like conflict and will deflect it with a joke or a self-deprecating comment, and I don't like being stuck in a conversation with another awkward person for more than 2 minutes. And there's definitely a difference between nerdy people and strictly awkward people--though you can be a nerdy awkward person, you aren't necessarily always an awkward nerdy person. I've known plenty of nerds who seemed utterly fine with themselves and though maybe were boring, they weren't charged with this strange energy awkward people have. I'm always afraid that an awkward person will totally fall apart or do something really embarrassing that I'll then have to play off as normal to avoid further shame. Like, his glasses will fly off and shatter or an unintentional bodily noise will escape him or he'll ask an inappropriate question and then try to get out of it, but end up saying something even more weird and uncomfortable. My friend here uses the phrase awkward sort of interchangeably with the word "douchebag" but I would argue that a douchebag is someone who is both awkward and jerky at once. I don't know if awkwardness is something you can grow out of though I guess it must be because I certainly don't feel as ridiculous now as I from the ages 12-15--the adolescent years are the hardest in terms of being self-conscious and not knowing where to put your hands. In your pockets? One hand on hip and the other dangling? Help!

On my way to work most mornings, I pass a Catholic middle school and it is the best for catching a few horrible adolescent moments. Today, I saw a 12 year old girl trying to show off to another girl and boy her age by doing some kind of cheer that maybe she'd seen on One Tree Hill or the OC. It was horrible.

And sometimes, you'll find that the awkward person has a certain funny little smell; I think it's the smell of fear.

Comments

Liz said…
Through avenues I will not disclose, I happen to know one of the most socially awkward human beings alive. Trust me...this is true.

His line to woo me was "I'm single if you're interested." Spoken in typical awkward person, loud, staccato and while standing in uncomfortable proximity.

Good to know I have options...
Aimee said…
I think that might be something that we call "Asberger's syndrome."

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