Most of you don’t know this about me, but I’m an introvert.
I’m brash and outgoing and a real wiseass – yes, I realize this.
Extraversion is characterized by sociability, talkativeness, assertiveness and excitability. I possess those traits. So how can I be an introvert?
Because being an introvert, vs an extrovert, has to do with whether you are energized or drained by interacting with others. I gather my energy from within myself. And if I interact with a large group of people, it takes me DAYS to recover.
When it comes to socializing, I do best with one or two close friends.
In my pre-Suburban Mom life, which was all about clubbing, I had two easy fixes.
One: I was high. It’s easy enough to be the life of the party when you’re stoned on Ecstasy, dancing in your underwear at a bubble rave while strangers rub you down with ice cubes.
Two : Lots of time to charge up before and re-charge after.
In New York, clubbing starts at midnight. My friends used to tease me because I HAD to have a “disco nap” before going out. On a typical night out, I needed quiet and solitude from 8 or 9 pm til about midnight. Then my friends would drag me around the corner to Veniero’s, arguably the best Italian pastry shop in New York, to blast my central nervous system awake with espresso.
These days, to combat my anxiety, or perhaps because of it, I occasionally do bizarre things in public.
That’s how I ended up hotwiring a car the first time I got together with the Cute Guy. Acting stupid helps me over the hump of anxiety. I shield my vulnerability as an introvert with outlandish behavior.
I’ve had a few real humdingers of awkward penguin introvert behavior. I’d like to share them with you, so we can laugh at me together.
Years ago, I was at an outdoor summer party with a crowd I mostly didn’t know. There was this super cute guy there, who was wearing cut off jean shorts with very unfortunate looking frayed bottoms. He was totally attractive, but that fringe? Not so much.
I was a little drunk, and decided the fringe had to go.
I thought it would be hilarious to light it on fire with a lighter. When his back was turned I lit the lighter right under his ass, and gleefully watched the frayed cotton of the shorts go up.
And keep going.
I recognized that I had made a HUGE error and started slapping at his ass. I did put the fire out, but that was after I ran up to a complete stranger and essentially, began spanking him in a frenzy.
The host suggested I go home, after lighting one of her guests on fire. I complied.
Then there was the time I injured two men simultaneously.
I was in a bar flirting with a man who was standing with his buddy. The guy I liked had longish hair, like bangs, that fell over his eyes. He was doing a sexy “flip of the hair” thing that made him seem really artsy and vulnerable.
He turned to say something to his friend and his hair fell in his face. I reached up to playfully brush it off his face. Just then he turned, and I poked him in the eye.
I hurriedly reached my arm up to see if he was okay, and I elbowed his friend in the face.
This is some Three Stooges shit. People pay MONEY to see this stuff. To complete the effect, I should have shouted “Whoop whoop WHOOP!,” sprayed them with ink and scuttled sideways out of there.
So, here are some common misconceptions about introverts:
Myth #1 : Introverts don’t like to talk.
I love to talk. If you get me started about movies, books, music – I won’t shut up.
But football talk makes me want to jump off a high rise. And small talk – how can you not believe it’s only whatever day of the week it is? Look at a fucking calendar!
I’m also not interested in talking about television shows I’ve never watched. I don’t care if the guy from The Bachelor has more tank tops than everyone at Coachella put together.
I talk plenty. I just don’t care for nonversation.
Myth #2 : Introverts are shy.
I’m not shy. Going to a party where I only know the host just does not tickle my penis.
I like socialization in small doses. If I’m forced to attend something that requires an extended visit like a wedding, I can show up and function just like everyone else.
I’ll just do it with a constant feeling of, “Holy shit, is this over yet? I just want to go home, take off my bra, and rub one out to a Game of Thrones torture scene on my couch.”
Myth #3 : Introverts are rude.
I’m NOT rude. I like to just be real, which is not always the most acceptable mode of behavior at, say, a PTO meeting. It’s exhausting for introverts to fit in with all the mindless pleasantries that pass for conversation.
I also have no filter and blurt out things that I think are funny, but end up sounding rude. Like asking my son’s best friend’s dad if his new Prius runs on ‘period blood.’
Myth #4 : Introverts don’t like people.
I LOVE people. People who I feel have substance. After dealing with nothing but suburban cheese nugs for the last 10 years, I learned that my life doesn’t cease to carry meaning because the whole “face-to-face” interaction thing sucks big ol’ floppy horse balls.
Myth #5 : Introverts don’t like to go out in public.
I love going out. I simply prefer my nice, quiet house over the jaw-clinching idiocy of public functions.
Myth #6 : Introverts always want to be alone.
I do need my alone time. I embrace solitude and get my energy from within,
But I enjoy being with people. I just choose intimate gatherings over large parties and one on one conversations over group discussions. And I’m fiercely loyal to the few people I consider true friends.
Myth #7 : Introverts are weird.
Once every couple of years, some deranged psychopath steals a tank, drives into a mall, and starts leveling the food court, screaming out the names of random elementary school teachers as each fast food booth disintegrates in a cloud of flames.
Of course, the news always describes him as a “loner.” We’ve been so deluged with these “He was an introverted time bomb” stories that we’ve started to associate completely normal introverts with an inevitable madman demise.
I’ve always been an individualist. It doesn’t make me a jackpine savage. I fully admit to being weird, but my weirdness is not connected with my being an introvert. It’s just a happy accident.
Myth #8 : Introverts are aloof nerds.
I’m a nerd and I embrace that. I am an information junkie. I have nerdgasms over complex math problems.
But aloof? Nah. I just get lost a lot in my inner world..
I often wish, during a conversation with someone I like who is saying something relatively interesting, that he or she would just stop talking.
Two nights ago, I registered to attend BlogHer. It’s right here in New York, in three weeks.
I’m fucking terrified.
There will be lots o’ people, Serious Professional Bloggers. And meanwhile, I’m going over my wardrobe, trying to figure out which skull tee shirt to pack.
I’m not going to be fully anonymous once people see me. Even in a huge crowd at BlogHer, I will be easy to spot. I’ll be the one dressed in clothes from Hot Topics, which gives me the dubious distinction of shopping in the same store as my 11 year old.
But I promise to be on my best, most grown-up behavior. I will refrain from asking keynote speaker Gwyneth Paltrow how frequently she recommends steaming her vagina.
And I’ll tell you all about it when I get back.
Are you an introvert or an extrovert?
Have you ever planned to do something that scares the bejesus out of you?
Talk to me. I’m listening.