so the christmas party I just got back from helped me realize what I’ve been feeling around the typical clean-cut 20 something straight white evangelical male set.
it doesn’t feel like they have to work at all in social situations.
I felt like an idiot through half this christmas party, with my foot in my mouth, stuttering, not looking people in the eye or even knowing where to stand. I’m not like that in general, but when I’m around those kinds of guys I always feel that way. I didn’t go too far with ideological statements (my usual source of awkwardness) because I didn’t make any, I spent the whole time filtering myself to try and be somewhat acceptable company for these people.
I guess it just feels like it’s taken for granted in social situations that I’m going to be the one doing that. like when I just meet new guys at work or at the family christmas function I’m going to be haltingly speaking a second language while they get to go on with total fluency…except it’s about assumptions and culture and gender roles instead of the actual words. like if I expect them to listen to me communicate in my native perceptual set instead of calculating what theytake for granted, the negative response will be too strong for me to stand. I’m sure people have written about privilege and dominance and how they’re expressed even through interactions like this. even before I got in the car I rejected what I really wanted to wear as too feminine for what people want from me, and therefore inappropriate. course, even with very liberal friends I spend most days completely terrified of wearing my hair in anything but a low ponytail, let alone putting on a damn scarf or a bracelet.
I mean, I know WASP guys have to have insecurities, that they surely must avoid uncomfortable levels of self disclosure all the time and worry what other people will think, but it sure doesn’t feel like it sometimes. I honestly kind of resent them for not having to choose between quietly accepting dozens of little insults (not personal, just built into the structure of social interaction itself) or speaking up and being that guy. (this evening during apples to apples “Feminists” were defined to a tween girl as “women who say they want to help women but mostly just make women look bad.” speak up in defense and I’m a perfect example of the annoying feminist.)
it was lots of little things like that, most of them way more subtle. something I can’t put my finger on about the way the men and the women talked, as groups. halfway through the party I was standing there just thinking…if I feel this out of place, why am I even here? am I supposed to be in some big city apartment with a bunch of leftists having our own party, instead of trying to make this work?
I just sort of wonder what it would be like to just walk around being myself all the time, unapologetically. I’m not sure I have the stamina to be that aggressive. just standing around at this party my face was twitching and shit (my nervous system has gone to hell since I was paralyzed.) it’s bullshit that not actively filtering huge parts of myself could be construed as “aggressive” to begin with. god I hope I’m not trans. I’m too fond of my dick for that to be the case, I think, but socially the maleness seems a bit forced sometimes. no one was remotely mean to me, I mean I got hugs and welcomes just like the rest, but its just so damn clear when hanging around straight christians that I’m not supposed to exist.
it’s all subtle and unstated enough I have to wonder if I’m just making it all up to feel sorry for myself, but I think there may be something there. note to self: pay attention to conversation dynamics next time I’m in a group like that.
*sigh* I’m glad I wrote this down. before I started I just had a vague feeling that I was a horribly awkward person.