I spend an inordinate amount of time feeling socially awkward. While I'm not a total nose picker, I've never learned how to work the room. God knows I've tried - my twenties are a blur of eyelash batting and ass kissing - but my strength has never been in keepin' it smoove. Put me with a group and the dial immediately goes to Wocka-Wocka! I used to write it off as leftover insecurity from the Geek Years (when "Welcome To The Dollhouse" came out, one of my friends crowed, "Hey, Ali! They made a movie about you!") but I'm starting to wonder if maybe I'm iffy. I went to a party the other night thrown by a girl I know. She's one of those funny, casual gals I try to emulate - not too cool, not too quirky, just right. I hardly knew anyone there (yellow alert) but they were clearly quality women and went out of their way to put me at ease.
I'm pretty sure they thought I was a douche.
I can't put my finger on what went weird, I just felt a half a beat behind the joke. I once had a "frenemy" (seriously, somebody come up with another word) who lived to send me emails detailing the finer points of my personality flaws. (I'm too competive, I only talk about acting, I'm shallow, self-absorbed... This is news?) It doesn't take a Psych major to point out that everything she criticized about me were her shortcomings too, but because they were couched in "I'm only doing this because I love you" it was hard not to take them to heart. (BTW, couching passive-aggressiveness in "only because I love you" bullshit? I call bullshit.)
Now that I have a kid, adult socialization is practically fried gold. To spend it feeling like I'm back in 4th grade sucks. I have reunions coming up! (Feel... dial... turning...) Shouldn't I have mastered this skill? And if I can't master it, how the horsefeathers am I going to teach it to my son?