She rises up out of a sea of faces and embraces me, embraces me passionately - a thousand eyes, noses, fingers, legs, bottles, windows, purses, saucers all glaring at us an we in each other’s arm oblivious. I sit down beside her and she talks - a flood of talk. Wild consumptive notes of hysteria, perversion, leprosy. I hear not a word because she is beautiful and I love her and now I am happy and willing to die.
Henry Miller, Tropic of Cancer
t’s not that you don’t want to talk to them. You do want to talk to them. You actually desire their approval; you’re just so, well, insecure, that there is simply no way you can open yourself up to someone’s unsolicited judgement (i.e. by being open to interaction first). Your insecurity dictates that you won’t talk to them until they’ve communicated clearly that they’ve already formed a positive impression of you. And the result of all of this ‘pussyfooting’ around is that you now, at this bar, in the bathroom, consciously arrive at this paradox where both your outsider behavior is perpetuating itself into deeper and more prominent/noticeable outsider behavior as well as your outsider behavior is indirectly cueing others to treat you as if you were an outsider, which in turn perpetuates your outsider behavior. And so this is how your night goes.
And then there is the day after, during which, well, you’re not that happy with yourself. You are at a coffee shop, and you feel embarrassed for discreetly shunning everyone you could have met, that girl you could have talked to, that person who might have gotten you a book deal. You know that the pattern will continue, and that indeed, perceptive others around you are aware of you as the outsider, as the drag. You will never be the wingman, you will never be the one to contend with, you will never be the one to surprise everyone, you will never be the one to make everyone laugh. You are always in the background, somewhat useless, except for when you are in front of your laptop, or doing whatever it is you might do that makes you money. This is what you are reflecting on at this coffee shop. You reflect on the fact that you really do like people. But that you really don’t like people. You are alone in the corner of the coffee shop, and the sunlight is shining directly onto your forearms. Your laptop is open and your Gchat status is set to “available.” And perhaps it is here that you are most comfortable, but only at intervals the size of moments, broken up by other feelings, including but not limited to self-loathing, sadness, excitement, alienation, depression, happiness, contentment, etc.” —A Night in the Life of An Outsider
Mar. 4, 2011 By Brandon Scott Gorrell