CONFESSION: I play with the limits of what is socially acceptable in two areas in particular.
1) By having a self-deprecating and socially awkward set of over-sharing conversational skills. Especially when in social setting that I find uncomfortable. For example, I met a friend's new boyfriend recently and instead of chatting with him like a normal person, my get-to-know-you questions were as follows:
"How many little tax-returns do you plan on having?" (This was my opener folks, the first thing I said to the poor guy following a brief introduction). I was referring to children. Yes, I asked an almost-stranger who had only been dating my friend for mere weeks how many children he wanted... and I phrased it in the most awkward way possible.
My second question arrived after we finished a game of Wits and Wagers. "So, do you actually enjoy playing games or are you just trying to fit in and make us all like you?" (What is wrong with meeeeee????) Points for him though, because he laughed and admitted to genuinely being a board game nerd. His favorite being Clue.
Lastly, I wanted to know if he enjoyed reading (because he's dating my English teacher friend). Instead of saying something normal like, oh I don't know, "Do you enjoy reading?" I asked him, "Do you watch the movie first or read the book?" He met me with a blank stare. Because I'm obviously an idiot with next-to-no grace in certain social situations. Also, I phrase questions really oddly.
2) The second social boundary is one that many moms of little ones can probably relate to. It is this: I wash my hair as seldom as possible (without resulting in dreadlocks). I can go a good four days without washing my hair if I rotate my hairstyles just so (curly, wavy, ponytail, bun). My lack of cleanliness is one of those things that I think should probably bother me, but it totally doesn't. And the likelihood of me changing my hair washing habits are getting slimmer, because the last three times I've worn my "fourth-day bun" I've gotten compliments on how pretty my hairstyle was. Um, okay.
My two habits came together on Sunday during the "meeting and greeting" part of our church service (an often awkward social time that brings out the weird in me). A new friend leaned across her husband to say good morning and to compliment me on my "cute hair". Instead of responding with a simple, "Thank you," I felt the need to over-share, with a side of self-criticism, and said instead, "Oh thanks - I haven't showered in four days." At which her husband's face went awash of all color and he literally covered his ears. Fortunately, I was saved from my social blunder by the opening chords of the praise music.
Now I'm wondering, not why I say so many awkward things (ain't nobody got time for that rabbit hole), but when is it that we lost the social skill of graciously accepting a compliment? Why others might not do it as strangely, I think most of us, especially women, have adopted the habit of returning a compliment with some sort of self-deprecating remark. Why is that? Is it because we're crazy insecure and can't mentally accept that someone thinks better of us than we do of ourselves? Or is it a fear of sounding prideful by giving a "Thank you," as a return to a compliment? I know both have been true in my case. I never realized until just now how rude (or awkward) it can be to shoot down someone's compliment with a self-deprecating rebuttal.
Also on my mind: I hope I didn't make my friend's new boyfriend feel unwelcome... oops.
Oh, and in case you're wondering, and in honor of over-sharing, below is a picture of me with my fourth-day bun. Looks lovely until you know the greasy truth behind it, huh? ;-)