This is a personal post, but something I’ve been thinking about for awhile.
Preface: I remember the first bachelorette party I attended. I had just turned 18, was literally two days away from starting college, and was really excited to hang out with the older girls and drink some alcohol. I didn’t know what to expect from the stripper. He did his dance and played with the bride and bridal party, all of which I was able to handle. When he started grabbing the other girls at the party, I fled the room. Literally. I quickly walked out of the room and sat outside on the porch – as far I could possibly be from the stripper – until he left.
At the start of the party, long before the stripper arrived, the maid of honor was handing out funny name tags for everyone. The name tag she gave me was “Ice Queen”. The label given to me and the actions that followed that night have continued to haunt me.
* * *
I’m that girl. The one who sits at the bar, alternating between slouched and straight back positions, running her fingers through her hair, nursing her drink. Or maybe I’m sitting comfortably on a couch, lazy smile on my face, observing what’s going on around me without actually joining in. I might be with a group of people, but you’ll notice me talking to the same one or two people. When someone I’m with leaves for a smoke break, I’ll leave with them, but I won’t smoke.
You wonder what I’m like. You can see that I’m dressed more conservatively than the other girls. My face isn’t as made up. My shoes are sensible. My hair is down or maybe up in a messy bun. You might think I’m cute. You might think I’m pretty. Or maybe you might think I’m cute or pretty enough.
I notice you looking at me and I shift a little but I won’t look back. I suddenly become more interested in the people I’m with, and I take a few more sips of my drink. It takes awhile, but before the moment completely passes, I look at you again. You smile. I smile back.
You approach me. I’m still smiling but I seem embarrassed. I look away. You think I must be shy. Or, maybe I stop smiling completely when you get near me. It’s as if you don’t exist. Either way, you take a chance and say hello. I say hello back. From there, a conversation ensues. It might be awkward. It might be funny. But all it is is small talk. Afterward, you move on to someone else. Or maybe you leave altogether. Either way, we never see each other again.
The truth is, I’m flattered that you approached me. I smile at you and, the whole time you’re talking to me, I am wondering what it is about me that attracted you to me. Is it how I look? Is it because I seem lonely or bored? Do I look like I would be fun? Are you hoping to get a kiss? More than a kiss? After we part, I wonder if you ever think about me again? Or am I just another girl you chatted with on a random night out?
I’m that girl you decide to approach. And when the moment is over, it’s over.
* * *
Let me tell you this about me. I’m not easy. I won’t talk to you or dance with you just because you look at me with googly eyes and flash me a smile. I am wary of any stranger who approaches me. I’m friendly, but I will gladly hide behind my more outgoing friends. It isn’t just about winning me over. I worry that I won’t live up to your expectations.
Maybe I’m thinking a little too much about this. But we’re all entitled to feel the way we feel, and act the way we want to act. I worry that my shyness and insecurities have led to missed opportunities. Opportunities for friendship. Opportunities to learn something new. Opportunities for adventure and exploration of the unknown. Opportunities to love someone and be loved in return.
I’ll try harder. I have nothing to lose. So I’ll try harder. And I hope that you’ll give me an extra minute, an extra chance to show you that I’m not an ice queen. I’m a person with something to say. I am interested in what you have to say. Despite first impressions, I am open to being your friend. And I can be a hell of a lot of fun if you give me a chance. Note this: I won’t lie to you when I first meet you. If I find that I’m not interested, I won’t accept your phone number or offer you mine.
Just don’t gyrate in front of me in a man-thong. And if I tell you to fuck off, literally or with a dirty look, you really should just leave me alone.
I want to acknowledge a friend of mine who has inspired me with her own writing and art. You know who you are. You disarm me. And you’re really hot, too.