Sunday, February 8, 2009

Social Discomfort

Last Saturday night, my motorcycle club had its annual social event. About 100 people were there. I went to it alone because my partner has absolutely no interest to go to any social events whatsoever. I don't even think about asking him to go with me to events like this, because he hates it and I don't want to fight about it. It's really not that important.

This event is typical: you gather
, get drinks from the bar (in my case, bottled water) and talk for a while. Then dinner is served (in this case, a buffet). After dinner, awards are presented to the most active members of the club, then a band strikes up for dancing.

Generally, I am not too keen on attending social events like this, just because they are all so predictable, bland, and boring. They usually follow the same format, and while attendees are different, they all are of "a certain age" and behave almost exactly the same way from venue to venue. I went because I am an officer in the club, and had promised to attend to bring a slide show featuring the past year's activities.

While I like speaking with people, there are times when the conversation lags because we don't have that much in common to talk about. I don't have children of my own, and there is not much similarity in talking about how your nieces and nephews are doing compared with someone else's direct offspring. While I enjoy motorcycling, I am not a mechanic nor a gizmo-guy, so I really don't know or care much about adjustments for better horsepower or what gadget is next on the horizon to add to the bike. And most of these guys aren't interested in local civic matters or politics, so yet again, we do not have much in common to talk about.

A couple of the people at the table where I decided to sit were much more conservative than I am in their political leanings. One of them even had worked for the former Evil Deputy President, and talked about him glowingly. I tried not to say anything -- my momma taught me that if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all -- but it made it difficult for me just to sit there. I finally got up and went to the restroom. I did not return to the table until the conversation had changed.

When the awards presentation was complete, I saw people moving tables to clear space on the dance floor. The band began to tune up. Like the others, I moved toward the back of the room. The conversation continued about mundane stuff until the band began to play.

The band was pretty good, but sounded awfully loud because the acoustics in the room were quite bad. I have mixed feelings about watching a bunch of 40-50-60'ish people try to dance. Most of them weren't that good, but at least they were trying, and seemed to be having fun. Soon enough, I began to think that this was something like a cross between an old high school dance and a horror flick.

Because I couldn't hear any more, and also that I was seriously afraid that a female club member might ask me to dance and I would have to turn her down (and leave her wondering why or worse, thinking that I don't like her), I just found my coat and went home.

I thought about my discomfort, and realized that I just don't like to be around people who are drinking. Their tongues "get loose" and they say things that they ordinarily wouldn't say in public. I heard more than one slur toward gay people. Those who were saying those things did not know that I'm gay, and did not realize what they said. If possible and without causing a scene, I intervened and corrected each loose-tongued, well-lubricated person. But sheesh, I hate to do that. I do not hear these things when they are not drinking, and most of them are very open and accepting of me. Just not when they're drinking.

I also remain uncomfortable to be in a place where people may anticipate that I might dance. I have always disliked dancing. I an a quarantasinestrapede. (Leave a comment if you figure that one out!) I guess this is where I am different (gay, straight, or sideways) -- everyone else in my family loves or loved to dance. But not me. Never. Despite all the times they tried to teach me, my quarantasinestra-ineptitude prevailed.

Oh well, I tried, once again, to endure this thing. But I won't again. I'm just not cut out for it. Sigh.

Life is short: keep learning!


5 comments:

ribtlkr said...

All of your comments on these types of social gatherings could have come straight from my pen! Made me think of my last high school reunion. It should be even more pathetic this year when we celebrate our 40th!

Maf said...

We are all different, and coming from the same point of view as you, I completely understand your position and discomfort in this situation. We are all not cut out of this type of social situation. It does not make us bad. It does not make us worse than these people. Different is not bad. Different is diversity. Diversity is a very very good thing.

Whether you go to another social gathering such as this or not, you'll still be the better person because you'll have realized that this type of gathering is not for you. Living is always at its most productive when you are learning.

Eugene said...

"my momma taught me that if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all" - no offence tough guy but did you notice to see the byline to my blog? :P

You're in great company. Join my table, ok?

Tef said...

By the way, isn't it quarantasinistropede. 40 left feet is an odd term... unless you mean the noble italian family thingy (Quaranta), which can also apply to you, given your roots. Hm... either case, it isn't that bad... :) (You can delete this and we can chat this point via email if you prefer.)

Booted Harleydude said...

Well, Tef, you got the translation correct. Congratulations!

I presume you are not from the U.S. The term "to have so many left feet" is an American expression meaning that one so be-footed is unable to dance, or believes himself to be that way.