So I was hostessing at my restaurant job last night (this Tuesday is my last day…!!!). I was half hostessing and half training another hostess (to take my place!!) and an elderly couple walks in.
The gentleman who I’ve seen many times before, stops at the hostess stand as his wife goes on to look at the dessert case. He motions towards my outfit and says “you look lovely tonight”.
In my usual fashion [moar on that later] I glanced down at my rather artistic-y floral/paintbrush stroke blouse and beige suede skirt [I hadn’t worn either of them in quite a while] and I said to him “thank you! Honestly, I’m just trying to wear out my wardrobe– I’m kind of running out of clean clothes– ha!”
The gentleman kind of laughs and says “ah, you could have left that out. That’s a bit too much information.”
The moment is now [the dreaded word:] awkward and I’m just waiting for him to leave and join his wife ogling the desserts.
But it hit me.
Why do we downplay things like this?
I read an excellent post by Vanessa the other day talking about how she wished people could compliment others past the surface– how she wished people could look deeper and focus on what a person does, says, thinks, feels, likes, honors, tries. And how we should take those compliments and give our thank-you’s sincerely.
Much like the whole women-apologize-too-much thing, it seems like so many people downplay compliments like this or just comments in general. Of course the man didn’t need to know about my
terrible laundry habits lack of clean clothing but I told him anyways.
Part of me thinks it’s because it’s a sort of defense mechanism. For diverting attention away from myself. I’m on auto pilot, I don’t know what to say past “thank-you” to be sincere and I ramble.
Part of me also thinks it’s part of an innate desire to keep the conversation interesting. [Abigail has this cool part of her blog where you can sign her guestbook and one of the prompt thingies is something like “‘good’ and ‘fine’ are overrated, overused, and oversimplified ways to can up our feelings in daily conversation– how are you *really* feeling today? There’s a story there and I wanna hear it”].
In fact, I hope that some day my “defense mechanism” will completely shift from just that to something entirely different; a way to break out of the cold, hard, confines of “polite” conversation.
I like doing the unexpected.
I like being spontaneous.
I get a mild joy out of smashing the anticipated. Daily.
Sure, there’s information I keep to myself.
Sure, I know what the levels of personal disclosure are. [I’d probably fail at being in the CIA though]. Sure, I have my own thoughts that roam only in my mind and bring a smile only I’m familiar with to my face.
Sure, I know what oversharing is. Hell, I go in and out of phases of not caring and caring and not caring what I disclose, where, to whom, etc.
However I share what I like, I share what I mean, I like what I share sooooo [a whole ‘nother can of worms there!]
Buuuut sometimes I feel like screwing everything, holding back nothing and pulling something out of left field and just shaking it up.
Because people are not suspecting of curveballs.
Nononono sir, they’re way more comfortable in their predefined, outlined scripts and schemas.
It may have been a bit awkward [for both of us- ha!] and mayyyyybe discussing my bad laundry skills wasn’t the most… professional of topics…
…BUT I’ll bet he had something funny to share with his wife when he caught up to her.
Something slightly out of the ordinary.
That’s just one of many things I’d like to leave on my trail for someone to find.