by: Bobby Crowley
I have a dangerously high tolerance for embarrassment. This is most likely because my mother decided to do everything in her power to embarrass me as I was growing up because it was “her job.” This includes her wondrous Chewbacca impression as well as shouting “Don’t Do Drugs” out of her car window when dropping me off at school because she loved when the mother in Almost Famous does the same. While I feel incredibly fortunate for this, it is quite unfortunate for any of my friends with lower tolerance levels for humiliation. I embrace the socially unacceptable and I do it publicly.
No friend, foe, or stranger is safe. It’s not like I’m a rebel with a cause, I’m just not bothered by things that a lot of people shy away from. I like to live my life without regret. For me, that means ignoring most of the little things that our society considers “acceptable behaviors.” Like I always say, Socially Acceptable, Shmocially Shmacceptable. Pee Wee Herman got arrested for making his socially unacceptable behaviors public. Hopefully, most of mine don’t call for the same level of punishment and publicity.
There are some socially unacceptable behaviors I exhibit intentionally and with pride. Sometimes this is because I love to make people feel awkward. This means occasionally refusing to turn around towards the door in an elevator full of people, forcing them to awkwardly stare at my face. This also means tucking my upper lip into the top of my teeth and staring creepily at strangers on the redline. This definitely means serenading my friends sensually from across the street.
Sometimes my adoration of hilarity gets the best of me. My absolute favorite thing to do in this world is laugh. This doesn’t exactly help matters because I will do almost anything that might accomplish this goal, especially the socially unacceptable. Sometimes I emulate my sister and make weird faces at children while their parents aren’t watching. You can pretend that this make me seem like a horrible person, but really you want to do it too.
I am the person who buys a horse head on a stick with a friend and then rides around on that horse on the Belmont platform while people all around pray for the train to arrive. I am also the person who will find a pair of Batman underwear left over in a washer from the previous tenants of an apartment, and then put them on over my clothes and run around in them. I am even the person who buys a pile of pictures donated to a vintage shop, tapes them on her wall, and makes up elaborate personal stories for each of them that she will use to try to convince guests they are hers. What is a life without awkwardness and hilarity? Not the kind of life I want, that’s for sure.
There are some socially unacceptable behaviors I exhibit unintentionally and so very often. Yes, I am that annoying weirdo on the train who listens to their iPod and ends up mouthing all of the lyrics to whatever random song suits their fancy. Yes, I am the freak who silently has whole conversations with herself in a lively manner in public and doesn’t realize it until someone makes a horrified face at her like she is psychotic and going to hurt someone. I am also that annoying asshole who stops every single dog on the street with a high-pitched hello and a few minutes of love, despite the visibly irritated and impatient owner trailing behind. These are all entirely unintentional behaviors I truly cannot help.
There are also some socially unacceptable things I do with intention, but only because I don’t realize they are socially unacceptable until I get an embarrassed or shocked response. My best friend informed me that this includes shouting in public. You know that moment when you see a friend across the street or in a car and you want to say hi but don’t because you would have to run to catch up to them or shout across the street in public? Yeah, I do those things. I do those things with conviction. In fact, I even shout compliments to strangers when it’s deserved. I believe if there is something you want to say to someone, it’s worth a little effort. Who knows, you could make that person’s day!
My behavior is not the only thing that receives a stink eye (and not the kind that Katrina Devort gives, but the intentional kind). My wardrobe also draws negative attention. I wear wings, tutus, boas, and sunglasses with mustaches for no better reason than “it’s Monday” without shame. I buy really cute clothes and then destroy them with rips, tears, and bleach because it suits me better that way. I wear plaid, animal print, floral print, and polka dots in the same outfit. I wear four different earrings that don’t match because “I can’t decide.”
I sing and dance like a fool in public. One day, I hope to pull a “Sante Fe” on the redline. I proudly stand behind what many would dismiss as “guilty pleasures.” No, I do not feel foolish for watching Vampire Diaries, they randomly kill off main cast members so you never know what is going to happen and they are gorgeous. I become friends and eventually get on a first name basis with my teachers and the people who work at the local pizza joint because that’s who I am. I’m socially unacceptable. I’m the Tardis of Social Norms. I’m out of place, crossing the boundaries of time and space, but not really. I may be considered “socially unacceptable,” but I’m enjoying every minute of it because I get to be, dress, and act in a way that makes me happy. What else could be more important?