Sunday, September 27, 2009

How We Conduct Ourselves

When I was in grade school, one of my classmates won a contest and got a free entry to charm school run by one of the local department stores. Most of the girls I grew up with were a bit rough around the edges. When our friend, Mary, came back from charm school - she had her shirt tucked in her skirt, her shoes shined, a barette in her hair, etc. It was the first time I ever realized that "tomboy" may not be a lifelong winning character strategy. Problem is, I have never to this day been graceful (not full of grace as Elaine famously said on Seinfeld). I'm clumsy and animated. I have difficulty being demure. My hair generally looks a bit scattered except when I leave the salon. At least this is how I see myself.

So maybe that is why I like Courtney Cox's new character. She is a lot of fire and not so much grace. I think it is a metaphor for her stumbling through her 40s as a single gal. Most of the time I feel like I'm stumbling too - metaphorically, because I have no idea how to do a social scene.

I recently hung out with old friends who have known me only as married to my ex. So they ask how he's doing (as if he just couldn't make the visit) and I feel like they all look at me as if I am missing a limb. Where I currently reside, no one associates my ex with me, because I came here as a single. Even in my last city, most people never met my ex because we separated nearly upon arrival in that city. It really threw me for a loop when I realized my friends were still seeing me in that "couple" frame and didn't see me as just me. I'm sure I am hypersensitive to it, but I just felt like an alien. I have told only one of my old college chums about my younger guy, shared pictures, and shared the grim future. She is my thrice married friend, currently single, so I knew she would get it. We stood up for each other at our respective first weddings. So, we've both been there, done that, and seen the light.

I talked to another old friend today who knew the charm school girl. She is one of those wonderful friends who never sits in judgment and is completely open to whatever I am doing (except she thinks I should get the swine flu shot). She always asks about my social life as much as she asks about my younger guy and cheers me on to feel good about myself. That's gold.

So maybe I don't have to fit the charm school mold. Maybe that is an outdated expectation of how we conduct ourselves. I believe it is more important to adhere to honesty, responsibility, and loyalty than whether I can carry a book on my head or shine my shoes :)

No comments:

Post a Comment