The Nerve of That Man

Whoever said “clothes make the man” was an idiot. You can have on a well-tailored suit and still spill wine on it because you missed your mouth when you went to take a drink (not that I’ve done that). You can be wearing burnished leather boots and still walk backwards into a door and apologize to it, just as a reflex (again, not that I’ve done that). Probably a better rendering of that classic adage is “confidence makes the man.” A person who’s confident enough could be wearing a giant chicken costume and a sign that says “I eat farts” and still make you feel like the dumb one. Conversely, it’s very hard for a person like me whose default mode is slightly anxious and fidgety to pull off an air of respectability and suavitude.

I think it’s because, for me at least, I tend to think that everyone else seems to have their lives figured out to a decent degree. Other people seem to walk around with a general sense of having their situation on lockdown; they’re not collapsing on the floor randomly or stopping people on the street saying “am I doing it good? Y’know, life and stuff?” And to be fair, neither am I, but I’ve got kind of an inside scoop on me, so I know that deep down, I’m just kinda making it all up as I go along over here and please don’t look too closely at that any one part of my life, I haven’t had time to spruce up over there yet.

It’s not all bad though. For instance, no one can really make me uncomfortable because–joke’s on you–I already am. Also, if there’s a way a situation can go wrong, don’t worry, I’ve probably thought about it. I haven’t done anything about it, but rest assured that when it happens, I’ve already thought about the ways in which it is a huge bummer. If you’re visiting me, and you’re looking for someone to be so concerned about your comfort that it makes you uncomfortable? I’m your guy. And really, no one wants a hangout where everyone is having a good time; you want at least one person to be preoccupied with where your other friend is going to sit if she shows up halfway through.

Herein lies the dilemma, though: I can’t just simply try to stop being anxious. Because then I’ll get anxious about whether I’m trying hard enough to not be anxious. Maybe I need to try to try to stop being anxious? Seems foolproof. The other option is to just not think so much being anxious or about myself in general, but that seems less fun. That navel ain’t gonna gaze itself, after all.


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