Shirley calls for me to join in/ Next to Fabra’s sweet tenor/ But I don’t see a place for me/ And I’m too quiet to be heard/ But I’m only in time / A sojourn/ With no reasons why—/Just my melody/ So I’ll sing good too/ So I’ll sing good too/ So I’ll sing good too. . .
The intertubes are positively clogged with how to care for trembling, frightened introverts. I say that as someone who is sometimes a scared rabbit herself, as you all know by now. Naturally, this makes everyone who does not self-identify as an introvert ask when does anyone care about how to care for them, the non-introvert identified?
Relax. Here’s a secret, you put the most extroverted extrovert in a Certain Situation (obvi, it varies from person to person as to what makes their skin crawl with naked fear) and she will become the shyest wallflower ever. Shyer than you. So, let’s work on the theory that every Charmer here has specific social situations that makes her pray for a death that will not come: a party where your ex will be present, dinner with your in-laws, larger parties where everyone but you is an accountant, a meet up on a subject you know very little about but have agreed to go to, your first sex party, whatever. This information is for those settings.
I have a friend, let’s call her River. River is v. pretty, sweet, fun, geeky, funny and an accomplished professional. She does suffer suffer from what Mr. M calls “the bi girl dilemma” which is this: girls who date boys primarily are used to interacting with boys and have their internal social settings set accordingly. When faced with a girl that she likes-likes, both parties will freeze like a deer in a headlight waiting for the other girl to find the strength to potentially be rejected. This will sometimes result in a complete stalemate or can take a v. long time for someone to do something about it. Thus it can be difficult for River to flirt with other girls because it can be difficult to ascertain whether or not there’s a decent chance that the other girl is both interested in girls (generally) and potentially interested in River (specifically).
I knew River was going to a con last weekend where there would be a substantial populous that could fit these parameters. I told River that her homework was to flirt with another girl. She laughed nervously and I said, you’re doing this! Do: smile, make eye contact, speak in human words. Go get her! She said, okay, okay. She saw there was a workshop on flirting and this appealed to her geeky side. A place where there would likely be obligatory role playing (homework complete!) and a chance to learn how to fix her situation. I said, get yo’ ass there, girl! And then the work shop was canceled. And then she was in a large group of people where she didn’t know anyone very well and a lot of people who are like, Zomgoats, I am the most fascinating person on the planet and have a million stories and a body-ody-ody that is very conspicuously being displayed in this gender neutral leather cat suit-like outfit. Also, I can flirt and talk to people. YOU WILL NEVER HAVE A CHANCE TO BE SUCCESSFUL EVER, RIVER!
The last part wasn’t actually said, of course, but River felt it was implied and was rapidly becoming miserable. She figured her homework would never get completed and she was a failure at girls, cons and life. This is what I told her: River, it’s not a contest about who is the loudest, most obviously interesting and has the body of a twenty year old gymnast while possibly actually being a twenty year old gymnast. You are pretty, smart, geeky and fun. You have your real life together! You don’t know if Brittani here does. That makes you the Beyonce of this convention! Don’t get into a pissing contest that’s only going to annoy you, play to your strengths. Listen to the conversation carefully and when you have a witty bon mot, say it. Not even super loud. Because everyone else is loud, they’ll shut up to hear what you had to say. It’s not about saying the most, it’s about being clever. They’ll remember you as clever. Also, people love talking about themselves. If you ask really thoughtful questions, it will give them a chance to talk about themselves and they’ll remember you as attractive! So that’s a win all around, right? Jow and I got married because of that! He was moderating a panel I was on and he would look deeply into my eyes when he was addressing me and ask really good questions and I thought he was just wonderful because of it.
River was reassured, got back in and by the end of the evening a hot girl asked River if she could — well. The details aren’t important, let’s just say River got an A+ on her assignment.
Shy can be glamorous, gawky can be glamorous, quiet can be glamorous, you just have to own it and not let it own you. I know lots of people who don’t tell loud stories, who make softly spoken, sly comments at rituals. I always try to sit next to them because I know I’ll have a great time regardless to how the ritual goes. The thoughtful dreamers, the quiet creative types, the socially anxious brilliant brains, all of that can be part of your glamour if you make it part of it. Taking up space is so important in glamour, it’s not just about ripping around Narnia (though that’s fun too), it’s about owning who you are and learning to take your frailties and make them into something that others will find charming and interesting. It may take you a little longer as an introvert, but you can account for that too through pre-event networking (which introverts tend to prefer anyway and extroverts love a full dance card so everybody wins). Once you figure out how to make your introvertion more of a quirk versus a I CANNOT INTERACT WITH THE WORLD AT LARGE BECAUSE I AM BAD AT IT AND THUS WILL ALWAYS BE BAD AT IT AND THUS I WILL NOT PRACTICE OR TRY, it can really work in your favor.
It certainly worked in my favor when I attended Pennsic last summer. But you know what they say: two can keep a secret/ if one of us is dead.