Friday, February 03, 2006

Losing Me at a Party

This is a thought I had in December, but my thoughts came back to me today. Please, if you are a licensed therapist, please visit another blog. I don't want you analyzing me, and several people who blog need your help.

Around the holidays, hubbie and I attended three events in two days – all three were holiday parties (the new phrase to describe Christmas parties, as all definitely had a Christmas theme). Now, I am no jet-setter, and I don't really go to too many parties, but hubbie is a director of something, so he is obligated to attend. I am merely decoration.

As I was getting out of my dress after the third affair, something dawned on me. First, why the heck are some dresses hard to get out of, but that led me to think about "acting" at these parties. Not that I am phony, but I am wearing a dress that I wear maybe twice per year, I put way too much make up on, and I make it a point to be charming. And for most women, being charming involves listening.

Side note: I have been told that I am one of the most interesting people that several people have met. I sort of laugh, not because it is or is not true, but invariably, the people who make these comments are people who dominate conversations. And what do I do? I listen to these chatterboxes. I would hazard to guess that most of the people who compliment me in this way could not list two things that distinguish me from anyone else at the party. You know, most people appreciate a good pair of . . . ears. Yeah, I know, the men thought I was going to say something else, but once you look down the blouse, you want a woman who has hair to hold onto. No, I mean a woman who listens. At least at the party, that is what people appreciate.

Back to me slipping out of my dress. As I am remembering the party – mentally checking off ways I was charming and polite – it occurs to me that these people only see a very public view of me. And it is fairly one-dimensional. Now I am not talking about the curves that hubbie sees either. Well, not physically, at least. And not showing everyone your entire life is not necessarily a bad thing. For instance, I don't want to know that my boss is on hormone meds, or that my neighbor dresses up like Little Bo Peep to fulfill her boyfriend's twisted fantasies. People are so complex that I only have a few that I actually want to keep track of – hubbie, family members (not all of them) and close friends. That's all I have time for. Nothing more.

And then there are people who I want to know more about, but not everything. For whatever reason, there are several bloggers that I can keep track of what they show here. And I am not talking about Half Nekkid Thursdays, either. I am talking about what people think, how they have their eyebrows butchered, how members of their family are going through cancer, deployments, whatever.

But when I think of what I reveal at parties, most of this is trivial, polite, safe. And that's what people expect and appreciate. I am not going to tell them I hate wearing heels (women probably can assume it, and men don't care).

The symbolism, though, of taking one's hair down, having one's husband help one out of a party dress is so profound at those moments. For several hours, I was lost in pretending to be some one-dimensional ornament. Now I can be who I am, slip out of my hated heels, and be myself for someone who knows me better than anyone else. What a wonderfully comfortable feeling. A feeling felt in December and remembered in February – that's how strong and wonderful the feeling can be.


Monica said...

Good morning Leesa.
I'm jealous of your after party moments....if I attend a social function with Joe (which is rare because of his schedule) he's generally rushing off to work or sleep as soon as we get home, and I'm re-securing kids, either into beds, play clothes, or from Grandma's and by the time I'm slipping out of the heels (which I love) and stockings, there's no one around to notice....

But what a nice soothing, sleepy relaxing post for my pre-coffee morning...Thank you....and ...good morning.

kathi said...

I feel like this a lot of the time, especially at Marks company parties. The woman they're meeting, I'm sure, is not the woman he talks about. I try to watch my tongue (though it usually doesn't work) just put on a more flattering front. And I can't wait to get home and get back to 'me'. Sometimes, though, it is fun being a better me. :)

Joe said...

I feel exactly the same way when I get out of my dress at the end of a long night of...

Erm...wait. I didn't mean to say that out loud.

Anonymous said...

I'm the opposite. When I'm in that type of social setting I pretend to be a talker, someone trying to make a short term connection with a stranger for the sake of being social.

When I get home I take of my "talky talkerton" suit and put my comfy "listener" pajamas on.

Mike said...

I wouldn't think of you as just 'merely' anything...especially decoration!

You would be 'the' decoration!

Have a super weekend!

Sheen V said...

I tend to do the same thing at social engagements. By nature I'm not a very social person (but not anti-social) - I tend to listen rather than talk. I the happiest being in a group of people but not having to interact with them. I put on a more social persona when I put on a suit and tie for one of these occasions. then I'm even more content to leave.

Mike said...

Deb popped over to my place again...and she's talking about meat again.

What do you make of that?


Shannon said...

It's always nice to slip out of your false skin and be who you really are around your hubby. Kinda reminds me of Pretty Woman.. the whole ornament thing. Lets face it, we would never listen to some random person blab about their lives normally, sometimes you gotta suck it up! The things we do for love!

Edge said...

Intimacy is SOOOO powerful. I don't think guys truly appreciate it or understand it like I assume women do. It's like another post you made earlier this week about the lesbian relationship. It isn't really the sex (or food), it's the "being known". We reserve that for those we TRUST!

Gary Smalley enlightened me ( not personally ) on the five levels of intimacy in conversations.

1. Cliche ( Hi, how are you/great/Thanks/ Have a Nice Day!)

2. Facts ( Is this your car/ Yes/Can I ask you how many MPG it gets? )

3 Opinions ( The Cowboys will win the Superbowl. /You're crazy, get out of here. )

Below this line few people ever travel.

2. Needs ( I need you to be more affectionate.)

1. Feelings ( I feel happy when you do things for me. )

The last two levels are SOOOO intimate and almost NEVER revealed at a party. Because we can't trust people with our feeling and needs.

But, that was a long way of saying, "I get what you are saying. Cool post!"


~Deb said...

What's wrong with you Mike? Can't you see that you were the brunt of her joke somewhere in the midst of her post? AH HA HA HA! How I enjoyed that one! Butchered eyebrow blogger! AH HA HA HA! Oh I love you Leesa, I really do.

And how I wouldn't just love to have you as an ornament when I go to parties-----for I know the intellect that goes under that beautiful dress of yours. ;)

Your hubby is a very lucky man.

As you can see...I'm having a beef with Mikey boy. He's been blog stalking me and hurting my feel bads. Tell him to stop!

Great post Leesa----loved it! :)

~Deb said...

Ut-ohhh, I said a phallic reference.

I'm so straight!

Mike said...

Thanks for pointing that out Deb...I was trying to ignore that particulay reference she made....but I was amused by it...who am I kidding?

Leesa said...

monica: thanks for the comment; but I think I would trade such moments for the chance to "re-secure kids"

kathi: not a better you; just a different you.

joe: you forgot to mention the heels.

bill: so you are the chatterbox I am listening to.

mike: thanks for the compliment.

sheen: like two peas in a pod

shannon: oh how I like the use of "false skin", what a wonderful image, sweetie.

jef: thanks for that comment - it is practically a blog entry. I knew none of this.

~deb: you caught the reference to mikey? oh, ~deb, I hope mikey isn't really hurting your feelings. ~deb, I think you are the most well-rounded sexual being I know, straight, gay or whatever.

mike: stop bothering ~deb, please.

Amber said...

I think my personas boil down to two -- appropriate and inappropriate. With most people I'm inappropriate because I just can't help myself. But I can also mix with strangers at parties and offices and other social settings and be very appropriate. It's not my favorite thing to do, but at least I have that option.

Edtime Stories said...

I have a job that is somewhat high profile and part of that job is parties. My job also expect a certain kind of persona, so the real me is often not a good move. For my "work" life I have a very clear image that I uphold and it is certainly not one that is the same as my "private" self. I am very clear about the lines and let few people see behind the eyes.
What that leaves is what we call "plastic smooze", the innane conversation that just gets you to the next tray of pate or wine. It is funny that in the long run that is more tiring than going out where no one knows me and getting wild.

Lara said...

I love this post... I never thought about the personas that you put on at parties... because the one I put on is my real self. I usually hold back a lot, but at parties people let go more so I can be my slightly inappropriate self. Besides, I LOVE heels... they are uncomfortable but the look so damn good. ;)

Rob said...

Leesa, I love it when you talk about slipping out of your dress!

What??! Did I miss the point of this post? I hate when I do that! ;-)

Bruce said...

I have one I never change it, whether I'm at home alone or out in public. It's off-putting to some people, but that's life. Maybe that's why I don't get invited to many parties....

moebugge said...

i was the tit on the bull. the woman i was with had the position and attended all of the have to parties. it allowed me to observe without really counting. being on ground zero is a very transitory space of being. i find myself not being able to hide and i am being thrusted to forefront. it was comfortable while it lasted.

Troubador said...

Hello again Leesa,
I could have sworn I left a comment here last night, but perhaps it did not post.

Just wanted to say that I enjoy your writing and look forward to more


guerrilla blogger said...

if you hate wearing heels, why do you wear them?...

Chris-el-da said...

ugh heels.

good post. do you think slipping out of that dress is like slipping out of who you "are" at those parties???

mal said...

I always wanted to be a "trophy wife" but did not meet the minimum physical requirements *L*

Seriously, I have been schmoozing those things for years. I have come to the cynical conclusion that for 90% of the people in this world the topic they find most interesting is themselves. The great stuff happens when you find the other 10%.

Finally, who the %$#% invented heels anyway????????

Leesa said...

amber: I think we all have our little inappropriate thoughts and actions. Some of us just hide them better than others.

ed: I understand completely.

lara: I like heels initially, but after a few hours, I want to just toss them in the coat closet and walk around without them.

robb: snap out of it; you missed me solving world peace.

bruce: that is quite unique; most of us have different personas for different situations.

moebugge: "tit on the bull"; I never heard that phrase before.

troubador: perhaps you left a comment on a different blog.

*ChRiSeL-DUH*: that was the point of the post, sweetie. I was trying to suggest that I was slipping out of the "party Leesa" and back into my real self.

mallory: men invented heels, I think as some sort of "humane torture." But then they said, "ug, looks good" and silly us, we wear them because they look good.

Leesa said...

troubador: Okay, I think blogger ate your first comment, because the comments get mailed to my address where I can read them (most of the posts) or masterbate to them (~deb's posts). Just kidding. I masterbate to most of the posts.

Here is what you originally wrote, minus the part of electronically wiring me money to support my art (there were account numbers present):
Hi Leesa,
I am new to your blog, but consider me a fan.

You got me thinking about how amazing memory is, and what will come back unbidden sometimes. It is also interesting how strong feelings of intimacy can be generated by the most mundane things.

Glad I found you.


Georgiapeach said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Georgiapeach said...

This post has/had me giggling and anxious. I can definitely relate to the entire post. But mostly the charming listening

Georgiapeach said...

Oh btw..I love going to those kind of events with my boyfriend. Our relationship is happy and wonderful then. We get a long great and for some reason we are more passionate and affectionate. I don't know why? But that is how it has always been, that's why I never believe any of the happiness display with couples that have reality shows.

Leesa said...

Thanks, GP!