Why do I latch onto you? So I can be one of the pretty girls you stand next to. In a spurt of confident-induced blindness I grasp onto a particular person. His presence elevates me to a space of heightened tranquility. I am easing steadily into the desire of achieving who I want to be. I do this while being inescapably aware of myself and how I am perceived. This can’t be tranquil but it’s a step into a new progression. Any step forward puts me into a state of happiness and this is a kind of tranquility. I am a new person with the remnants of the old lurking in the background of my every action. I push my way through into the state of apparent normality. I sit amongst the charmed and watch their ways.
What exactly is charm? It’s an abstract notion that has eluded me. I don’t know what it is but I know it when I see it. I can recognise it, not out of any kind of familiarity but out of how I react to it. I can’t escape its intrigue and the envy I feel. I can’t withdraw from its prowess, so subtle but so domineering.
Part of why it’s unfamiliar, is because it is nothing. It’s a perfectly affected front. Charm is an elegant trait floating hollowly in the atmosphere of shallowness and pretence. Charm is wonderful in its frivolity but then again that’s all that it is.
Being faced with it is a strange sensation. It’s like a cat chasing a laser pointer. It doesn’t know why it’s drawn to it and what it is but it has to chase it. It’s when I’m drawn to a person and don’t know why. I know that I don’t know this person. However, in all honesty, I prefer to stand on the other side of the wall of their allure. What illusions may be shattered when you glimpse into the darker side? What is waiting for you when you break the wall and truly see the person underneath? Charm leaves little room for flaws. They are flaws heavily masked behind glistening teeth and a knowing wink. It’s hiding under layers of an apparent effortless confidence.
On the opposite spectrum of charm is me. Charm is narcissistic and knowing. Shyness on the other hand, is narcissistic and unknowing. When you’re anxious, nobody else exists but you and your constant fear of how you come across. Charm and likability is narcissistically aware of its effect and its ability to (or perceived ability) to make everyone else disappear but in a way unbeknownst to the victim of its magnetism. As the great Absurdist Philosopher Albert Camus once said:
“You know what charm is: a way of getting the answer yes without having asked any clear question.”
The affliction of extreme shyness has allowed me to draw some very warped parameters of social standing. A sense of “popular” and “less popular” is a concept that has hovered over everyone’s life at some point but my lack of social skills has intensified this notion into something more of a regime. It’s as if I have a certain place in the world and attempting to leave it is against the nature of my inherent fate as an outsider. This is a way of presumptuously placing people in boxes and putting myself in an invisible chokehold. It’s unfair and it’s conceited. In contrast to this is another type of vanity. The hypnotiser/charmer removes their victim from themselves and places them in the box as they see fit.
Season 5 of the TV show ‘Girls’ demonstrated this wonderfully in the form of the character Dill Harcourt (guest star Corey Stoll). He is blessed with fame, wealth and an odd handsomeness despite being a bald white guy which is a hard look to pull off. I like him better with hair.
Just look at him playing Hemingway in Midnight in Paris:
Anyway, for anyone unfamiliar with the show, the best way to describe Dill is a quote about him from his supposed boyfriend Elijah (Andrew Rannells):
“It’s always hard to know with somebody so famous, quote unquote, but I got to say he really knows how to make a guy feel like the only girl in the room, you know.”
He then finds out he’s not so special and is one of many guys that Dill is fooling around with. When confronted, Dill’s response is so relaxed and persuasive to a point of almost being rehearsed. It’s no wonder Elijah is so taken by him. He can’t seem to shake him even though the penny has dropped that he is nothing but a new toy for Dill to play with.
Another good example is the complex yet magnificently dazzling Don Draper from Mad Men. I’m pretty sure he’ll go down in TV character history for his cool and dominating aura. He simultaneously embodies everything I find attractive yet terrifying in a man. Behind the suave and almost calculated demeanour and mannerisms (which is intensified by his perfect features), is a cynical and disillusioned man. For someone who commands so much respect he seems to have very little for others. There’s a lot more to him but that’s pretty much a new post on its own.
As much as I love the shiny, pretty objects that are the glamorous, weirdoes are my people. I feel like I can truly be myself in front of them even if I long to dip my feet in the pool of being a “cool kid”. Placing walls of indifference and forcibly advertising only the glossy parts of yourself is a lonely road. You’re limiting yourself. You’re selling yourself for only half your worth and maybe even less if you attempt to display untruths. People can often see through this try-hard persona and unless you’re particularly skilled in the fine art of persuasion, you end up alienating yourself.
It will truly be a great accomplishment when we can revel in authenticity instead of trying so hard to be what we want others to think that we are. The parts of yourself that you’re ashamed of are what make you most interesting.
So in this way, we chaotic and openly messy people have the edge. There are no pretences(less pretence to be fair as we all have secrets). If you have fallen for my crazy then you have fallen for me. You know exactly what you’re getting into (*wink).