Flattery Will Get You Everywhere With Me

Tonight was one of the more awkward, weirder nights of my life. And my life’s baseline levels of awk and weird are pretty high, in my estimation. You know when two people are having a pissing contest where their egos are pretty clearly on the line but they’re trying to act like they’re not and this is all in good fun, one-upping each other with “witty” comebacks and trying to make the other look, and feel, foolish? Yeah I really hate that. Before you say it, yes, it is because I’m not very good at it. I just can’t train my brain to expect anything other than earnestness. It takes me a relatively long time to believe that the thing a person just said wasn’t literally true.

I’m just an earnest person, which accounts for a lot of the aforementioned awk and weird. I like everyone to be in on everything. I like people to be kind to each other. I’m never impressed when someone can make someone else look dumb. How hard is that? People are freaking dumb. What’s hard is to return nastiness with kindness. That’s impressive.

I’m never clear on what I’m supposed to be doing while two people take their dicks out and compare them. Comment on the girth? Pretend something is happening on my phone?

At one point the boy tries to reconcile. “Really though, I had a good time tonight. I like you.” And my heart warmed. I smiled. The girl though gets mad! “I see what you’re doing here.”

Here’s another thing I don’t understand. Why do people get upset about flattery with an agenda? As if there’s a store of totally genuine positive thoughts and feelings people have about you, and only a compliment plucked from that secret garden “counts” as “real.” First of all, everyone does everything because they want something. That’s called being alive. Sure, there are levels to which they are aware, consciously, of their scheming. And levels of skill at obfuscating that agenda, as I have to remind myself, because I have no obfuscating skills whatsoever. But I’m not going to hold introspection and self-awareness against anyone! Second, let’s just say that the person does not, in fact, find my whatever, purse, let’s say, actually “cute,” but only said it to curry favor from me because they expect that will help them in the future. Bitch, that’s flattering! That means they think I’m a person of influence, worth buttering up! Frankly that’s way better than having a cute purse.

My life is a series of social interactions where I’m not exactly sure what is happening. Some nights, I am fairly certain I do know what’s going on, and I do not like it. That was tonight.

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