Monday, July 31, 2006

The Young and the Clueless

Saturday night was a rare treat. A friend of BF David's was celebrating his birthday at a small bar/club and we joined in the festivities. I had my fill of clubbing back in the day, so I don't go out dancing much anymore, and BF David was never the club type to begin with, but it was fun to do something different on a Saturday night. Plus, the people were friendly, the drinks were mixed well and the music early in the night was excellent.

A couple of hours later, the club began to fill up with a young hipster crowd and the energy changed into something a little more Trying Hard to be Cool. Be happy you didn't have to bear witness to the crimes against fashion (leggings, ill-fitting shirts, oversize belts, ridiculous wedge shoes). Even more entertaining than the parade of bad outfits were the social interactions. There was the usual air of awkwardness that hangs over young people that try to cover hide their insecurities behind bored poses and/or manic body language. Girls slouched against the bar in pseudo-boredom or smiled a little too hard. Guys tried to flirt with a casual aloof air, but still oozed a concoction of shyness, discomfort, and misplaced cockiness. One girl, heavyset and hanging out of her dress, gestured too much and talked too loudly, seemingly unaware that the guy beside her was paying more attention to her petite friend in the polka dot tube top. One guy was stooped over, talking to no one, on the outskirts, looking glum. I wanted to go over to him and tell him that things would be better in a few years, when he grew into his skin and gained some self-assurance. Of course, there's no guarantee of that.

BF David and I watched these kids, verbalizing our observations.

"Look at Pony Tail Guy over there; he let his hair down hoping it would make Polka Dot Girl more interested. Too bad she's ignoring him."

We winced at the mostly inept displays of the mating ritual.

"I'm so glad I'm not young anymore," said BF David (though he's only in his mid-30's).

"Me too," I nodded, relieved that, even though I was in my late 20's, I'm no longer as clueless as I was in my early- or even mid-20's (key word being "as"; I certainly still have my clueless moments).

Don't get me wrong, some of the most fun I ever had was in my early 20's. Yet even though life is less frivolous today (more work, less play; more salads and exercise, less drugs and alcohol; more sucking it up, less indulging in every emotional whim), I wouldn't go back for anything. Navigating those treacherous social and romantic waters can be hellish, especially when experiencing a significant amount of independence for the first time. Throw some insecurities into the mix and a know-it-all attitude and you have a bewildered peer group that has about as much stability as a Jenga game played by drunk people. I can't even begin to count the mini-breakdowns I had in college and the several years following.

It's so bizarre; these kids were less than a decade younger than me, but I felt as if an entire generation separated us. I don't mean to come across as uppity. Lord knows I'm still growing into my identity. But seeing such bravado and gawkiness sheathed in a veneer of glamour was fascinating and comforting in that I no longer have to stumble through such stilted courtship and social rituals. I'm old enough that I'm not in a hurry to grow up and young enough that I don't dread growing old. It's nice to feel in synch with your life's stage.

14 comments:

Meg said...

You are so smart sometimes, girl. I was thinking the same thing - a new girl started here today and an asst and I took her to lunch. They were posturing over the NYU and Columbia publishing programs, and I was just sitting there thinking, "Am I old AND poor? Or do these young things have nothing else to talk about?"

pookalu said...

did you hear when betty and i were very snarky at the bar that other night, we were making obnoxious comments about the worst haircut ever on a boy?

SecondarySight said...

There was the usual air of awkwardness that hangs over young people that try to cover hide their insecurities behind bored poses and/or manic body language. Girls slouched against the bar in pseudo-boredom or smiled a little too hard. Guys tried to flirt with a casual aloof air, but still oozed a concoction of shyness, discomfort, and misplaced cockiness.

Heh... now the next time my little 20 year-old self is trying to look cool in a bar, doubtlessly committing several fashion faux-pas, I shall wonder what older and more experienced beings than I are observing my posturing and chuckling to themselves, just as I chuckle at high school students. And you know what, I won't care!! Or at least I will act like I don't, which is just as good, right?

One guy was stooped over, talking to no one, on the outskirts, looking glum. I wanted to go over to him and tell him that things would be better in a few years, when he grew into his skin and gained some self-assurance. Of course, there's no guarantee of that.

He needs the seduction community. One of the great things about the community is that it gives younger guys an opportunity to benefit from the experience and knowledge of older guys. There are just about no socially acceptable ways for young men to receive guidance from older men on interacting with women (with the occasional exceptions of fathers, uncles, and older brothers, all of which are not always available or knowledgeable).

P.S. I finally got around to answering your question on criticisms of the seduction community in the Cliff Notes III thread. Hope you find it informative.

jo said...

i'm only in my mid 20s and by no means is considered all grown up, but what you said is true. sometimes i see those young ones trying so hard to be older than what they are and i'm glad that i'm no longer at that age.

Chris said...

I am very young but have done much of my growing. I have noticed that insecurity and awkwardness know no age bounds, but the older you are, the better you become at concealing it.

Anonymous said...

Wait 'til you hit 40.

Heh.


Silver

Charlie Brown said...

You were watching the Matrix of the club environment? The pseudo-bored looks is what I find the most disturbing. I usually put on a big smile when I go out. But All these people try so hard to be cool that they stop enjoying theirselves. They would be cool if they just dropped their fear and insecurities. I wonder why they keep going out, if all they do is just being negative.

coasta said...

i envy some of you. in my midtwenties, i was still occasionally waking up in a drug induced haze swimming in my own vomit.

...sorry for the graphic imagery. it just took me a little longer. hell, it's still takin' me.

Dolly said...

Pookalu,
That's funny, because I remember pointing that guy's hair out to someone (maybe you and Betty?) and calling it The Worst Haircut on a Boy Ever. It will haunt my hipster nightmares.

Secondary Sight,
Thank you for taking time out to write such thoughtful and coherent responses? I loved what you had to say and agree so much, especially about how the guys seek out a woman who will be compliant and fit the stereotypes they set for females. One aspiring PUA in his 30's once told me that he has to hit on coeds because the routines don't work on women his age. See, if I were a man, that would be the kind of woman I'd be more interested in, one with substance and wisdom enough to see through pickup lines.

Chris,
You're right, insecurity knows no age boundaries. And while some people become better at concealing it, I think others actually develop a healthy sense of self-worth and stop seeking approval from others so much. I'm at a point in my life where I don't need a lot of validation from others, definitely not as much as I did in high school and college.

Charlie Brown,
I also don't know why people go out just to pretend to be bored. For some reason showing enthusiasm isn't "cool" I guess. Oh well, I'd rather be uncool but have tons of fun and look it.

freefade3876 said...

Aaaah, frivilous 'clubbing.' How passe. See though, that's why God invented Jungle. And if ya didn't know...now ya know!

Dolly said...

Freefade,
Hey, clubbing can be tons of fun and I definitely still get cravings for a night out dancing (not to jungle, but the thought is the same).

NotCarrie said...

I LOVE to watch people while out. It's so interesting to me to watch these social interactions.

Dolly said...

NotCarrie,
Isn't it the best when you see a couple and it's obvious that they're on a first date? People-watching is endlessly fascinating and entertaining.

Ghettobob said...

People watching is my favourite thing to do when on a date with a chick. It shows you know social dynamics, the chick gets to geuss about all kinds of chick crak things and it changes the topic to relations... A methaphore for Her and Me.