1. You have elbows. Use them. And I don’t mean in that typical way, for bending your arm. Swing those knobby things around like you’re trying to puncture someone’s jugular with them. In conversation, be sure they enter each party’s field of vision at least five times, and in a way that makes them think they’re about to get hit in the face. This is doubly important if you’re talking to cute boys – cute boys definitely want to see your elbows pretty much all the time.
2. Talk about how awkward you are. Typically being self-aware is a positive trait that only mature adults, robots, and the babies from Baby Geniuses have. It typically diminishes the negative impact of undesirable personality traits. For example, being neurotic about your fitted bed sheet, but being aware of that neurosis, lessens the impact of the crazy when you roll your partner onto the floor in the dead of night because the bottom right corner popped off. Being aware of your awkwardness, however, and announcing it all the time, only increases it. Boop someone in the belly when you first meet them, announce “I’M AWKWARD!”, cackle in one short spurt, then sit down on the ground and humph.
3. Leave heart-stoppingly painful voice mails. Hey, therrrrreeeee….it’s Katie….Just callin’ to see what’s up. P-p-p-p. Uppity up. Uppsters. So anywho, I’ve got like boat loads of homework to do tonight and then later I’m gonna go get jiggy with mah frenz, that’s m-a-hand f-r-e-n-z cuz I’m cool like that. Dog says hi, arf arf arf, except not really he’s more like BROW BROW BROW. That sounds more like a dog. K imma go now, check ya later! Byeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee….
And that’s just to your mother.
4. Have a collection of irrational fears that stem from your inability to be a normal girl. Walking into a Victoria’s Secret (or a mall, for that matter) should feel like playing the angry sun level of world 2 in Super Mario Bros. 3. If you have to go in then don’t make eye contact, don’t touch anything that might slow you down, and for god’s sake get out as fast as you can.Don’t even bother going into bridal boutiques – you’ll hyperventilate five feet in the door and pass out. Fear crowds of more than ten and less than three. Fear sitting in the middle of a room, but also sitting at the edge of one. Fear compliments. Fear bobby pins, because those bitches are scary.
5. Ignore the fact that all your limbs are controlled by the same nervous system. Use them indiscriminately, illogically, and with reckless abandon. If you naturally move like a graceful lady-type, you’re not exuding enough awkward. Become hyper aware of whether or not your arms are swinging concurrently as you walk (for maximum awkwardness, they should be). Frequently decide half-way through taking a step that you don’t want to anymore, and put your foot back where it was. Fist pump when it doesn’t make any sense, and in a way that looks like you’re trying to pop your shoulder out of its socket. Enter a room in this order: head, left arm, right leg, right arm, left leg, ass, torso.
6. Point out obvious or socially unacceptable things at loud decibel levels. This works especially well when you point out obvious things about other people. “YOUR T-SHIRT HAS A PIG ON IT.” You say to the boy running the weekly team trivia competition. He’ll look down, look at you, look down again, and say sheepishly, “Uh…yeah. It does.” “YOU REMIND ME OF MY UNCLE. HE HAD AN AFFAIR WITH A LADY HE MET ON THE INTERNET,” you might consider yelling at a DJ from the other side of the booth. Or, even more awkwardly, at your uncle. Slightly abnormal volume is really off-putting, and the things you say should have the ability to make people visibly recoil. Maybe throw in an elbow jab for added effect.
- Katie Sisneros, if that shocks you at all.
From The Tangential archives: May 2011.