(Can You See) The Real Me?

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

I've been thinking a bit more about something that happened at the wedding last Saturday. Or, to be more precise, something that didn't happen.

At the reception, I was at a table with some of J & T's co-workers. I was the only boy at the table. I knew all of them, at least a little bit, and they're all very nice, just like J & T.

As you can imagine, the alcohol was flowing freely; I was the only one not drinking. I don't drink at all when I'm driving, but I rarely drink alcohol anyway. Alcoholism runs on both sides of my family, for one thing. And on a less somber note, I'm also not all that big, and it only takes one beer for me to get a serious buzz. It only took two and a quarter beers for me to get the only hangover of my life, a fact my friends still tease me about two years later. So I'm a true lightweight in every sense of the word. :c)

Most of all, I don't drink because I've always been terrified of what would happen if I ever lost control. I didn't dare risk people finding out who I really was. It was hard enough pretending to be a boy when I was sober, after all.

I tend to be quiet at events like this, partly because I'm naturally introverted, but also because I like to watch and listen people. You can learn a lot. And this day I did.

As I said, after a few drinks the talk around the table loosened up quite a bit. Being a table full of girls, the talk naturally turned to men, and dating, and, well, other things. :c) 

What struck me was what didn't happen - namely, no one seemed to notice that I was sitting there. The talk got raunchier and raunchier, and no one gave me a second look.

This has happened my entire life. It used to bother me; I felt as if I were being ignored. But I have a new perspective on it now. I think that on some level everyone at the table simply, intuitively accepted me for who I was. (Or wasn't, maybe? This gets confusing sometimes. :c))

A friend was telling me a similar story about working in her mother's office with a group of women, with the same result as me. And also about how out of place she was when she was with a group of boys.

Growing up, my friends always seemed to leave me out of their more, um, masculine pursuits (read: strip clubs, boozing, and other, less savory pursuits). It wasn't to exclude me; I didn't *want* to be included, and they knew it, and respected it, without even asking. It was always acknowledged, without comment, that I was different. And they were OK with that. And still are, as I'm still friends with all of them. I plan to tell them the truth about the real me at some point in the near future, and I suspect they won't be all that surprised. I also have a hunch I won't feel invisible any longer, either.

Here's one of my very, very favorite bands really doing justice to my favorite Who song:


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