Have you ever driven somewhere, radio blasting, singing along to Barry Manilow’s Looks Like We Made It, only to switch the station to something more contemporary when your friend gets into the car?
Have you ever been enjoying a Disney movie (read as ‘porn’) in the middle of the afternoon, only to quickly change the channel when your spouse walks into the room because you don’t want him to know what you’ve been watching?
Have you ever had an hour-long conversation with someone who was intently listening to you, only to find out later in the bathroom mirror there was something hanging from your nose or stuck between your front teeth? You feel mortified and re-live the entire dialogue, inwardly cringing and embarrassed? All this time, you thought you were THAT interesting…
Ahem..yeah, me neither.
But for those who might have answered yes to any of the above, why is it we feel the need to disguise our true desires or preferences? Do we think we’ll be judged if we enjoy the music of an old, closeted gay guy that our mother turned us onto (heh heh…I’m assuming)?
Is it that catastrophic if a part of our body fails us and let’s something hang out? Or makes a noise?
As a writer, I should be able to lay it all out there, expose my true, inner self. Tell the world, So what? Yes, I enjoy thirty-five-year-old music that is not the Grateful Dead. I may even circle the block an extra time to listen to an entire Neil Diamond song, or shed a tear to a soulful Englebert Humperdinck tune.
If that were true (and I’m not saying it is) I wouldn’t admit it. Why is it so hard for me to be honest?
Just once, I want to say, Oh, that kernel between my teeth? Of course I know it’s there. I was saving it for later.
Acceptance is everything. Maybe I’m a conformer.
I see students at my son’s high school wearing pink hair, or black lipstick, or clothes not sold at Abercrombie or American Eagle, and I think, Good for you! Be yourself, while simultaneously wondering, Oh, you poor kid. How many friends do you have?
What is my problem? I hesitate to say I lack confidence. I mean, look at me, I’ve blogged about my first Brazilian wax experience for God’s sake! (And if you haven’t read it – or gotten a Brazilian – I urge you to do both).
I’m an open book. Or am I?
Can I admit to the world that I can’t pass the movie Never Been Kissed without watching that awesome ending where Drew Barrymore waits for her first real kiss from Michael Vartan on a pitcher’s mound? I’ve seen it twenty times, and still need to see it again.
Or that I cry every time I watch A League of Their Own? That ending, where the old women are playing baseball, with the Madonna song playing in the background…This Used To Be Our Playground. Lost youth- gets me every time.
Don’t even get me started on Hallmark commercials…Tell me I’m appreciated. Tell me it won’t be the same without me there. Tell me you love me…
Excuse me while I compose myself…
Perhaps not. Perhaps, if that were all true, I’d keep it to myself, and rock my head and snap my fingers to Pink and Barenaked Ladies, and LMFAO, and not admit that my favorite song is You Make Me Feel Brand New by the Stylistics.
That’s why I love fiction- love to write it and read it. Because characters can love all of those things and they won’t be judged or ridiculed because they’re made up. And if my protagonist wants to watch ‘Disney’ movies, it’s just to move the plot along- though realistically, I probably won’t be writing any steamy sex scenes while my father walks this earth. I’d love to sit at the table just once when EL James asks her father to pass the stuffed grape leaves at Christmas dinner. Awkward!
I wonder if we all try, for even one day, to say what’s on our minds, or listen to what we want to hear, or watch what we want to watch, in front of someone who we’re trying to impress.
We might be surprised.
There are a lot more Manilow fans out there than we think. They just haven’t come out yet.