Monday, January 3, 2011

Nell's Party, Or a Test at Being Pleasant

When we were in college, Kunka, Pete and I would often go to parties and maybe talk to the one or two people we knew, but pretty much just stand in the corner. Then finally, at the last party of our senior year, this group of dudes who were our mortal enemies (they didn't know it, but they were) came up to us and were like, "For four years, we've seen you at these parties and you don't talk to anyone. You're so...intimidating." (I swear this really happened.)

Ten years later, Yvonne and I go to parties and sit in the corner. Nobody's intimidated.

I bring this up because we went to Adam and Nell's to celebrate Nell's birthday on Sunday, and it gave me a chance to put my New Year's resolution to work, and be more pleasant. Jacey was the first of the Ham readers to identify "pleasant" as an attribute not often associated with the writer of this post. Indeed, it probably falls on the list somewhere between "cuddly" and "graceful." Not that I'm generally un-pleasant, per se, but the idea is to be more open and engaging, to take more joy from being around people. Difficult to do from the couch in the corner. But pleasant, I shall be!

Nell, hands-down one of the most photogenic people we know, hiding behind the lens.

So on this day, while hiply attired guests circulated and raved about Nell's truly to-die-for elk meat chili (!), Yvonne and I...stayed rooted to the couch. What can I say -- social dread, like old habits, dies hard.

(But there's always work, with its awkward elevator rides and the exchange of those closed-mouth, grimace-smiles you give to people you see all the time but don't know. In other words, a whole world of opportunity! And, today, I made a real effort...and I give myself a B. I felt more pleasant, but I'm quite certain nobody could tell the difference.)

Also, Yvonne made a red velvet cake!


Heather said...

Dan, you've always fooled me. I never knew you were anything but pleasant.

Brett said...

I'm pretty much with Heather - I can remember EACH of the three times I ever even SAW you feeling unpleasant. That's pretty good for an association as long and frequent as ours.