Guys are socialized to be that kind of person. We’re supposed to assert ourselves, and dominate conversations. If we don’t all have the requisite extroversion streak to dominate, we’ve at least all been socialized to expect that our needs are always important, that of course anything we are involved in is going to be interesting to other people—not just interesting, but exceptionally interesting, because everything we do is special and unique and better than what anyone else is doing. Guys are taught to be entitled. We’re also taught that it is our job to win people over to our side. To be competitive even in a conversation. We’re taught that a date isn’t a chance to get to know another person, a date is an opportunity to conquer and take the other person as a prize.

–fontfolly on that disastrous date livetweeting.

… I think I do this in conversations, too. Mostly because I’m nervous, and also because I have a pathological hatred of smalltalk.

The latter is what happens when you grow up around senior public servants, who go to classes on how to do that “so what are you working on right now? Oh… uh huh… yeah, mmm” active listening bullshit. I hate that stuff; I don’t care how well-meaning it is, I always end up talking too much, because awkward conversational pauses are a pathological fear of mine. And then I walk out of the conversation feeling like I’ve been conned into revealing everything about myself while whomever I was talking to gave me nothing in return.

“But it’s polite!” people tell me. “The Queen does it! It’s supposed to put you at ease!”

I know she does. I know it is. That doesn’t mean it does; it makes me feel off-balance and deceived. Especially because I know it’s happening and I still fall for it.


Anyway. The point is that, ironically, because I hate giving too much of myself away in forced executive smalltalk nicey-nice sessions, I hate even more the idea of inflicting that feeling on someone else. Which means… I end up babbling too much about myself when I meet new people.

Fu-uu-uu-uck my life, amirite?