It seems like regardless of where you go on the internet there are floods of articles that combat the topic of awkwardness. “21 Signs You’re More Socially Awkward Than You Thought You Were”, “Embracing Your Awkward,” etc.
Social media profiles run rampant with people, albeit mostly girls, describing themselves as socially awkward. “I’m awkwardly weird and adorkable.” “Adorably awkward.” “Part time musician. Full time awkward.”
I clicked on someone’s Tumblr the other day and Paramore started playing immediately. I thought the trend of automatic music players died along with Myspace sometime around 2006? If it hasn’t, it should. Her bio read, “27. Designer. Traveler. Extremely socially awkward and hopelessly adorkable.” Then she inserted some emo Something Corporate lyrics.
I know Tumblr is a breeding ground for the manic pixie girl archetype to run wild in all its glory in consistent reblogs, so it’s not like I was necessarily surprised by any means, but this woman was using her Tumblr as a professional space to showcase her portfolio – the reason I was looking in the first place. Why then, did she need to broadcast how supposedly awkward she was in her bio like a badge of honor, as if it really mattered?
I used to have a Joy Division poster on my wall, I went through my Ohio is For Lovers phase too back in the day (oh God, so many polka dotted skirts and dresses), and as an introvert I’m admittedly not the most graceful in all social interactions, but I think it’s sort of strange how being awkward is the new trademark, admirable personality trait to have. It’s like anyone who’s ever read a John Green novel and could relate wants everyone else to know just how quirky and unique they think they are. It’s like everyone has been plagued with a case of the Zooey Deschanels.
When I worked in a newsroom, my editor one time said to someone, “I’m SO awkward. I’m definitely the most awkward person ever.” I regularly hear girls say this at parties, too. Okay. But what does that even mean? You tell weird jokes no one ends up laughing at? You give uncomfortable looking hugs? You don’t know how to act around people? You know all the lyrics to every Dashboard Confessionals song ever? Talking about how awkward you are doesn’t make me relate to you, even if I probably can in certain situations. It just makes me annoyed you need to consistently talk about this aspect of who you are. Like, I get it. You watched Scott Pilgrim.
You want to be the type of person consistently romanticized in books and film – the unassumingly, charming, attractive person people fall for unintentionally. But here’s the thing – if you’re a straight up self-proclaimed weirdo who has a hard time talking to people, genuinely enjoy listening to the Smiths on repeat, and wear t-shirts with wolves on them unironically, then awesome, more power to you and all your alternative-self glory.
Just stop thinking that calling yourself awkward and putting the label on everything for everyone to see makes you any different than anyone else. Chances are you aren’t actually all that awkward. Life in general is weird and hard and even the most confident and coolest seeming people don’t have it figured out and I’m sure they too have uncomfortable moments and do bizarre shit. Let’s stop fetishizing being awkward in general and for God’s sake, stop trying to make ‘adorkable’ happen.