This weekend I attended a party where I did not know anyone other than my husband and the hosts.
This is not my kind of party. I am self-conscious and uncharacteristically shy around strangers. People have told me that my shyness often comes off as conceit.
It’s because…well …because… honestly…
Because I AM conceited.
And when I am uncomfortable, it seems to be the only attribute that willingly pops out.
But I didn’t have any reason to be nervous. Everyone was so nice and so interesting. And there were a lot of folks there who were ballroom dance aficionados, which means even more eccentric than me. So I fit right in.
One person in attendance especially fascinated me. She makes regular appearances on a local morning talk show. I guess you could call her a minor celebrity. Except in her own mind. Where she appears to be a major celebrity.
I thought I was conceited. But she humbled me. I need a hell of a lot more practice in being self-important to even sit at the same table.
But I did sit at the same table. So I learned a lot.
I learned that you should mention your fame at least once every half-hour. (I can translate this to at least one blog a week touting my novel.)
I learned that you should gush about the talents of your co-workers while at the same time making it clear how much you help them.
And I learned that you should make a wardrobe change midway through any event. When the sun goes down, why would you just add a sweater over what you are already wearing when you can instead put on an entirely new outfit, and get another round of compliments?
But the best thing I learned, I learned from my husband’s interaction with Celebrity-Lite.
He asked her where she lived, and she not only said the name of her affluent suburb, but then she added, “Have you heard of that town?” (Because of course, even though Connecticut is a very small state, we might be morons.)
But instead of getting offended (which I did), my husband said, “Sure, I used to have a snow-plowing route there.”
And on the way home, I asked him why he mentioned the snow-plowing, when it was so long ago and doesn’t do him justice, given his long and successful business career.
And he said, “I like to play it low-key. If people are nice to me even if I am a nobody, then they are nice people. And with someone like that, they are immediately uninterested in me and they go away. I can’t lose.”