When was the last time you had a really, super awkward moment? If you’re like me, then it’s your entire existence, from get caught singing to yourself in the parking deck by other commuters, walking into a street sign on a very busy sidewalk and having that one friend who isn’t afraid to go there in your conversations. And how do we, millennials, respond to awkward nowadays?
Remember, circa 2010, when “awkward” was the hot word, Internet posts rampantly started off with, “That awkward moment when…” and websites sprung up, entirely dedicated to people sharing their awkwardness….
Awkwardness is embedded, even celebrated in media today. Buzzfeed is always talking about awkward situations, and recently putting out this “How Awkward Are You?” quiz (try and beat my 41) (Look, do you see what I just did there? I’m really proud about being an awkward human). Have you seen TV characters lately? Abbi from Broad City is uncomfortably trying to flirt with her adorable floor mate and and work in the cleaning crew at a gym as she runs around NYC with her eccentric friend Ilana, you can actually feel the awkward through the tv. People like Jenna Marbles and John Mulaney are doing comedy. And MTV is glorifying this idea, even airing a show called Awkward (Does it still come on? Does anyone still watch MTV for that matter?). Slapstick comedy and word plays are still pretty popular, but awkward situations and characters currently reign the comedy world, probably because they’re so relatable.
We tend to seek out the awkward. It’s becoming an art form as well as a type of entertainment. I may or may not enjoy staring at my friends while stuffing my face and not breaking eye contact, along with making faces at people as they walk by…..I think I make my friends the most uncomfortable party in this whole situation.
There’s an entire Twitterfeed out there dedicated to the true questions we need to be asking on a first date to see how your potential lover handles awkward situations. First time reading them, I got kinda excited in anticipation for awkward date moments, I was about to have an impromptu date in class the next day (you know, the good kind when you know it’s a date but they don’t), just to ask “How seriously do you take monopoly?” “What’s your personal cheese cube limit?” “Have you ever been sexually attracted to a piece of fruit?” and revel in whatever kind of reactions I can get.
This celebration of awkwardness is leaking all around. Remember how just a few years ago, being a crazy cat lady was frowned upon, and feared by? Then the internet and Miley Cyrus exploded and now people embrace their love of cats and being cat ladies on clothes, Facebook, pretty much anywhere they can (For the record, I’ve been rocking the cat lady status since age 7. So ahead of you plebeians just after the 2014 Space Cat trend. [Please read that last sentence in a sarcastic pretentious, hipster voice]). (But seriously cats over people any day). On a side note, does anyone think that blind and (sometimes) first dates are weird? Hi, I don’t know you, but you might be my future mating partner. Let’s leave our respected warm beds and enter a social situation (by choice) and make uncomfortable small talk about our families and eat food, the messiest and least attractive thing either of us do, in hopes that despite lasagna stains and garlic breath, there will be many more dates to come. And flirting? How do you try to make yourself attractive in front of someone? That’s a lot of effort and confidence that no true awkward person has. I could try bat my eyes (which looks like a strange eye twitch) and say something cute (causing my voice to crack and the words to mumble together), but I’m more likely to make a couple of goat noises and spit out pointless facts. (Really, either way would embarrass both parties involved). (Do you now understand why I’ve been picking cats over boys the past few years? They don’t care how you act, as long as you feed them and let them sit on you whenever they want.) This celebration of awkwardness is great, we can be our overly obnoxious selves, but does it mean that we’ve lost properness and sensibility? What about confidence? It’s normally seen as an antonym to awkward, but it seems like we’re changing that around. Be confident with your true self, the one that loves binge watching Netflix and not leaving the couch for three days straight! The one who picks stuff and food over social interactions! The one who studies all night and aces Econ but still has no idea what it’s all about! Millenials are here to usher in a new kinda person, who totally believes in their embarrassing selves. (Wow what kinda world are we going to leave for our children?)