Thursday, May 5, 2011

How to Mingle

[Part 2 of "The Manual" series]

Although you may be single, keep in mind that the city is still a world of wary strangers. People come from different planets. Some are from Venus. Others are from Mars. Some others are from that anomalous place forgotten by aesthetics, a nether region where the sun never shines—Uranus. Understand that there are delicate lines. Everywhere, there are barriers shielding one innocent person from another, especially those whose thoughts, like interest on a bank loan, consistently compound ignorance with malice. One is the victim while the other is the stalker. Nobody wants to be either, including yourself, unless you see yourself as a nobody. This is not about being a nobody. This is about having one, a body to complement the willing spirit, not necessarily the intoxicating kind.

The barriers go by various names: an obtuse sense of humor, a disinterested genitalia, a mammoth waistline, a suicidal life anthem, an abundance of hair—or the lack thereof—in all the wrong places, age and—to a very real and unpleasant extent—a breath unmistakably reminiscent of the Jurassic period. Some other aberrations of the human psyche and anatomy are of the unbearable kind that the connoisseurs of decorum have yet to enumerate them in a list, cataloged according to their reckless obscenity. In all, they invite repulsion and disbelief, oftentimes in that order.

Reconnaissance is vital. Study your target from a safe distance, which is anywhere beyond the reach of the person's fists. A glance only takes a second; a millisecond more is already a stare. The first eye contact is guiltless. The subsequent retinal flirtations are clear invitations, imperatives to close the gap by taking the first step. Your knees might wobble but your desperation will keep them intact. Wear a fake smile. After all, nothing in what you do is genuine except your impulse to mingle.

Always assume the presence of an invisible wall. Dignify it with a plan on how to destroy it. Be prepared. Do not make a plan that has more holes than Bin Laden's head. Understand the situation. In front is an imposing border. You feel like an alien about to cross foreign territory under the pretext of immigration, whatever that means to you. You will sail through the faceless crowd and safely set foot elsewhere, elsewhere being a table for two, catered by no less than the other lonely soul. Approach, frigid liquor on one hand, a trembling pulse on the other, and an extemporaneous speech waiting to thrust itself from the tip of your tongue. Release. The first word ever to teeter in the air will declare your existence. All the rest will just teeter. Engage in small talk.

Never parade an obnoxious character that rightfully belongs to the sewers. The moment it rears its head with impunity, flush it immediately. Note that the table does not have ample room for an overinflated ego. You are not in a contest. The other person is not a contender you must outdo with your impassioned displays of narcissism. You have your neighbor for that purpose.

Self-immolation is never hot. Do not think that the other person will gather all the broken pieces of your life and put them on a silver platter then and there—with cherries on top. The world is already miserable. Purging the other person with a protracted monologue of your personal miseries will only make you sound like a juvenile high on narcotics. The last thing you will want a new acquaintance to remember you for is your infinite whining. Remember, there is always a cork stopper for every whine. There is also a proper venue for acting like a troll. It's called forest.

The mantra just be yourself is genius, except for one small problem: it requires that you already know yourself in the first place. But seriously, do not take it seriously, at least not yet. You know you cannot be yourself early on. You can only be someone else. You need to find yourself in others.

Which is why you have to mingle.

Part 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5


Ken` said...

I wish I was born to know how to be deceitful of myself or even funnel my reserved courage to mingle. Wala eh, torpe talaga. haha! Nice post!

SPLICE said...

I wish I had the courage to mingle as well. Thanks for the visit!

Dani said...

I wish I can write like you! Haha.

"Self-immolation is never hot." True.

tin said...

Some others are from that anomalous place forgotten by aesthetics, a nether region where the sun never shines—Uranus. - Brilliant.

SPLICE said...

I wish I could travel and review places and food like you do :)

Tin DLC, statue? Istatyu? Is that you? haha :D Salamat sa pagbisita!

$corpio $pirit said...

Indeed, right, Splice. We are born to be social beings. We learn from each other. :)

gord said...

"Your knees might wobble but your desperation will keep them intact."

Pano kung buong katawan? Haha. Mas desperado na ba 'pag ganun?

Taking the 1st step is really the hardest part.