I have always thought of myself as more of an I than an E but every psychology teacher and every personality test I have ever taken tell me I’m an E go figure.
I prefer, most of the time, to be the quiet guy in the back. The truth is I rarely speak to people first but for some reason people talk to me. When people speak to me I respond politely but I rarely elaborate my answers or initiate conversations until I know someone. I will greet people with a hello or what’s up when I see them make eye contact but that’s it. I may also give someone I don’t know a smile or a slight nod when I see them but I generally don’t strike up any conversations with people I don’t know.
I’m not sure what happens when I do get into long conversations with strangers but it happens all the time. As far as I can tell it usually starts out with just being polite and continues for hours sometimes for the same reason.
For instance, while waiting in a line at a convenience store the other day, this guy I’ve never seen before picks up one of those candy/toy combo things and presses the button and it starts shaking. He looks at me and laughs “Ha, look at this, it shakes. Can you believe this? Every since they made vibrators for women they have been making everything shake.”
Now, I had nothing to say to this. What does a person say? I mean it was sort of funny, but a little shocking and honestly made me feel uncomfortable. But then he continues.
“Well have you noticed that?”
I still had no reply but feeling I had to say something said “uh, no…not really,” because quite honestly, that’s all I had at the moment. Despite all the awkward conversations I’ve had, I’m still no good at them.
“I think they do it so them gays can buy them without being embarrassed.” He laughed.
I didn’t really follow the logic so all I did was let out a little nervous laugh and shot a glance at my friend who was enjoying the entire show. My friend knew what was going on, this was just the start. I wondered why the guy was only asking me these things when my friend was there and there were a few other people in line too. None of them were getting asked anything. Just me.
“You laugh, but it’s true, they buy them and then go home and use them on their boyfriends. He he he. You see they don’t want people to know that’s what they’re going to do so that’s why they buy these kinds of things. You know to hide the fact that they’re gay. I mean who would buy one of these things if they were just going to eat it. I’ve never seen any straight man buy one have you?”
Again I feel the need to be polite. I answer with “No, not really.” I meant to say, that is, the message I was trying to convey, was I hadn’t see any man buy one, straight or gay. But all that came out was “No, not really.”
“If you ask them how it tastes they’ll say they don’t know, they buy them for someone else. I know they do. Ha ha ha” he continued.
By this time the cashier started ringing up his items. He started going on and on about how being gay was sick blah blah blah while she rang up all the stuff he had put down on the counter. When she finished ringing everything up he paid for it and started walking out. I noticed the candy was still on the counter.
“Hey, you left your candy on the counter.” I informed him.” And there was a snicker from someone in line. I had never considered whether or not he had paid for the candy and wasn’t implying anything I just didn’t want him to leave something behind that I thought he paid for.
“Real funny. Do I look gay to you.”
Now, I wasn’t trying to offend the guy. He was quite large and I wanted to get home before the game started so I acted quickly to defuse the situation. “No sir, I figured you were buying it for somebody else.”
Everyone in earshot erupted in laughter. It took me a second to even figure out what everyone was even laughing at.
The reason I bring this up is a friend of mine and I were discussing whether or not I was really an E and he brought this up as an E moment. I insist it’s an I moment that happened to look somewhat like an E moment only because I could not escape. He, as well as some of the other people that were there, tell the story different from me though. Their version paints the scene as though I were the center of some performance or more E like.
I suspect that many people may see me as an E only because I am polite and as a result some times people will interpret my behavior different than what it really is.
Does this make sense?