“Social Norms”

“Social Norms”

I don’t know how to human. I just don’t. Twenty-one and a half years of humaning later and still I have no idea how to react in a “normal” way to just about anything. My abundance of feelings makes me completely unable to achieve that ever-coveted cool-girl nonchalance. Which, if I think about it, is kinda sad. But if I blog about it…. it’s kinda funny? Right? Here we go. I give you a compilation of recent life stories entitled “What? It’s Fine. Everything’s Fine. I’m Doing Fine Emotionally” (It’s a working title. I’m testing it out for my memoir someday. It’s either that or “Really? Another Pun? Stories Of The Girl Who Died Alone.” It’s all about marketability of the year 2076. I’ll keep you posted.)

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The Scenario: Objectively Attractive Italian Man Notices My Presence

Normal Response: Eye Contact, Smile



“Is he still looking?”


“… Yes.”


“What about now?”


“Kayla you’re making a scene.”


I had done my damnedest to become one with the fountain behind me. Sadly, (sadly?) I looked very little like the water-spitting stone lion to my left. The Italian construction man on the balcony across the street had a bird’s eye view of my attempt to make like a magician’s assistant (and my will to live) and disappear entirely. He strummed a piece of crown molding in mock serenade. I hid my face behind my hand. Why? What on Earth did I think that would do? How would testing this grown-ass man’s object permanence help the situation? I couldn’t tell you. Was he still looking? Yes. Of course, because unlike the infant children I had no desire to have with him, he didn’t think I ceased to exist with my attempt to hide my entire being behind my hand. Sweating, I fled for the nearest alleyway the moment he went inside. Who fake-plays crown molding like a guitar anyway? Everybody knows the way to sweep a woman off of her feet is to strum some chords on a broom, amiright? (Baaaaa dum tsss. Nervous energy breeds puns, it seems, which is unfortunate. It could also explain why every interaction I’ve ever had with handsome gentleman has ended poorly for me. C’est la vie.)

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The Scenario: Dog Wearing A Coat Passes Cafe Window

Normal Response: “Oh, a dog in a coat.” / Nothing?


I sputtered on my beverage nearly relocating the remainder of the whipped cream in my cup to a new home on this olive suede loveseat occupied by yours truly and my hot and steamy sweetie, an over priced and under-cocoa’d hot chocolate. Speechless, my pupils dilated with adoration. I caused enough of a scene for my friend to look out the window to find the source of my all too apparent emotional outburst. She, with an admirable but not unusual handle on her emotions, remarked bluntly “Oh. A dog in a coat,” and returned to mechanically scrolling through her Instagram feed. I, however, blinked happy little overwhelmed tears into my hot chocolate because that dog in a coat made my heart feel too big for my body and my face just couldn’t take it. A napkin was offered for my tears, accompanied by that telltale, eyebrow-raising, eye-rolling “ha. This weirdo” look I should really be more familiar with by now.

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The Scenario: Creepy Man Stares At Me

Normal Response: Ignore it/ Death Stare



“Helphelphelphelphelp” I pleaded to Mike, hiding behind his 6 foot 4 frame.


“What are you doing?? I trained you for this!”


“I caaaan’t. I can’t do it.” I laughed, the nervous kind, as I dodged intense eye contact from creep across the room. Mike had made it his personal goal to “toughen me up,” starting with the downright nasty look of contempt to throw toward any guy who was making eyes at me. I tried to explain to Mike that I am awful at this because 1) I have no practice, and 2) my face, this face? Doesn’t do mean. Deterring boys has never been a problem for me as my natural state is Violet from The Incredibles invisible. He insisted I practice and had previously stood his ground as target practice. If throwing shade were a sport I’d be picked last. Worse than last. There would be some sort of barter system and compensation for the team who was saddled with my sunny disposition. “Ugh, we have Kayla on our team? No. You’ve gotta give us Dead Eyes, Resting Bitch Face and Middle Finger Jones first. Just let her go smile at puppies or something, she’s good at that.”


Sensei Mike leaned to the left to give me another chance to utilize the combo package stare he had tried to teach me, part “oh hell no,” part “it’s insulting that you would even try.” Instead, the aggressively staring Italian man saw me hiding behind my hand, because apparently, despite that being a consistently unsuccessful method of deterrence, it’s still my go to.


Italian Men: 2

Awkward Kayla: 0

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The Scenario: Friend’s First Anniversary

Normal Response: “Happy anniversary!”


I have an absolutely flawless power-couple for friends. Not only are they wildly good-looking, fit, and grossly in love, they’re also frustratingly intelligent, kind, and the best kind of weird. For privacy and blog purposes, let’s call them, oh, I don’t know, Maddi and Andrew. Maddi and Andrew were kind enough to travel to Berlin with me and reminded me over dinner that it was the weekend of their one-year anniversary. Me, being downright oddly empathetic, looked across the plate of lasagna before me at my two beautiful friends and cried because they had been in love for a year and that was a really lovely thing to my weird, sad, outwardly hopelessly romantic and inwardly deathly cynical heart. That would be bad enough, right? Wrong. The next day on the metro, Maddi and Andrew sat across from each other and casually, goofily, shoulder-shrugged and danced at each other across the aisle. I, again having no social graces and a whale-sized heart, cried at the love, and was reprimanded by the couple for having more feelings about their relationship than they did.

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The Scenario: Elderly Italian Truck Driver Blows Me A Kiss

Normal Response: Disgust? A Look of Contempt? I honestly have no idea on this one.


“Momma’s still got it”


End Scene. Why any of you tolerate me will never be clear.

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Photo selections from Seville and Córdoba, Spain

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