Monday, February 21, 2011

Deb and Barb Have A Three-Way (dancing might be involved)

Deb and Barb Have A Three-Way With Gae

Barbara met Gae just about a year ago in her absolutely first foray into a public forum. She noticed right away that Gae was special: honest, sincere, supportive, funny. Then she discovered that Gae was an exquisite writer with two beautiful blogs––Trying to Stay Afloat in a Sea of Words and That Wee Bit Heap––and a first novel coming out in May called The Pull of Gravity (don't forget to click "like"). When Deb and Barbara began blogging a little under a year ago, Gae was one of our first regular readers­­––and we are richer for it. If only she could get her damn comments to post!

Gae: So, Deb and Barb invited me in for a three-way, and seriously, who would ever turn that down? I’m sure when they did, they were hoping for something poignant yet clever, witty yet moving, and instead I’ve offered them something merely ridiculous. Perhaps tomorrow, they shall return you to the sublime. But for now, ridiculous it is.

Because, well into my 40’s––and with my presence on facebook ever-growing in connection with my second career as a writer––I’ve noticed a sort of interesting new phenomenon: I like to make a fool of myself in virtual public. Or at least I seem to enjoy sharing my foolishness with others.

For example, the other night after a rather invigorating run on the elliptical, I went to “dismount,” missed my footing (with the pedals still cycling) and catapulted myself face-first off the elliptical onto the floor. Why YES, it hurt (did you not just read what I did?). And yet, my honest-to-goodness first thought, after the excruciating pain in my right knee and ankle and left cheekbone subsided, was, “Oh man, I wish I had caught that on tape!”

I mean, it was hilarious, so why wouldn’t I want to share it to the great pleasure and humor of my adoring virtual friends?

Or take, for another example, the fact that I, a complete and utter non-dancer who absolutely cannot bring myself to get up in front of real people in real life to boogie unless I’ve tied one too many on, decided it would be entertaining to post a clip or two of me dancing badly to some rap music the other afternoon, an act which seemed to leave a majority of my friends speechless, but also highly entertained.



So, what is it about this public making a fool of myself that has me wanting to return to it time and again?

Barbara: Okay, Gae, I would’ve LOVED to have seen that elliptical-tumble on tape! Just the thought of it makes me laugh. And yet the thought of ME making a fool of MYSELF is still kind of iffy. I WANT to be funny for my peeps, want to entertain them with my pratfalls, yet still have a bit of a block in that regard. But in the spirit of pushing my limits, I will join you on the virtual dance floor. (The thing is, put me on a real dance floor, I feel like queen of the room, put me on tape, I feel like Elaine ugly-dancing on Seinfeld, remember that? Make sure you observe the lip-smoosh, my signature move, which feels great, but looks super dorky…on me anyway.)



Deb: It’s funny, this notion of making a fool of oneself. I guess one person’s fool is another person’s entertainment. I guess if we were attaching the phrase to our outgoing behavior then, yes, I would have to say I am a fool. I was, from a very early age a very rare thing for a kid in the 50’s––a GIRL class clown. Now because I was a good girl who followed the rules, I didn’t actually act out in class. But at recess, I was holding court with everything from Monty Python recitations to Laugh-In sketches to the singing of Mad Magazine songs. ”Watchdog in the Night” sung to the tune of “Strangers in the Night” is still as fresh in my mind as what I had for breakfast.

But I never thought of myself as playing the fool. I was just being me. So where is the line, I wonder?

Some years ago on a ski trip with Barb’s family, my front tooth fell out as I bit into a bagel at breakfast. Yes, you heard me! Now I had two choices in that moment. One, to act as embarrassed as I maybe should have been and to make everyone feel badly for me, or two, to do a Hillbilly character with my tooth out and make everyone laugh? As you have already surmised, I did a Hillbilly soliloquy. Was I a fool? I don’t know. Didn’t feel like one. Maybe that makes me more the fool.

I watched Gae’s little dance and thought the following: sweet, cute, funny, open, charming. “Fool” didn’t enter my mind.

Gae: Barb, oh my god, the lip smoosh! Not signature, because I do it too. And yes, totally not sexy. But sexier than the hillbilly tooth that has me peeing in my pants, and seriously laughing out loud. *fights urge to get camera and film the hillbilly tooth reaction.*

Anyway, I got to wondering what it is about this making a fool of myself that has me so turned on? Maybe, in truth, there’s something liberating about being at a point in my life where I can.
For most of my teen and young adult life, I worried deeply about what people thought of me, and, of course, to some extent, I still do. For sure, I never thought I was pretty enough, smart enough, skinny enough, poised enough, or special enough (and maybe there’s still a part of me that doesn’t). But I did learn how to fake that I did.

And the amazing thing about that was, all the time I was feeling insecure and deficient but faking it, the people around me––especially women––resented my “perceived” perfection. Female friends, especially, didn’t get how hard I was trying because none of it really felt good enough. I never felt free to be less than great at something, or better yet, plain bad at something. So, I maintained a certain fa├žade. Which in some weird way also backfired.

Until recently.

It’s as if I’ve discovered how freeing it is to share my glaring imperfections with others, as long as we are all laughing. (We’re ALL laughing with not at me, aren’t we?)

And I like it. I like being able to be less than pretty at times, less than talented, and less than coordinated for sure, and to share it with my friends. Don’t get me wrong, I crop, edit and control the amount that goes out there, but still, baby steps. This is me. Here I am.

Barbara: I soooo relate to this, Gae. In my own way, of course, with my own insecurities and cringes. But I definitely grew up feeling that self-induced pressure to be perfect. I think I believed if I was perfect then I would be less of a burden on the people around me. But then I also remember feeling like all eyes were on me all the time (and not in a glamorous way) and I HATED it.

I have worked hard to get over that. I remind myself that I am not everyone’s everything, so they don’t really care that much how stupid I am, or how much spinach is in my teeth, or how my shoes don’t match my outfit (well, for longer than a nano-second anyway, which doesn’t count). And I’ve mostly conquered it too. I belong in my world and I want to take up my allotted space in it.

Would it be great if I could also invite people to laugh with me (and/or at me)? Absolutely! Either way, here I am. This is me.

Deb: The real irony of the acting out in public, or the “fool” behaviour, is that I cannot do it in my profession. Let me be more specific. I cannot do it in auditions, which is why I don’t do them anymore unless forced. I am so outgoing as a performer that once I have the job, I’ll try just about anything for a laugh. And yet in the audition itself, I get feedback like “forgettable”, “too low-key”, “not exciting”, “no energy”. The audition is the ONE place in my life where I am loathe to make a fool of myself, or more to the point, I am afraid I WILL make a fool of myself. The fool is with me in the introductions and out in the waiting room and in the car on the way home. But helping me get a job­­––NO SIR! 

So here I am, this is me. Would you hire this girl? 
PS Deb, Barb and Gae invite you all to post a link to your own dance in our comments section. We want to start a dance dance revolution. ... Wait, has that been used already? Anyway, do it.


Thanks to Michele for the great editing! We love you!


Gae Polisner is the author of the young adult novel The Pull of Gravity (Steinbeck and Star Wars guide two teens on a whirlwind road trip to keep a promise to their dying friend). She wrote The Pull of Gravity as an homage to the character-driven fiction she loved as a teenager, by the likes of Zindel, Konigsburg, and L’Engle. When Gae is not writing (or off being a lawyer), she can be found with her family, or swimming in the open waters off Long Island. The Pull of Gravity will be released on May 10, 2011 from Frances Foster Books/Farrar Straus Giroux. It is her first (published) novel.

44 comments:

  1. That was great fun (and a HUGE amount of work for Barb & co. so thank you)!

    So, Barb, do you have the bug? Do you want to do it again? (and btw, the lip smoosh on you?: ADORABLE!).

    And then there's Deb. Who wouldn't want Deb in that robe? I know I do. Did somebody mention a three way?

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  2. I know, Gae! I love that Deb is in her robe. Looks pretty 3-way to me :)

    I do have the bug. I'm telling you, people, fun can be had by having fun.

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  3. You two are so funny, wacky and wild. Love you even more. I can't dance at all and I do look like Elaine on Seinfeld. I don't have any rhythm and usually can't even clap on a beat. You both seems to have a sense of rhythm and the videos were fabulous. Thanks for sharing wild and crazy with me.

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  4. I loved it!! All of your videos make me smile! As did the elliptical and the hillbilly stories!

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  5. How wonderful to feel free in our forties, yes? Love Gae, loved this post (and the videos), and love being, well, grown up in a delightfully child-like sort of way. :-)

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  6. Oh also, I will post my dancy fance moves up here later. I'm watching my cousin's wedding at the moment. ♥

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  7. Caron, free in our forties -- that's the challenge and joy, isn't it? And, Caroline, we're counting on you...

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  8. Caron,yes free in our forties. But in our fifties you have to pay!:-)

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  9. I also have no dance rhythm what so ever. I can't dance except for slow dance. That's the only type of dancing I can do that. The only reason I can even slow dance is because I had to in high school,and now in college when we have our prom's and winter formals. Nice videos though they were very good. Love the three way.

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  10. Oh my god I love you ladies. You're ridiculous.

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  11. Lyndsie, did you not notice that I suffer from the same condition?!!? Does NOT MATTER, I tell you! Does not matter.

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  12. Lyndisie, listen to Gae (even if we think she's cute as a button).

    Megan, thanks! We do it all for you.

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  13. I wondered who she'd talk into this. Nice dancing, ladies!!
    erica

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  14. I am very persuasive. And Deb and Barb are easy.

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  15. My vide is in the process of posting on both FB and Twitter.

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  16. Love it! Here's my video for your amusement: http://www.twitvid.com/KBWZL

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  17. Just saw Betsy's -- and it's ADORABLE! Waiting impatiently for Caroline's...

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  18. Besty and her video are adorable. I love brave, gregarious women! And poor Caroline, she's been trying for hours. I love her too.

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  19. My video finally posted on both FB and Twitter!
    *shakes fist at obnoxiously slow interweb*

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  20. Caroline, post a link here to the twitter one! :)

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  21. Barb and Deb, thanks for having me. It was so much fun and spilled over all day onto my fb page. With all the crazy bad news out there in the world, it was a welcome distraction.

    You are beautiful women. I adore and admire you.

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  22. Gae, thank YOU for making my day! Love and admiration right back at you.

    And Caroline, soooo cute! As I said on FB, very much appreciate the extra butt in there ;)

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  23. I cannot believe the things I let Gae talk me into. http://tinyurl.com/4eam7jo

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  24. And thrilled she talked you into it :) Thank you!!

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  25. Deb, the bathrobe is so unassuming yet wonderful! I dance all the time but for your own protection the mirror will remain my only audience (until I finally decide to unleash the power of Nag).

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  26. The Power of the Nag -- ooooh yeah. And don't you need a robe for that? ;)

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  27. omg!! How fun..it made me want to get up and dance with you!!!! How do I love your blogs...let me count the ways.....1 2 3 4 5 .......110....400....
    : )

    Melody

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  28. All the reasons we love you, Melody (and our other game readers)!

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  29. *leaves one more deep bow to Deb in her robe.*

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  30. You girls are all fabulous! I thought the lip smoosh was adorable! Deb, the robe, perfect and Gae has an awesome butt!
    The whole thing made me want to dance too...but the video will have to wait.
    You girls rock!

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  31. It's been way too long since I've been by these parts of the blogosphere (or any parts at all, actually), and I didn't realize how much I'd MISSED you guys. This was a PERFECT welcome back (of course I assume you made your dancing videos JUST for me...), as it greatly improved my mood. Thanks for a hilarious post, and for delicious dancing. You three rock!

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  32. Oh, this was FABULOUS! Gae, I totally share that 'fool online' thing--not the visuals necessarily, but what kind of attention whore does something like leading a Naked World Domination tour? And I TOTALLY was that teen--afraid of ANY negative attention, so I stayed quiet a lot of the time... smiled a lot... But I've always had a silly side. I think the online releases it because 1) my brain works at a writing pace, not a speaking pace, and 2) if anyone makes fun of me, I have time to think about how to respond... there is no thinking on my feet required.

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  33. Melissa, I encourage you to send video ;) (After watching several dancing videos on Gae's Facebook yesterday, I was very very happy!). And thanks for the enthusiasm. Same goes for Cruella and Hart. Cruella, we haven't seen you in ages, yay! Hart, I think naked domination is a valid revolution ... just don't count me in ;)

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  34. This blog post was the PERFECT reprieve from the midst of tragedy in my home country (NZ). Thanks ladies :-)
    BTW, Deb, I follow Colin on Twitter (gee that sounds creepy), Could you please pass on my sincere thanks on behalf of New Zealanders everywhere for passing on info on how people can help the people of Christchurch? Thanks heaps
    And thanks again ladies for all the smiles ;-)

    Elle

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  35. Elle, so relieved to hear you're okay (and that we could lighten your day a little). We will pray and hope for your people after the terrible earthquake.

    lots of love and kisses!

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  36. Thanks so much Barb! I'm very blessed to be living up in the North Island - well away from it all, but have friends down in Christchurch which I have since heard from that they are safe and well (Thank God).
    Thanks for the love and kisses and prayers, it's all very much appreciated :-)

    Elle

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  37. Elle we have been praying and thinking about all of you in NZ. Colin's best friend Jim lives in Auckland. We love NZ and we are keeping good thoughts for the wounded, trapped and the families of the dead. Life is so precarious isn't it? Stay strong and know that others are sending love and prayers. xo SORRY I did not weigh in before. Dental surgery today.
    P.S. Not creepy at ALL!

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  38. I absolutely delightedly love all three of you.

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  39. Sweet fancy Moses! (From a 28 y/o in the US who grew up on Sailor Neptune ;)).

    Elaine dancing: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5xi4O1yi6b0

    Loving the dancing - keep it up!

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  40. Sweet fancy Moses, I forgot to post that link!!! Thanks for adding it. And thanks for reading, you sweet 28 year old Sailor Moon fan.

    Now where's your video ;) ???

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  41. Barb: Seeing me dance would make you sea-sick. I'm not as thin as I used to be. :P

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