Sunday, 18 October 2009

Out of control

I'm reminded all too frequently that I'm more of a control freak than I like to think I am. I'm nervous of things getting out of control, unpredictable, over the edge. So I'm always furtively trying to keep a grip, keep everything within safe limits.

Well, I think it's furtive, but no doubt everyone else can see what I'm doing all too clearly. I'm the only one who imagines my attempts to put boundaries on every bit of spontaneous, impulsive behaviour have somehow gone unnoticed.

I do it with money. Even though I've been solvent my entire life, with no outstanding debts to anyone, I still imagine that too much thoughtless spending will lead me rapidly to financial ruin. So I monitor my spending far too closely and don't often splash out on something wildly expensive.

When I socialise, I'm wary of being too uninhibited, of saying too much or revealing too many personal secrets. I stick to safe subjects, I avoid things that might be too embarrassing or puzzling or deep. I drink cautiously for fear of loosening my tongue too much (not that I like getting drunk anyway).

Even when I read, I rarely devour an entire book at one sitting. I read in bite-size chunks, definable one-hour or one-chapter sessions. I'm almost incapable of getting so engrossed in a book, so carried away by an imaginary reality, that I forget everything else and just let myself be swept along.

Personal appearance too. I've never had the urge for spiky orange hair, psychedelic shirts, tattoos or a foot-long beard*. I've done my share of cross-dressing, but strictly in private and many years ago. Like most men, my public facade is studiously dull - dark colours, sober styles, nothing too conspicuous.

Actually when it comes to clothing, most men are control freaks. They stick firmly to conventional attire, and the very thought of displaying themselves in anything too gawdy or dainty or "feminine" frightens the wits out of them.

And now I'd better stop before I get too carried away. Before the bite-sized chunks become vast platefuls of uncontrolled revelations....

* except once in my hippie incarnation.

32 comments:

Leah said...

This is so interesting to me, Nick, and I know we've touched on this topic before...the Master and the Mastered...but which is which?

I can actually relate to the control issue, because I've got it too. I mean, I can really really relate. Yet, I'm a very strange combination of tightly controlled and free-wheeling.

You say you're too inhibited, yet I don't really get that sense at all from reading your blog and your comments. Perhaps you, too, are a dichotomy?

Nick said...

Leah - I suppose I am a bit of a dichotomy because in some situations, if something's fed my confidence, I can be quite reckless and headstrong. I'm certainly very confident about blogging after doing it for so long and always getting such a positive response.

Wisewebwoman said...

Oh I just love this post Nick. Here you drop a clanger of 'cross-dressing' and leave us panting for more, you devil, you!
I'm more cautious as I age. Less willing to take a chance, particularly in love and partnership. Not worth the angst that I project on to it, looking at older women's hair and thinking that's the way I should go. Being less spontaneous with money.
I used to be fairly wild and flamboyant but I find that fading, like the red dye on my hair.....
XO
WWW

Suburbia said...

I love the self reflection that blogging enables us to do! Fab post.

Baino said...

There's nothing wrong with controlling your finances. I wish I'd been a little more frugal in days gone by. I'm no extravert either, quite the opposite but I seem to exude a confidence that is misleading to most. Cross-dressing? Intriguing. I'm the other way round to WWW. Far more adventurous as I get older, maybe I feel there is less to lose!

Nick said...

www - Well, let's be clear the cross-dressing was many decades ago in London, when gay liberation and transvestism was all the rage! Interesting that because of past experiences you find yourself getting more cautious.

Suburbia - I thought it was about time for a bit more self-reflection. I was hiding myself too much!

Baino - But if you'd been more frugal, maybe you wouldn't have had such an exciting life? That's true that you exude a lot of confidence (having met you in the flesh of course). And how intriguing that you're getting MORE adventurous!

Leah said...

I didn't comment on the cross-dressing revelation, but found it delightful!

Nick said...

Leah - You should have seen the young me in hot pants and tights, quite an eyeful!

Leah said...

Wow, Nick, I think I have a crush!

Nick said...

Leah - Sorry, you're a few years too late, I'm already taken!!

kylie said...

nick,
a leah crush is an enormous compliment, just take it and enjoy!

what would happen if you let go a bit????

Leah said...

What, the younger you in hotpants and tights doesn't want to join the ranks of such luminaries as Severus Snape?

LOL

thanks Kylie.

Grannymar said...

Why is everyone stuck on the cross-dressing? I suppose you could say I did that too, since I often went to work wearing a shirt, tie, waistcoat and trousers!

In my early life I was over cautious, now I let people take me as I am, if you don't like me move on!

Nick said...

Kylie and Leah - Okay, I shall welcome a Leah crush. Take me, take me, I am yours. Unfortunately, having never read Harry Potter, the reference to Severus Snape goes over my head. However "a pivotal character of considerable complexity and moral ambiguity" sounds good to me. I must make the acquaintance of this Severus fellow.

Nick said...

Grannymar - Indeed, we've been somewhat diverted from the central issue of control freakery. Your work outfit sounds ultra-masculine, very dashing indeed. Where do I find the photos? And how right you are, letting people take you as they find you.

Thriftcriminal said...

And the problem is? Fighting who you are won't get anyone very far.

Nick said...

Thrifty - Well, I'm not exactly fighting it, but I think it would be healthier to be a bit more relaxed about things. Too much control can take some of the pleasure out of life.

Grannymar said...

Nick, alas back then I didn't possess a camera. I do have a black waistcoat, trousers and a shirt.. all I need is a nice jade silk tie! It will be a few weeks yet before I can get into the trousers, but when I do there will be photos!

Rummuser said...

Control? I am the typical loose gun on deck! We should be able to get along very well if we ever get to meet! We can exasperate each other to distraction.

Nick said...

Grannymar - I look forward to the photos. Yet another version of Grannymar!

Ramana - Perhaps one day there'll be an operation where they can splice a bit of you on to me and vice versa. Then we'll both be more balanced!

Scarlet-Blue said...

We have much in common... although I don't have the discipline to not read a book in one sitting. Although I know all about 'bite size' in many other regards!
Sx

Nick said...

Scarlet - You read everything in one sitting? Even War and Peace? Such application! But you still share the bite-size syndrome? I think there's a book to be written here - "Just let go: Turning bite size into delight size"

Scarlet-Blue said...

What can I say? I'm a contradiction!
I was reading your post and I was nodding in agreement until I got to the book reading part.
I probably couldn't read War and Peace in one sitting though!
Sx

Nick said...

Scarlet - At my rate of reading, it would probably take me a decade to get through War and Peace. And I'm so bad at following plots, no doubt I'd have to keep rereading it....

Liz said...

You've done your share of cross-dressing?! And that's you being inhibited?!

Nick said...

Liz - Oh no, not that again! Well, it's easy to drop your inhibitions in private, not so easy in public. I never ventured on to the streets in female dress, I can assure you!

conortje said...

I sense a mid-life crisis approaching :-) (only kidding!)

Nick said...

Conor - My God, that must be it! I shall shortly break out of my emotional shell and run amok. Non-stop gambling, sex with twenty year olds, drinking binges. I'll be the despair of everyone who knows me.

Rummuser said...

Just remember to give me a call.

Nick said...

Ramana - Will do. I'm contacting the top neurological surgeons as I speak. As soon as I find one that can splice our personalities, I'll let you know....

Quickroute said...

I go thru bouts of extravagance and thriftyness. Flamboyance and conservatism. Extrovert to introvert - I guess I have multiple personalities

Nick said...

Quicky - I suppose we all have multiple personalities to some extent. But my flamboyant side is clearly a bit under-developed....