Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Keeping up appearances

We all like to think that we tell it like it is, that we show ourselves as we really are. But the truth is that we spend an awful lot of time "keeping up appearances".

All too often we want to hide the fact that we're feeling embarrassed, or terrified, or guilty, or envious. We want to cover up that colossal mistake, that mounting debt, that weird obsession.

There are things we just can't bring ourselves to divulge, for fear of other people's reactions. So we keep shtum and pretend everything's normal and plain-sailing, nothing untoward could possibly be happening.

Many's the time I've hidden my fright over a work interview, a social event, an expensive repair job, or some situation where I feel hopelessly out of my depth. I conjure up what I assume is a calm, competent exterior, one that says "I'm totally in control, I can handle this effortlessly" and hope the inner terror is safely out of view.

I conceal those dodgy activities that others might find reprehensible or mystifying. Why reveal that wasted £500, that fetish for high heels or those deranged emails if they're only going to ruin someone's good opinion of me? I'll sweep them hastily under the carpet and leave my warmly appealing persona intact.

It's hard to explain why I so often feel the urge to keep up appearances when I know very well that most people will probably be sympathetic. After all, they may be just as terrified and gaffe-prone as me, so how censorious can they be?

Unfortunately there are always some who despite their own fallibilities still take a delight in crowing over other people's. They're the ones I'm nervous about. If there's any prospect of crowing, I'd rather play safe.

Much as I'd love to be totally open, I can't quite manage it. The fact is, some parts of me just aren't flattering enough.

25 comments:

Rummuser said...

Welcome to the club. If anyone says that he/she does not have this problem, it is a lie.

Grannymar said...

Nick I like you just the way you are!

I try to keep up appearances... but the lines keep showing through ! :(

Nick said...

Ramana - Oh yes, there's a lot of it about! Who ever dares to display everything, warts and all?

Grannymar - Thank you kindly! What, did you not get your birthday botox jab?

Scarlet Blue said...

...I haven't shaved my legs in months [too cold!]... Jus' confessin'!
Sx

Nick said...

Scarlet - Blimey, wot a scandal. Us blokes expect you gals to be silky smooth everywhere (yes, everywhere). You'd better get cracking with that Ladyshave.

Baino said...

You have a fetish for high heels? Well that's pretty revealing! I only have to keep up appearances at work. Then that's 40% of my life I guess!

Nick said...

Baino - Oh, that was only an example. My fetishes don't include high heels, in fact I loathe them for the damage they do to women's feet. It's appalling that they're still considered so attractive.

kylie said...

hi nick :)

Nick said...

Hi Kylie. Are you just keeping up appearances, lol?

kylie said...

most of my cards are on the table.

i didnt know where to start commenting on this post.

i'm thinking of a woman i work with. nobody can get any hint of problems or weirdness in her life and there would bee no condemnation if we did but she is the first to pass judgement on everybody else and she's pretty vigorous about it. i wonder why she is like thatand all i can come up with is either she's had a dream run and has n ever developed compassion or her life is so murky she's terrified of anybody getting even a whiff

Nick said...

Kylie - I would say she's so chronically insecure she can only get a sense of self-worth by criticising others and making them out to be inferior. I'm sure there must also be something murky that's creating the insecurity in the first place. She may seem normal enough but people can be very skilled at hiding weirdness.

Well, that's my instant psychoanalysis anyway. Probably way off target....

Quickroute said...

I'd say I keep my cards pretty close to my chest in a work environment but am much more open and relaxed around friends

p.s. CONGRATS on being shortlisted for the blog awards

Wisewebwoman said...

I add my congrats, Nick, where is the link to this? Blow it from the rooftops, this is something NOT to keep hidden, my good man!
As to do we ever know anyone else? My life is a pretty open book, I tend to laugh at myself a lot, as I'm a complete eejit at times both in what I buy and my ever increasing lapses in memory.
I talk too much about my weaknesses I think. Some things I keep hidden but not out of a sense of shame more out of protecting others.
XO
WWW

Nick said...

Quicky - That probably applies to most of us. Workplaces can be very sensitive, one inappropriate remark and that's your promotion down the drain. Thanks for the heads up. Of course it's the Nobel I'm really after....

www - Okay, I'm shouting it from the rooftops now. But I'm up against stiff competition - 25 of us altogether. You're lucky being self-employed, you can get away with a lot more than most. And you've always been a very open person, it seems.

Los Angelista said...

Whoa! I'm commenting on an Irish Blog Award nominee's page! Rock on!

I probably tell too much about myself. I sometimes wish I kept things a bit closer to my vest.

Nick said...

Liz - Maybe, but from my position I tend to think being a little too open is better than being a bit repressed. You're showing more of your real self, and you can always apologise or make amends if you go too far.

Nick said...

Oh dear, now I've been shortlisted for the highly prestigious, much-renowned etc Irish Blog Awards, everyone's too shy to make comments....

Scarlet Blue said...

When will you know if you've won?
Is there a much-renowned etc Fluffy Blog award that I could be short-listed for?
Sx

Nick said...

The winners will be announced on March 27 at the Awards Ceremony in Galway. Fluffy Blog Award? That sounds a bit disparaging, your blog is hardly fluffy. Suggestive,maybe. Or playful. Or surprising. Your hair might qualify, if Marilyn is anything to go by.

Scarlet Blue said...

Either way, congrats on the nomination!!
Sx

Nick said...

Scarlet - Thanks. I've got the bribes ready, just got to track down all the judges....

Brighid said...

For the most part I'm an open book, with just a few unfurled pages.
Blogger Awards
Congrats on your bribery of the judges, hope you continue to do well. What do you win besides bragging rights?

Nick said...

Brighid - Just a few unfurled pages, that sounds pretty healthy. There are some actual prizes but the IBA website doesn't say what....

Liz said...

Oh gosh, nick, I know where you're coming from. I'd say it's only God and my dog I'm completely open with.

What awards? Where's the link? Congrats, anyway!

Nick said...

Liz - Ah, someone else who tends to be guarded! It's a difficult habit to break. The Irish Blog Awards are made every year, I've been shortlisted in the Personal Blogs category.