How Awkward is Too Awkward?

When they like you, they like you.

“Awkward girl” is a character seen all too frequently in our modern media, and she even comes with celebrity endorsement. Ladies like Jennifer Lawrence, Taylor Swift, and Zooey Deschanel are teaching us that everyone is human and that we should embrace our own personalities and be happy doing it. We don’t have to be polished and perfect. We can be awkward and still make it out on top!

New Girl, Fox, Zooey Deschanel/ VIA Giphy

New Girl, Fox, Zooey Deschanel/ VIA Giphy

I supposed that there exists a fine line between adorably awkward and socially inept, so I took to the streets (a.k.a. my phone contacts) to see what men think about awkward women, and to find out, “How awkward is too awkward?”

It was made abundantly clear that men find awkward women to be attractive. I asked my friend Toby (23), whether he thought that overall, awkwardness was a good trait. He responded enthusiastically saying, “Absolutely! Awkwardness is one of the best traits to have, in my opinion.” My friend, Marcus (30), said much the same when I asked if he thought it was a attractive for a woman he was dating to be awkward.

With Sam (25), I found more specific clarification. It is not only that a woman is attractive because she is awkward, but because she accepts that awkwardness as part of who she is. “That acceptance shows that the person is comfortable with themselves,” he said. “Even though they are awkward, they can get past that and be like, ‘Well, this is what’s happening.’”

I was surprised by the simplicity of all their answers. My first response was elation, but it was closely followed by hesitation because I still needed to figure out the point where adorable turns into annoying and why.

Toby felt that there were degrees of awkwardness. He said, “Awkwardness is not being sure what to say to the other person. It is looking down to your feet. Awkward people don’t know where to look or what to say.” While this is normal behavior, he felt that there was also a downside to this personality trait too. Toby thinks that in some cases, like the one mentioned above, awkwardness can seem self-conscious. “This teeny tiny taste of awkward on the first encounter makes the impression of a person much more likable.” But after that sampling, insecure behavior becomes unattractive. “Awkwardness is endearing when it is non-permanent. You have to get over yourself. If you want constant awkwardness, you may as well just watch Japanese porn.”

He goes on to say that you shouldn’t feel self-conscious or insecure for long because we are all human, and we all experience the same nervousness. We are who we are and we don’t owe an explanation to anyone. We should embrace our flaws and our strengths and celebrate them because they have made us who we are today—even if we’re awkward about it.

Let’s regroup: If you are nervous for the first date or if you fumble your words when speaking at the beginning of a relationship, it’s okay—endearing and attractive, even. It shows people that you are like them, that you are not a robot. Owning that initial awkwardness shows that you are not afraid to share your personality with others. That is the exact lesson that our awkward celebrity role models are trying to teach us. Stop being hypercritical of your person, your insecurities, your flaws. Accept yourself for all that you are and share the greatness that is you.

Sam made a really good point about this as well. “When I think of awkward I think of someone who is, at first, very timid but then kind of says ‘fuck it,’ and just goes with the flow. I think awkward is just that period of time before you become comfortable with someone. It is more of a phase you pass through, than the way someone is for real.”

Saturday Night Live, Kristen Wiig/ VIA elle.com

Saturday Night Live, Kristen Wiig/ VIA elle.com

Being too awkward is when you cannot allow yourself to open up. It is when you hide behind the awkwardness as an excuse to not begin a deeper relationship or level of understanding with someone. It is absolutely imperative to make that leap of faith and self-expose in order to move a relationship forward, because your partner will feel it if you haven’t let go of your insecurities. And our partners want us to be ourselves with them. They want us to be quirky and unique and special, even if that means that we can’t walk in high heels or that we don’t understand makeup. They want something real in a world where everything is fabricated, enhanced and perfected.

And being simply yourself is positively attractive. Marcus was pretty specific about why he prefered a partner with a certain amount of awkwardness. When I asked him what about a woman’s awkwardness was attractive, he responded:

"A woman must be somewhat outstanding. That doesn’t mean in terms of her physical appearance or something, but there must be something that differentiates her from the others. And that is what I would call awkwardness. For instance, just a sort of behavior that makes her unique and that can actually be appealing—even if that shows that somebody is imperfect. It just shows that somebody is unique. I am not looking for someone typical, I am looking for someone unique. Many guys are into the typical girly girl. But these girls are more or less replaceable to me. And that is why awkwardness is good in some respects because refinement is boring.”

Everybody wants to be special. The crazy thing is that we already are. We are unique, but somehow find ourselves trying to fit into a boring mold. Life is more interesting with the bumps, the trials and tribulations, the mistakes, and the awkwardness. Allow yourself to get over your nervousness and move past your anxieties so that you can find a relationship worth delving into. It's your quirks that make you unique.

The awkward girl, who knows how to move past her social anxieties and can recognize her quirks and embrace them, is desired. But more importantly, she is honest with herself and those around her and possesses a greater sense of self-worth that shines through in her everyday interactions. The proof is in the pudding, or in this case, my cell contacts.

Feature photo: Contributing Editor Meredith Clarke with friends Taylor McGee, Victoria DeBerry, & Aama Harwood