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Looking at me Funny

I had an up and down weekend, filled with goods and bads. One bad came early on; I had ordered a beautiful 100% wool tweed suiting from Fabric.com, with the intention of making a rather nice Victorian hunting outfit. what came was 8 yards of completely unuseable green knit, not suiting, not tweed, and most certainly not 100% wool. This is completely unacceptable, and will be rectified.

A happy thing is that I've started work on embroidered nightcap designs for Reconstructing History, and it is going remarkably well; the artistic muse has been with me, and I'm delighting in the feel. A bad thing is that the muse does not allow for physical limitations, and my hands hurt quite a bit from mad drawings. Still, the good outweighs the bad, and I hope to have some working designs soon.

I attended Lochmere's 20th Baronial Birthday event Saturday, and while the rain was quite drenching, I managed to have a fine time seeing people I had not seen in many years. I managed to get a photo of a photo of my first Elizabethan (the one I thought no photos had captured), and I will be loading it up (with the full description neccessary to understand the horror) (the horror) on my page of shame soon.

Minor stuff, I know; most unexciting to anyone but me. As is this:

How evil are you?

I know I always make jokes about how evil I am, but honestly, I'm not terribly evil at all.  Puppies and kittens are safe in my hands, and I never hit someone who doesn't totally deserve it in one way or another. 

I fail at evil, despite what the meme says.  It's so sad.

I am scary, though, and I've come to terms with that.  I'm too English stiff-upper-lipped to be anything other than scary to a nation of people who hug perfect strangers and tell random people (usually me) their life story at the drop of a hat (gross generalization alert; I know you're not like that.  Unless you are).  I play my cards close to my chest.

The irony is that for an Englishwoman, I'm insanely outgoing.  I smile at perfect strangers, and ask people how their day is going.  I'm effusive (comparatively).  I'm loud.  I make jokes that aren't entirely composed of sarcasm (sometimes).  I'm friendly. 

I know, I know.

And I'm being unfair to the English - they're very friendly, nice, generous, and ready to assume the best of everyone they meet - they're just a lot more reserved than Americans.  I run into real problems with this in the SCA - because I wait until I know you a little before I open up (this has been exacerbated by betrayals in my past when I have been more forthcoming sooner), I get accused of "hating" people.  I don't hate anyone - I'm just not going to lay down with my throat exposed before just anyone.  I don't share everything on the first meeting, or even the tenth.  I have to trust you before I'll let you in, and to some people, that means I'm an evil bitch who judges everyone and finds them wanting. 

Trouble is, if I open up to the wrong person, all that honesty gets used against me.  Forgive me for keeping some of myself reserved for special friends, and let me tell you about superficial stuff, like the embroidery work I'm doing.  Eventually, if we know each other in real life, I might open up more.  I know I'm more work to get to know, but if you like me, keep trying; it will happen.

...and always work from the assumption that my baseline is acceptance.  You actually have to screw me over before I'm going to have a negative opinion of you.  That expression on my face?  Is just wariness, not scorn. 

Or it could be pain.  Or deafness (I have trouble hearing in crowded rooms).  Or distraction.  Or a really great idea.  Or concentration on something else.  Or I didn't see/hear you, so you'll need to tap me on the shoulder instead of waving at me across a mass of people.  Or panic - I get panic attacks in crowds.  Or indigestion.

Whatever that expression is, unless you're trying your best to fuck with me and my loved ones, it's not hate.  It's just my usual look for everything.  And if you catch my attention, I'll smile.

If you assume I hate you, you'll be wrong 999 times out of a thousand.  I have much better things to do than hating a perfect stranger. 



( 47 brains — Leave a chunk of brain! )
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Sep. 29th, 2008 01:53 pm (UTC)
I once ordered a gold silk taffeta from them, and got grey camo sweatshirt fabric, they did send me the right stuff, but it took a while.....
Sep. 29th, 2008 01:54 pm (UTC)
You're not the only reserved person in the SCA. There's a fair number of WASPs in my barony who've managed to retain the stiff upper lip reserve despite being New England rather than the real thing :D

For some reason, I feel quite at home here.
Sep. 29th, 2008 01:56 pm (UTC)
My Mum is English, so I know the reserve, the 'properness' that can go along with. Ok... I'm failing at witty. so Hi.
Sep. 29th, 2008 02:23 pm (UTC)
Sep. 29th, 2008 02:06 pm (UTC)
I dont wear my glasses at events which leads to a rather frowny squint. I'm told it makes me look cranky rather than the pensive look I was going for ;)
Sep. 29th, 2008 02:25 pm (UTC)
I used to have a look which I thought made me look all romantic and melancholy. I was brought up short one day when someone asked me if I needed Rolaids. What we have in our heads is rarely translated well to anyone else. :)
(no subject) - thornbury - Sep. 29th, 2008 02:32 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - mistressrhi - Sep. 29th, 2008 04:23 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - francesca_tessa - Sep. 30th, 2008 07:24 am (UTC) - Expand
Sep. 29th, 2008 02:21 pm (UTC)
I am amused by your description of English folk. As an American living in Britain, I expected people to be a certain way... but really they aren't. I have found people to be very friendly and outgoing. Of course, I am outgoing so maybe it is in response to me. Or it could be that we are Americans outside of normal tourist areas so we are a bit exotic to some people. They walk right up to us and start conversations. Then again, maybe because they can (usually) tell we are from America they feel it is acceptable to come right up to us where they wouldn't to a fellow citizen.
Sep. 29th, 2008 02:29 pm (UTC)
Probably a bit of both - when everyone is used to everyone else, a stranger is to be delighted in. :) Like I said, I'm being a bit unfair on both sides, but I have been told that I look really mean when I think I have a smile on my face, and I've been told I'm cold and unfriendly, and snobbish, and, and, and... all the while I'm thinking I'm being perfectly friendly. :)

It needs explaining every now and then. Introverts are rarely handled well by extroverts, and I know many more introverted Brits. Stupidly now, I feel like a bull in a china shop when I'm back in England, because I'm too outgoing. :)
Sep. 29th, 2008 02:27 pm (UTC)
I had the same problem once with Fabric.com. I ordered silk and ended up with hideous printed Christmas fabric. They were out of what I ordered when I contacted them so they gave me a credit and were very helpful. Hopefully they still have what you ordered.

When I am concentrating on something, my husband thinks that my face looks mad, so he always asks what he did wrong (this tends to make me angry). Now my daughter has started doing it.
Sep. 29th, 2008 02:30 pm (UTC)
Oh, man, I get that, too - I frown when I'm concentrating, and I look like I'm pissed off! :)
(no subject) - thornbury - Sep. 29th, 2008 02:37 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - vom_schwarzwald - Sep. 29th, 2008 06:09 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - laurensa - Sep. 29th, 2008 02:43 pm (UTC) - Expand
Sep. 29th, 2008 02:44 pm (UTC)
I love the understatedness of the English. I did a lot of business travel there for a while and the folks I worked with always had me laughing (unintentionally) with statements like:

"That Gulf War, it is a bit of a mess, isn't it?"
"I tore my ACL. Did sting a bit."
"That Laurie, she's a lively girl."

Sep. 29th, 2008 02:46 pm (UTC)
I tend to have the opposite problem... I get the "Oh, you're such a NICE person. You're always kind to people and listen to them. You're happy and optimistic. Why the "evil" in your LJ name?"
My response?
"Heh. Honey, you don't hear my internal dialouge when I'm dealing with some people. And you have NO clue how close I end up coming to strangling people. That is NOT a grin. That is me gritting my teeth."
Sep. 29th, 2008 03:43 pm (UTC)
Re: Misconceptions...
My friend Bera calls it my "Postal Grin" and she knows it can be the difference between being pleased and holding on for dear life so I don't snap and "go postal".

I also get the "wow, that was such a nice post to Asshat X's craziness." My response is, you didn't see me sitting at the computer beforehand having a coniption fit and screaming before said nice post could be drafted.
Re: Misconceptions... - evil_fionn - Sep. 29th, 2008 03:50 pm (UTC) - Expand
Sep. 29th, 2008 03:05 pm (UTC)
I suffer under a fairly common American misperception that everyone wants to know *everything* about me from the moment I meet them.

I am terribly witty after all…

*that is the sound of crickets chirping that you hear*
Sep. 29th, 2008 03:28 pm (UTC)
Sep. 29th, 2008 03:08 pm (UTC)
I probably cannot lay claim to reserved as mature and intelligent as that sounds in comparison to the um, somewhat effusively gregarious sorts I've encountered; I'll have to stick with shy to the point of being tongue-tied around any strangers.

A recent book I was drooling over studying intently had elaborate embroidery in blackwork, including vines with stylized carnation blossoms, leaves, and very nicely done strawberries - all off the same vine! If you get a blackwork pattern that would allow me to fashion a decent-looking strawberry, I swear I'll embroider 'as per AttackLaurel's most excellent pattern' on every single coif I make. I've tried charting them again and again. Samplers, even. No dice. Mine look like mis-shapen onions - or lop-sided pyramids. Grrr.
Sep. 29th, 2008 03:27 pm (UTC)
Well, I'm working on a strawberry nightcap design, but I'll give you this tip: Draw a heart. Round the point at the bottom. Draw three almond-shaped leaves (one upright, the other two at 45 degrees to the center leaf) over the top, at the level of the center dip, so that the tops of the heart are concealed by the leaves, and then add the "seed" lines to the body of the strawberry. This should produce a rough strawberry shape that you can then refine.

If it doesn't work, you'll have to wait. :) Drawing them in clusters of two or three seems to help with the look, too.
(no subject) - ziactrice - Sep. 29th, 2008 09:30 pm (UTC) - Expand
Sep. 29th, 2008 03:26 pm (UTC)
I have this little worry line between my brows. Is it because I'm always frowning? I generally think of myself as a happy person, yet the line started in college. I think it's a "deep in thought" line.
Sep. 29th, 2008 03:27 pm (UTC)
Thinking is Srs Bzns. :)
(no subject) - chargirlgenius - Sep. 29th, 2008 03:51 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - pinkleader - Sep. 29th, 2008 03:46 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - chargirlgenius - Sep. 29th, 2008 03:51 pm (UTC) - Expand
Sep. 29th, 2008 03:43 pm (UTC)
Isn't it great to be judged for nearsightedness or low blood sugar or anything else that causes you to stare off into space or bunch your eyebrows in pain? Heh. Iz Evilllll....
Sep. 29th, 2008 03:59 pm (UTC)
I am an unabashed Brit lover, you know this, right? But the one thing that drove me insane while I was on my extended stay in England a few years ago was the way that Brits have a hard time being DIRECT when you're doing something wrong. They stand there smiling at you, and you think they're being friendly, but really they're hoping desperately that you will figure out that you're in error some how so they don't have to point it out to you. In America, a simple "Oh, you can't use this door, please use the other one over there," is not a cause for massive anxiety. No one is going to hate you for being politely corrective...

And my British friends were always quick to point out how "refreshing" American directness was (even though it caused some misunderstandings on occasion, particularly when "what's up?" was used to answer the phone and the Brit on the other end thought I was upset with him for being late. I had to explain that "what's up" is a friendly greeting in America. Hehehe), so this must be some internally acknowledged English trait that drives everyone crazy. LOL.

I <3's mah English peeps. *squeeze*
Sep. 29th, 2008 04:26 pm (UTC)
"...people who hug perfect strangers and tell random people (usually me) their life story at the drop of a hat..."

You mean, the people I glare at in the grocery store until they back away???
Sep. 29th, 2008 04:30 pm (UTC)
My fiance is British, and he's amazingly outgoing, charming, and affable. I, on the other hand, am mean and bossy. But then, I work in a prison, so it kinda goes with the job. :D
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