There is a moment in the “40 year old Virgin”, after hearing that the protagonist is a virgin, that another character says something to the effect of “oh, is that it? I thought you might be some kind of serial killer.”
I think about that scene, sometimes.
See, most people have something they are embarrassed about. Shame, discomfort, insecurity prompts them to hide this flaw from the world at all costs. Confusing the act of putting yours best face forward with the need to obscure all weakness and flaw, we create secrets that we think only we know, construct a cult around the thing that no one will understand.
But here is what I think: most people can smell a lie. We don’t always realize what it is that someone is hiding , but we can tell they are diverting energy into protecting that secret.
And since most people have little secrets, a small amount of insecurity sits well with our instincts. Few people are a completely open book and those that are almost seem to be deflecting.
But as people grow more and more uncomfortable, divert more and more energy into hiding their secrets, the more our intuition sets of flares and our discomfort grows.
And because no one likes a run off sentence we will compensate: tune out the sentence, finish it for them. Gossip grows, and loneliness surrounds the secret holder like a bubble.
And here I what I also think: People are less easily shocked than you might think. TV, the movies, pulp fiction has allowed them to envision what imagination cannot supply alone. And as often as not they are filling the blank with something far more shocking than the secret at hand.
I guess this is my delicate way of wishing that most people would be more transparent with multiple facets of their personality.
I am not saying you should walk in the room and scream “I am a 40 year old Virgin”…not only will the fact define you for everyone in the room, but it will let everyone know it defines you, internally, as well. The elephant in the room may cast a shadow, but a bull in a china shop just sends people flying under tables.
But I am saying that if most people would put less energy into obscuring the facts they would make a whole lot of people in their world more comfortable. They might even give themselves a chance to truly be loved.