I’m really, really bad at banal.
Small talk has a very high cost for me, even if its name implies the cost should be small.
If language doesn’t have meaning or beauty, then I get bored quickly.
This, I know, is a real problem. In many cases, banality is the lubricant of social interaction.
Banal is the opposite of TMI, too much information, which I love. Tell me stories. The good ones.
Being a woman in the world almost demands a mastery of the banal, a mastery of the chit-chat that venerates the conventional and current.
Me, I don’t do that so well.
And that means me blending in as just another woman, even a woman with a transgender history, is hard. I sat with some natal women at the Empire Conference and participated in their chat, about shoes and other women. I could do it, but it was hard for me. I’m not a natural at it, and don’t have the training. I find that chat, well, rather banal.
In “Salt Sugar Fat,” Michael Moss relates that one key to the success of Oscar Mayer Lunchables is that they were both new and 90% familiar. The yellow trays were different, but everything in them looked comforting; meat, cheese, crackers. They were, in great majority, normative, well understood, regular, requiring little work to understand for stressed consumers.
In other words, they were pretty banal.
I don’t do that very well. I’m “too hip for the room,” to quote my lifemyth again.
Heck, I even know that just using the word “banal,” a word that many will have to look up, is a massive failure at banality.
And that means I dread walking into the world where I know that mastery of the banal is required. That means I am stopped, trapped, locked down.
I know that I have much to offer, much to give.
But without a mastery of the banal, fitting in with other women is just very hard.