Photo by / Felix Mizioznikov

You Weirdo!

Few things are more boring than something who is completely average. Exhibiting nothing more than mediocrity doesn’t get you very far in life after grade school, yet I grant you there is a profound survival instinct to just belonging and not getting beaten up by adhering to the norm. Being called a “weirdo” in fifth grade isn’t a badge of honor.


But those of us in the LGBTQ family should reconsider the powerful attraction that exists in being outside the statistical outliers, in being weird. As a community we might be small in number, representing less than 10 percent of the overall population, but we sure do punch above our weight, and the case can be made that in certain things we are dominant. Take the creative arts, for example. A “weirdo” in elementary school blossoms as an adult into an artist, a writer, a designer, a musician, an actor.


In real life, think of those we are drawn to in our private spheres, of our closest friends. What makes someone interesting, if not their quirky weirdness?


My best friends have always had good hearts, a kindness toward others that is manifests in a multitude of ways throughout any given day. So, that’s the baseline. But what makes them interesting as people are their personalities that reveal a certain uniqueness. As someone who has a real fascination with architecture, let me put it in terms of urban landscape. Most people I find are like strip malls; they’re perfectly functional, utilitarian even, but there’s nothing truly remarkable about them. But then one finds a lovely art deco building in an older neighborhood, and wow, now that is something to behold!


I have a good friend who loves Broadway. She is a fanatic and goes to see pretty much any production she can get her gin and tonic-scented hands on. Where this fascination came from, I have no idea. We’re the same age and grew up in rural South Carolina, so the only dramas or musicals we were exposed to as kids were what was playing on network television. Oh, and she has the uncanny ability to quote from ’70s and ’80s commercials. Weirdo. But it is always a riot when we’re together.


Another friend of mine loves to travel — the more exotic the location, the better. Returning from his voyages is always a wonderful excuse to get together for drinks to hear about his impressions of Ethiopia, Uzbekistan, or Laos. If we can find a restaurant that offers the destination’s local cuisine, all the better. Coupled with the travel bug, however, is an interest in stamp collecting, so he’ll always send me a postcard with a stamp from his adventures. Weirdo.

What about the friend who loves listening to podcasts, particularly about the paranormal and UFOs? Weirdo. But he’s super-intelligent and always has a different way of looking at the world.


Then there is the friend who creates beautiful pottery and is an amazing chef. Was probably viewed as a geek in school, but today her weirdness is what makes us all love her.


As for me, I’m definitely a weirdo. I love to write, to travel, to go to the gym and lose myself listening to INXS and Pet Shop Boys on my 1980s playlist. And of course, I live in Paris, which makes me even more of a weirdo. Hopefully some combination of all of this makes me interesting as a friend.


So, embrace that inner geek, that fascination that has become a private passion. It is what gives you vibrancy and the inner glow of attraction. You weirdo.