Well over a month ago I was at a relatively small party with some people I knew. New to the New York party scene, I headed out with these “sort-of-friends” because I was determined to get out a bit more. Naturally, I was a little apprehensive about the gathering, and knew that I wasn’t going to be able to act like my usual bubbly and outgoing self. Oftentimes at intimate gatherings, I spew out jokes that sound awkward and unusual, but if you pair me with just one person to woo with my charms, I am golden. That was the only thing keeping me going as we wove our way to Brooklyn, to a renovated space that was part living room, part art gallery. I thought to myself, if only I can drink from my red cup casually while conversing with another hilarious individual, hopefully a funny boy (for whatever reason I tend to do better with them), I can survive the outing and pat myself on the back as I take the 1:01 train back to Queens.
Unfortunately for me, I met no funny boys, and was stuck clinging to one of my sort-of-friends, something I really didn’t want to do. Because she knew a lot more people than I did, I told her to go converse with her friends and that I would be fine by myself. She’s a sweet girl and promised to talk to me all night if I didn’t meet anyone. One girl in particular, the tall, vibrant, party-dress-wearing hostess, was someone who I knew, as I was briefly introduced to her at the start of the party. She hugged me awkwardly, the both of us casually shouting “Why not!” as we embraced, and after some quick witty banter between her and the people I was with, she dismissed us to the rest of the party.
I quickly made my way to her, seeing as her hostess duties seemed to be over and done with, and struck up a mildly interesting conversation (like I said, I’m particularly bad with other girls). What I didn’t know about the beautiful red-headed hostess, was that she was a “floaty girl”. If I had known this at the time, I would probably have chosen another person to strike up my first, non-acquaintance conversation with. She and I, you see, were two different “breeds” of girls. I am what you might call a “funny girl” at parties full of people I don’t know. Jokes are my defense mechanism. At such parties, I am keenly attuned to my surroundings just in case I may point out something abnormal or interesting going on in the room. Observational comedy is my best weapon when first getting to know someone when I’m uncomfortable, or if there’s a lull in the conversation. Once I get them warmed up with a joke about the lighting, or the alcohol selection, I can effectively charm them into thinking I’m interesting and worthy of conversation for the rest of the night. It’s a way to make me feel comfortable when I don’t know anyone.
The problem with my funny girl-ness is that floaty girls are keenly unaware of their surroundings, or at least, that’s what they want you to think. From the moment I opened my mouth to utter a joke about our mutual acquaintances and their various funny-seeming postures, I realized I had made a terrible mistake. Let me be clear about something, I can pull off being the floaty girl at parties in which I know a lot of people. I can floaty girl the shit out of my own parties. The only problem was that I had already committed to being the funny girl and the way she laughed lightly (what I call, “whisper-laughing) and looked up at the twinkling Christmas lights killed my insides and crushed my confidence for the remainder of the party. For the next five minutes I was stuck with her, forcing conversation that just seemed sad because it would be too awkward to immediately duck out of the conversation that I had just started.
Floaty girls act like they’re preoccupied with something that’s unimportant to everyone else but them, therefore, if you should ask them what is going on, or why they’re staring at a random object in the room, you would get a simple and soul-crushing, “What do you mean?” like you had their attention the entire time and they weren’t in fact ignoring you in favor of the wallpaper. They somehow maintain an air of airiness while also seeming preoccupied. For this particular floaty girl, her preoccupation was with the lighting. She kept staring up at the lights dreamily, as if her gaze alone was holding them in place. You simply cannot win with the floaty girl. You essentially cannot engage her in conversation. The only other girl that can speak delicately back to her is another floaty girl or a floaty boy.
The trick of the floaty girl is confidence. She is confident in her surroundings and in herself. She knows the venue and everyone in it, which is why observational comedy doesn’t work on her. That’s also why conversation often doesn’t work on her. You see, she comes off as so content, so happy with the atmosphere she’s existing in, that anything you could possibly say would pale in comparison to whatever’s going on in her dreamy mind. This confidence allows her to maintain a constant state of a sort of proto-aloofness; she’s seemingly uninterested in what you have to say, but is interested in everything else. She draws you in with her distant smile and wide eyes but once you engage her, she acts as though she’s very far away, in some other galaxy deep inside the twinkling Christmas lights that hang above you. When and if she does utter a sound other than a light little laugh, it will usually be some kind of a Luna Lovegood-esque quip, that always ends up being incredibly comforting (it’s usually about the state of the universe and your place in it). She’s basically the person who writes the cute sayings in Helvetica over pretty filtered pictures. She also may or may not communicate solely by whisper. The floaty girl will most likely not answer any of your questions, but rather, will laugh lightly or stare deeply into your eyes and smile absently until you’re so uncomfortable that you may have to run away screaming.
I can only imagine the poor simpering fool who asked the floaty girl what she was staring at or what was so interesting about the venue’s furniture. They’d either die of embarrassment due to the blank stare and lithe smile they received in return, or look like a deranged idiot due to the floaty girl replying with a question like “What do you mean?” and breaking eye contact with her sacred object, as if she wasn’t staring at in the first place. Also you’d be responsible for whatever happened to the object the floaty girl was protecting with her unbreakable stare. Eventually the floaty girl will grow bored of the massive invisible field of awkwardness you’re exuding or she’ll begin orbiting the object she was staring at like the great moon that she is, and she’ll dismiss you with a polite “excuse me”. You will sigh loudly with relief. My occasion with the floaty girl ended with me attempting to floaty girl her back, even though I had clearly already committed to being the funny girl, but, thankfully, this seemed to frighten the floaty girl into fixating on a new object and floating toward it like a crazy girl.
Art by Kaley