Writing Wednesday: The Non-Social Butterfly

It’s time for a little confession.  I know my blog makes it seem like I lead a very glamorous life but the truth is, I’m not very good at socializing.  Neither is my brother and it’s weird because our parents are essentially the Homecoming King and Queen of the entire neighborhood.  Everybody loves them, everybody wants to come to their parties, and they go out drinking more often than I do (which is pretty sad, considering that I’m the one still in my twenties).

I used to blame my ex-boyfriend for this.  He was perfectly content to sit home and watch videos or play board games, plus I was always visiting him in New Jersey instead of spending time in Philadelphia.  Most of time, he was willing to go out but I always knew when he wasn’t enjoying himself.  He’d go out because it made me happy, not because it made him happy, and we started going on fewer and fewer dates.  I told myself I was okay with this because we were saving for more important things.

But I was not okay with this.

And it wasn’t entirely his fault.

It was my fault.

I can’t tell you the number of parties I’ve made excuses to skip over the years.

It’s embarrassing to say the least.

And, last February, when my girlfriends and I decided to go out dancing on Valentine’s Day?

It was pathetic.  It took us nearly a week of Googling to figure out where to go.

Some might see a gradual lessening of one’s nightclub knowledge as a sign of maturity.  But I don’t.  At least not yet.  I see it as a sign of being lame.

And so, last Saturday, when my friend Casey invited over for her housewarming, I made myself go without PIC, just to prove that I still could.

I hate going to parties when I don’t know anyone aside from the hostess (because you have to talk to, you know, other people) so you can imagine my delight when, just a few minutes after my arrival, I met a longtime reader of Fieldwork in Stilettos.

I’m not famous famous, but this happens every once in a while. Usually it’s a friend of a friend, and after the initial, “Oh my God, you’re that Kat???” they want to know everything.

“Do you mind if I ask you a personal question?” my new friend ventured.

“Go for it,” I replied. I was so grateful to have someone to talk to that I would have happily told her my cup size if she’d asked.

“Have you spoken to The Wedding Date since you two broke up?”


“Really? Not at all?”

“No. Not at all. We both thought it was for the best. I like to think we could be friends someday, mainly because I wonder about his kids and how they’re doing, but we wanted a clean break. No drama. It was hard but it was better that way.”

And it was. I thought about writing to him at the one year mark, or at least writing an open letter on my blog to commemorate the occasion, but I thought better of it. The past is the past, and it’s the past for a reason.

She continued asked questions and I continued answering them, but the statement that stuck with me the most, the one that brings me to the point of today’s post, was the following:

“You’re life is so exciting! No wonder you have so many interesting things to write about.”

I was dumbfounded. Exciting? Um, I blog about underwear. And falling into rowboats.  And having to go to the bathroom because I drank too much coconut water. It’s not exactly like I’ve just raised over a million dollars for a school in Brownsville or something, you know, noble.

But it’s not the first time someone has said this sort of thing to me. Years ago, an old boyfriend, who was rather exasperated with me at the time, once demanded, “Why does your life read like a freaking Jane Austen novel?”

“Because I write it that way,” I told him.

And that’s what I told my new friend at the party.

“It’s not that exciting actually. It’s just that I write it that way. I mean, I could probably make toilet paper exciting.”

(Don’t tempt me.)

She laughed but I told her it was true.

I remember, quite clearly, the year that I realized I was actually good at writing. I was 20 years old, on scholarship to Oxford University, and even though I felt like an idiot most of the time, there were these occasional moments of clarity, and they kept on happening.

The first time, I was standing outside the door to my English tutor’s office. He taught at Merton College, which is one of the oldest, and his office was basically situated atop a turret from like the 1300s (give or take a few centuries). I used to climb to the top, my essay for the week freshly printed, and think, “Isn’t life amazing? Most people don’t even realize how amazing it is.”

Of course, they say it better in Our Town, which is my favorite play ever and if you haven’t seen it, you should:


Emily: Oh, earth, you’re too wonderful for anybody to realize you. Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it — every, every minute?
Stage Manager: No, Saints and poets maybe… they do some.
So there you have it: the saints, the poets, and those of us who blog about our underwear.




7 Responses to “Writing Wednesday: The Non-Social Butterfly”

  1. Jerseyite Lurker

    Wilder continues that motif at the end of Act II of “The Matchmaker,” as the characters are heading out the door for a night on the town.
    MINNIE: Why, Mrs. Molloy, you’re crying!
    MRS.MOLLOY (flings her arms around Minnie): Oh, Minnie, the world is full of wonderful things. Watch me, dear, and tell me if my petticoat’s showing.

  2. Landlord No Longer

    You made working at “The Shop” hilarious and at the same time sad because we knew you didn’t want to be there, but couldn’t work out a way to get over that hurdle quite yet.

  3. becky119

    I’m right there with you. My life is anything but exciting, but it is all about how you tell the story. Like I wrote a blog post from a PI perspective: https://reverseorderofoperations.wordpress.com/2014/08/14/the-case-of-the-missing-treats/
    And another one about a microwave: https://reverseorderofoperations.wordpress.com/2014/10/28/the-microwave-pen/

    And my inspiration for even starting reverseorderofoperations? It was you Kat. Your telling me that any story that I tell can be turned into a blog post (this stemmed from me telling you about trying to decorate my house with outdoor Christmas lights and having some serious issues) and so I took your advice and started writing about the little things.

    So exciting or not, you are an inspiration to at least me. And I think that can be exciting. 🙂

    • Kat Richter

      Aww, snap– you’re gonna make get all emotional. But thanks for sharing. I’m glad to hear. It’s amazes me how many people don’t get that their stories ARE interesting, no matter what it looks like on the outside. Looking forward to seeing you tomorrow!

  4. casespace

    I love this! Not going to lie, I also find your life quite exciting. More exciting than mine, I often think. You have an obvious knack for writing your life quite creatively as well, of course. Sidenote: I’m so glad you could make it on Saturday. 🙂 I had fun! See you soon.


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