11.17.2009

On Mystery- Part Deux


I recently wrote a post entitled Mystery- Comme les Français where I discussed the unfortunate effects of TMI (too much information) syndrome in our society. Based on the overwhelming response I received from you in the comment section of that post I take it that we are mostly on the same page… and being mysterious is decidedly better than not being mysterious.

So I decided to do a little research… I looked up on the internet (highly scientific, I know) the phrase, “how to be mysterious”. And the answers I received were, to put it lightly, hilarious.

There were suggestions of developing a signature coy laugh, of excusing yourself from a room whenever you receive a phone call and then returning back to said room with a salacious smile and (my favorite one) disappearing for days on end and not telling anyone.

I believe these tips, while humorous, completely miss the entire point of being mysterious. Being mysterious is not about changing who you are and playing childish games. Being mysterious is about being wholly who you are - realizing that you are special and guarding that specialness carefully.

If you think highly of yourself (as I think everyone should) and regard yourself as being special- you are less likely to relinquish your life story to the old lady at the bus stop. You are also less likely to gossip relentlessly, apologize for yourself or be shrill (I hate it when I’m shrill- shrillness is so not mysterious).

Now the next time a new acquaintance asks me a question- am I guaranteed to not reveal too much information about myself? Who knows… but I am intent on having a good time trying…

How has your mysteriousness (or lack thereof) been lately?


The mysterious subject of David Stoupakis' The Day the Frogs Rain Down is pictured above.

17 comments:

Michael Rivers said...

I was having a similar talk with friends about this. In today's world, there is this intese need for privacy/security for identity safety. Yet, each generation puts more and more online for the world to see. We post every mudane thing we do during the day. We post pictures of every moment of our lives (G-rated to X-rated). We post videos (G-rated to X-rated). Everything is out there, everything is so public. People forget how little control they have over content once it's sent into cyberworld.

tishjett@yahoo.com said...

For a terrifying moment there I thought Gatsby was the giveaway. . .

Yes, mystery. Love the idea of disappearing for several days, nothing like making everyone who loves you, sick with fear.

As you know only too well, be the Francophile you are, mystery is highly respected over here. Telling someone about one's life is like giving little gifts of trust and not everyone should have access to them.

Great post. As always, of course.

Tishx

lady jicky said...

I think I will miss doing the "coy giggle" - I thought of Michael Jackson when I read that - more weird than mysterious! LOL

Rebecca said...

It's so very true that being wholly oneself makes one not feel the need to explain, overstate the obvious, or tell one's life story. Why do we have to know everything about someone in the first twenty minutes of meeting them? I believe it comes down to comparing oneself to another.

I remember reading in a Debra Ollivier book about a friend of hers from France she had known for about eight years and was still finding out information about her. It wasn't that she was hiding anything, it just didn't need to be "put out there" immediately.

I also agree that having high self esteem gives very much the essence of mystery.

Great post!

Beth G said...

A friend and I had a name for this "TMI" syndrome, which usually occurs in a bar after exact 1.5 alcoholic beverages: Instant Intimacy. Apparently, if you're sitting next to a stranger and have a bit of a buzz, that stranger is your best friend ever! A very silly phenomenon. A work friend recently learned that I have an unpleasant medical condition. "Why didn't I know that?" he demanded. Well... it's quite dull, slightly embarassing, and 100% my own business! Loved your post, love your blog.

The Daily Connoisseur said...

Michael- so true about the cyberworld! And I totally agree- it is not very mysterious to post x rated pictures of oneself online... alluding to x rated photos (but never showing them!) at a dinner party perhaps would be much more mysterious! :)

Tish- LOL many people said they would have preferred if I gave Gatsby away in the giveaway :) Yes, nobody does mysterious like the French... and I found it was much easier to be mysterious in France!

Lady Jicky- ha! Yes Michael did have a coy giggle- that was both strange and mysterious :)

Rebecca- I remember reading that in a Debra Ollivier book too- I think it was Entre Nous. Such a strange concept to me- my friends and I know everything about each other! PS- I sent off your prize yesterday so look for it in the mail! xo

Beth G- LOL! Yes- for me, it isn't 1.5 drinks but one drink and I start to feel the need to talk! Why is that? Thank you so much for your kind comment...

Josephine Tale Peddler said...

I think all of us who Blog struggle with this. I love reading intimate details about others lives and seeing inside their home etc but often feel slightly uncomfortable when I feel too exposed. It is tricky in this day and age when so much depends upon marketing and putting yourself out there. Somehow a balance has to be achieved. Jennifer, I know you are going to provide me with the answer. I love this series of posts. xx

ELS said...

Very thought-provoking post. Never apologise, never explain. (Fitzgerald? Marianne Faithful?). Whoever, it's a great mantra for safeguarding privacy.
Really enjoying your writing
E

Sharon McPherson: AUTHOR / ARTIST said...

I agree with you and a very well written post. I like Josephine's point too about marketing yourself ... and having to achieve a balance.

For example when we receive blog awards and part of the criteria (which is also fun) is to reveal truthful things about the 'real' self - not the blog theme self. How much do you reveal?

I guess some people are just full of themselves and some people are shy - there is no right or wrong.

'Live and let live' is my mantra.

Kristi said...

I was just talking about this last weekend. I get so mad at myself when I start "bragging" in a group of people about something cool I did in my life. I think my excuse is that as a SAHM now, I have very little exciting to comment about and end up thinking "Hey, I used to be cool. see, blah, blah." it's like the high school football star who keeps talking about how cool he was in high school. YIKES! I hate when I do this! K

The Coastal Chicster said...

i am (unfortunately) the most un-mysterious person ever. it's because i try to hard to be funny. sharing too much information is important when you're trying to be funny. but that's okay. maybe being funny makes me mysterious? i doubt it. :) perhaps my ongoing attempt to be hilariously funny, yet sort of classy at the same time makes me just a tad mysterious, though. it's a balancing act, and i'm almost ALWAYS too far off to one side or the other. :P haha.

The Daily Connoisseur said...

Josephine- I don't know why but for some reason I think blogging is excluded LOL. I think this because I love to read about your life and all of the other bloggers lives that I follow. I love seeing how people live. What I struggle with is more on a day to day basis with people I meet in my real life- revealing too much etc. *Sigh* I am going in search of the answer and will tell you as soon as I find it! xo

ELS- Thank you so much. I love that quote. I keep telling myself when I'm older I will live like that (no apologies, no explanations) but the truth is I could live like that now- why not! I will try it and let you know how it goes ;)

Sharon- totally. I mentioned to Josephine that I don't really include blogging in the whole revealing TMI about oneself. Possibly because this is a somewhat safe forum and we all know the rules. But when real life hits and I meet someone new - that is when the struggle begins!

Kristi- LOL I think we all do this to an extent. Our youth was so exciting (I know mine was!) it's easy to talk about it and refer to it constantly (Hell that is the entire premise of my Comme les Français posts!).

Coastal Chicster- ha! You must be very funny because your post made me laugh! I think there is something wonderfully mysterious about funny people- my favorite comedians, for example, I always feel that behind the laughter and jokes there is an entire life of secrets...

BigLittleWolf said...

This is a fascinating subject. I've never understood why so many people - men and women both - feel compelled to dump all kinds of details at the worst possible times.

Is it nerves? Is it a desire to give information right away so if someone isn't interested in you, then you'll know right away?

Never got it. Privacy is not the same as secrecy, and mystery is not the same as privacy. TMI is just plain TMI. A matter of "feeling" as to when to say what, and if it's too much.

La Belette Rouge said...

My genre is memoir and creative non-fiction. I am not so good at mystery in my life or in my writing. I would tell you why but it would take away from my mystery.;-)

Brittany said...

I really like this post. That is something I have been thinking about lately. In the South a lot of people tend to just talk to strangers and give them tmi about thier personal life. I agree with tishx that everyone should not have your trust.

lunasa said...

"Disappearing for days on end and not telling anyone" - That is hilarious, as much as I would love to do that sometimes when I'm at work I think my boss would have some issues with it! I don't think you necessarily need to adopt coy laughs or leave the room to provoke a sense of mystery, I think you can achieve it by not revealing all of your personal details and letting them unfold naturally as you get to know someone better.
Anyway - have a great day!

lunasa said...

Oh I forgot to say, but I have something for you over at my blog

 
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