this is overeagerness

"Overeager" is a derogatory term, "over" implying excessive and "eager" denoting strong and unfeigned interest. When someone is "overeager," is that a factor of timing, verbosity, posture, or language? Is self-protection so engrained in human psychology that our scorn of "overeagerness" is our way of warding off the intensity of desire? Say you meet someone whom you are interested in getting to know better, and you decide to solicit the person for drinks. Your perceived "eagerness" is determined by a few things: how much time has passed between seeing the person and soliciting them (e.g. texting five minutes after you first met could be interpreted as "overeager"), how much effort you put into "connecting" with said person (e.g. following them on every social network they are on), the language used in communication (e.g. "Hey! I think we really hit it off when we met, and I want to take you out for dinner. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday night work for me, and we could do drinks after dinner too, and maybe a movie? Let me know what you think. I'm really excited about this!"—is probably perceived as overeager—the tone and verbosity of this text reflect this), one's availability (see aforementioned example), and the level to which one's desire is reciprocated (some men will always be perceived as assertive rather than overeager; perhaps this is the male version of je ne sais quoi).

When did aloofness become a virtue? Why does mystery entice us so? There's a deep thrill in being the one-who-desires, perhaps moreso than being the desired. The horizon line is still far away; there's something to swim toward—somewhere beyond your reach. Our society is as mannered as the Whartonian world, in which social cues were clearly patterned and understood but not necessarily spoken of. Our behavior is still governed by ideas: not of respectability now, necessarily, but of what is deemed "cool." But one more thing: the attention we pay to the way we interact extends beyond face-to-fact contact: now our selves inhabit technological spheres and social networks and Google-searched images on global platforms, and we must heed social norms there too. We must calculate our airs and our advances. We are not overeager, perhaps, but we are overgroomed. Perhaps overeagerness is actually a moment of vulnerability, of completely diminished pretension, of social cues being dropped for one second; a desire not manicured or tamed but freely aired. For that level of earnestness, I surrender all disdain—I welcome your overeagerness.

update: uncannily found this whip-smart essay on this (at least tangential) topic, and a rebuttal to it (also worth reading)


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