Monday, August 25, 2008

SPLIT PERSONALITY

Last Monday night I had dinner at Hollie and Caspar's, and my new friend Claudia made an interesting, unexpected and, as it turns out, dead-accurate declaration. "You love attention. You want people to look at you," she said to me. Before I had a chance to take offense, she clarified. She wasn't talking about the guy the world sees during regular business hours. She was referring to my dancefloor alter-ego, the outgoing free spirit that I become somewhere between my third and my 30th (kidding!) whiscola. My God, I thought, I must be such a ham!

Before you write me off as a total exhibitionist, let me assure you that I don't spend every waking hour angling for attention. In fact, much of the time, I'm pretty much a loner, borderline reclusive even. My friends in New York were always understanding when I'd sometimes disappear on the weekends and not answer my phone because I just needed time alone. Once a friend of mine asked my brother Alexi how he would describe me and Alexi replied that I am a "recovering introvert." Nobody before and no one since has gotten it quite so right. Sometimes I still think that Alexi knows me better than anyone.

Last night I went out to GLAM to meet up with some friends, and I was in a pretty mellow mood. One of my best friends got some bad medical news this past week, and I've been feeling quite low. Rather than being the social butterfly and dancing queen that I become when I pass through the doors of GLAM, I was uncharacteristically low-key and quiet, sipping on a beer and just enjoying the company of the people in my circle.

Toward the end of my hour or so there, I ran into José, an acquaintance whom I see now and then. A minute into our conversation, he made his own interesting, unexpected and, as it turns out, not-quite-dead-accurate declaration: "Tonight I'm talking to the real Jeremy." I get it, I get it, I thought. This is the Jeremy you really like, the one who will give you his undivided attention while you're having an intelligent conversation about serious things. Normally, he sees me sometime after whiscola No. 3, when my Dr. Jekyll has fully metamorphosized into my Mr. Hyde and giving undivided attention and having intelligent conversations are no longer my strengths.

I'm talking here about more than a loosening of inhibitions. This is an incredible Hulk-like transformation, the emergence of a completely alternate personality. But, I explained to José, it's still me. There is no real Jeremy and no fake Jeremy. The person I become after a few drinks is authentic, as much a part of me as the person he was talking to last night. But because I spend the majority of my life sober, the cool, calm, collected Jeremy is the dominant Jeremy, not wild, crazy ass Jeremy.

Today I've been thinking about my split personality and why this particular week mine spawned commentary from two people. While Claudia doesn't seem to have a preference, José clearly favors Dr. Jekyll, the guy he was talking to last night. The irony: The relationship between the two sides of my personality is perfectly symbiotic. Without Mr. Hyde, José never would have gotten to Dr. Jekyll, who's shy and doesn't exactly work the room. In fact, he can be a little aloof and, I've been told, intimidating. Mr. Hyde, who was out in full force the night José and I met nearly two years ago (when, incidentally, I was wearing the same Marc Jacobs cowboy-themed button-down shirt that I wore last night), is more approachable. But he'll probably get to you first. He's the outgoing one who reels people in.

Sound complicated? Well, nobody ever said I was easy.

Speaking of split personalities, check out this track from one of pop's great chameleons, P!nk, from her then-successful, now unfairly dismissed R&B diva phase: "Split Personality"
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