“When you realize that much of your adult life is a performance—for your wife, your children, your friends and colleagues—to show them that you are normal, that you have internalized your memories of being raised by sad and angry children and are now the kind of father whose children feel he knows them, that the model of conflict-based marriage that led you to think Bitch and Asshole were proper synonyms for Wife and Husband are now a critical palette from which you (mostly) do not draw when resolving conflict within your own marriage, that your friendships are multifarious and drawn from a wide range of geography and experience that qualifies you to call yourself ‘cosmopolitan,’ that you even have colleagues, a word you can’t imagine uttering to anyone you knew before leaving home the first of many times decades ago. The critical distance you feel from terms like ‘colleague,’ though, also puts space between you and words like ‘friend’ and ‘family’—their meanings are so multiple, so evanescent that you sometimes wonder if you will ever truly know anyone, because every person you know exists to you only in the context of your performed relationship with them. Perhaps every expression is a performance—a quotation from an unnamed source.”

What are the Sneaky Feels?

AuthorJohn Proctor