Do You Hide Your Nervous Habits?

Molly Shannon's SNL character, Mary Katharine Gallagher, had a tendency to stick her fingers under her armpits and then smell them whenever she got nervous. The rest of us may not be as comfortable sharing our nervous habits in public.

I bring this up only because my fiance laughed at me this morning as he came in to say hello while I was writing. "Let me just check," he said, looking under the desk. "Yep. One Sock McGee, in the house." This is not the first time this has happened, mind you. It is pretty much a weekend ritual at this point for my boyfriend to point out that at some point between the time I start writing and the time he comes in to say hello, I will have removed one of my socks (or shoes, or sandals, or flip flops).

I have no idea why this happens: it's a nervous habit, I guess, but I always end up with one sock on and one sock on the floor. Recently I've caught myself doing this at work, as well, flicking off one of my heels under my desk and leaving the other one in place. It's not a terrible habit, just kind of weird, but for some reason it seems to calm me down.

A friend of mine, however, is worried that one of her nervous habits might follow her to work and cause a bit of a scene. "I grab my left boob while I'm watching television," she says. "Especially if it's something that's scary or intense. I think it starts with me putting my hand over my heart, but eventually I'm at second base with myself." Her breasts, she says, are "warm and squishy," and soothing to her. "If I can't feel myself up," she argues, "nobody can." However, she's a bit afraid that she'll end up on Boob Patrol at the office and often has to check herself to make sure that she's not sticking her hand inside of her bra. "I have nightmares about it," she says.

There are some nervous habits that we can not help: I'm a nail biter, and I know it grosses some people out so I try not to do it at work (same goes with knuckle-cracking) but there are times of stress when my hands automatically go to my mouth without me even noticing it. I've tried to counteract it by breaking paperclips; my desk currently looks like a mass paperclip graveyard. Sometimes, a replacement habit is even worse than the original.

As of right now, both of my socks are back on, (and I'm wearing socks because it's cold in my house and we have cold floors, sock haters) but I can guarantee you that one of them will be off within the next hour or so. That is the beauty of the internet, people. We can all feel ourselves up and walk around as nail biting, knuckle cracking, one-socked wonders and no one will be the wiser. Unless you put it on a web cam or some such, but then you're probably playing to an audience who is into those sorts of things.

So what say you, commenters? Do you have any nervous habits? And how do you handle them when you're around other people?

[Image via Natalie Dee.]