And you wonder why we boys do it so much…
I tell you why. There are three main reasons that I show off; I don’t know if I speak for all other boys though.
The first is to get attention. Who doesn’t like attention? I like attention so much, I am willing to do crazy things to capture it. Some people enjoy gaining attention so much they pester and annoy others for it. I try not to. But showing off? That doesn’t hurt anybody. Except me. Sometimes. But not usually.
I don’t like to explicitly ask for attention. I don’t want to draw attention to myself by being the loudest or most talkative person present. Hence my usual silence in group conversations, offset by the occasional soft-spoken comment. To make up for this, I show off. People will notice if you do cool or interesting things. They probably notice less than I think they will when I do something, but I’m sure it captures at least some of their attention. I like to think that showing off will make me more memorable, so I do it regardless of whether or not it actually works like that.
The second reason I show off is because it’s fun. Even if no one is around I’ll still leap up onto a high wall or drop down from a tall ledge because it gives me a sense of ability and I like the experience of flying through the air. Whenever I have a chance to display one of my talents, I’ll take it. I like to see the limits of what my body can do. It’s also good practice – I don’t get good at things just by doing them when other people are around, I have to do it all the time on my own. Having pressure from other people actually increases your abilities, but only in areas that you have been well trained.
The third reason I show off is to let off stress. It’s extremely liberating to go do something super awesome and feel like a boss. When life isn’t treating me right, I go show off a skill that I have regardless and return the setback with a positive. That’s part of the reason why I might improvise on the piano and jump off the ledge to our fire escape and random intervals throughout the day. I distract myself from emotional pain with self indulgence and narcissism.
Of course, I do put limits on what I do. I don’t go completely crazy and attempt difficult feats that I haven’t thought all the way through. To this day I have not broken any bones, gotten stitches, or been hospitalized at all for anything besides being born. Maybe I’m lucky, but I also think that I am a pretty good judge of my abilities and I try to stay within the boundaries of what I can actually do.
This is just my perspective on things. Let me know how accurate I’m being here.