How Embarrassing…

I am easily embarrassed for other people. As in, I get mild anxiety when someone tipsy tries to give a heartfelt, rambling Oscar acceptance speech, and I’m better off leaving the room.

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When it comes to myself, I’m most embarrassed when I misread a social situation. For example, that moment earlier this week on St. Patty’s Day when a friend’s husband walked up and stood much closer to me than usual, and I thought for some reason that we were going to do that awkward back-pat-side-hug-with-space-still-between-us greeting (and then made my best attempt to execute this nearly impossible move) when all he wanted to do was find out if I was wearing green so he could pinch me (I wasn’t…because getting six children + myself to the gym with all of us dressed in ANY color ranks slightly higher than avoiding pinches).

Or that time I thought Kendi was trying to shake my hand when she was really reaching for the clothes I was holding, and I ended up holding hands with her for a monumentally awkward moment or three. Cue: me, trying to sink through the floor.

What’s that you say? You’d like to hear more of my embarrassing moments?

All right, then.

Let’s travel back in time to my ultra-cool community college days when I, an over-achieving, exceptionally nerdy 15-year-old freshman, sat on the front/middle seat in every single class so as not to miss one word of instruction (I’m kind of embarrassed for myself already, and I haven’t even gotten to the story yet).

One day, in History 1301, which was taught by the diminutive, soft-spoken, dryly funny Dr. Parks, I was doing my level best to subdue a bout of ribcage-punishing hiccups, while scribbling notes and trying to resist the inevitable drowsiness that comes with after-lunch classes in warm rooms.

When I could fight it off no longer, I allowed myself one enormous yawn, the kind that leaves you suspended with your mouth gaping for a good 5 seconds.

Well.

Right in the middle of said yawn, I could feel my diaphragm begin to spasm with a hiccup. Desperate, I tried to hinge my jaw shut in time. To no avail.

And do you know what happens when you hiccup violently while your mouth is open wider than its ever been in your life? You make noises that resemble the mating call of an orca whale…that just swallowed a terrified zebra. Only 47 times louder. In the world’s quietest room.

And then you hear the titters of laughter, along with a snort or two (because your incredible vocal feat just woke up those two dudes snoozing in the back corner), and you feel the burning sensation of 27 pairs of eyes boring holes in the back of your skull as you attempt to fold your body into a smaller-than-desk-sized shape, since disappearing completely is not exactly an option.

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Of course, that little episode was nothing compared to that time I was playing keyboards for the worship team. In the midst of a particularly quiet moment, as I played slow, gentle chords on the string pad–my simulated cello notes providing the perfect, worshipful accompaniment to our worship leader’s exhortations to focus our hearts and minds on Jesus–my fingers slipped, and my knuckles bumped one of the 1,034 buttons on the console. Suddenly, the auditorium was filled with the raucous sounds of…Polka.

Seriously.

“Just close your eyes, and let Jesus speak to your…” OOMPA OOMPA OOMPA-PA!

Every eye snapped open. Every head jerked toward me (not hard since I was standing front and center on a stage).

I dove toward the power button, punched it, and then just stood there for a second, beet red, before slowly, sheepishly giving a double thumbs up. And then, everybody clapped.

It. was. awesome (-ly bad).

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Aaaaaaand now it’s your turn.

These are, by far, my favorite kinds of posts because I get to hear from YOU. So, spill your most cringe-worthy, embarrassing moments so we can all laugh at with you. Pretty please? I promise it’ll be fun!

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43 thoughts on “How Embarrassing…

  1. I asked my hair stylist (whom I hadn’t seen in a while) if she was expecting…..to which she replied, “No, just fat”. Ugggggh! That was before she even cut my hair! Thankfully she didn’t butcher but I didn’t go back to her after that. ;)

    And this one belongs to my sis-in-law but its too funny…..she did her entire 45 min workout on the elliptical at the gym only to realize afterward that she had a thong stuck to her bum due to static cling!! I would have died!! Still laugh about this one with her :) )

  2. I was pregnant with my 2nd about 5 months. I was working (at a dorm that houses children of incarcerated parents) with another girl for a 6-2 shift in the Nursery taking care of about 4 toddlers and 5 babies (0-3 months). Suddenly I had a very bad cough and couldn’t quit… almost choking like I needed water and simultaniously had a VERY full bladder….
    I couldn’t decide whether to run for the faucet or run to the bathroom but at least both were in the same direction so I headed that way….
    I leaked all the way to the bathroom. I was SOAKED. not damp, not wet, it was a lake. all over my pants …. puddles on the floor, large puddle right by the toilet and I still had more once I sat down. and I still kept coughing. I locked myself in the bathroom for about 5 minutes wondering if the other girl had spotted my mess on the floor and had blamed it on a potty-training toddler. I obviously couldn’t put my pants back on.. I had to text the girl I was on shift with that I had wet my pants and ask her if she had some pants I could use. It took me another 5 minutes to come up with the resolve to do that. I heard her laughing from the other room when she read my text.

  3. I was an executive assistant at my previous job, and our office was frequently used for large monthly meetings of company execs in our greater geographical area. After one such meeting, one of the execs had left her suit jacket behind. I wasn’t sure who it belonged to, so I sent out a zone-wide email (including all execs and all executive assistants) saying “a black woman’s jacket was left behind at the meeting today.” Very, very poor phrasing on my part, as I’m sure you can tell that it reads as though a jacket belonging to a black woman was left behind, not that a black jacket belonging to a woman was left behind. Insult to injury? The jacket did, in fact, belong to a black female exec. I still want to melt into the floor thinking about that.

  4. I really hope this isn’t inappropriate. Please delete if so. When I was in the workforce, during the Christmas season, everyone would bring in cultural foods. We would set everything up in the break room and sneak off to get a snack from time to time. My mother, who loves to cook, made what in our culture is like a fried codfish pastry type thing. Just like a hushpuppy but with codfish. So, I’m working (at a bank), and I’m behind the teller line during busy check cashing time. A bunch of construction workers were in at the time. The bank CEO came out and from across the lobby I could see him eating some of the round codfish snacks I had brought it. Someone told him I had brought them in, so, he mouthed the words, “What are these?” I yelled out across the lobby, “They are codfish balls.” The place erupted with laughter and I just looked around stunned and confused trying to figure out what was going on? Why all the laughter as everyone looked at me!? Once it hit me, I was mortified! LOL

  5. My sophomore year of high school (when Abbie was my teacher ;) my best friend and I were walking around her neighborhood with these two boys we had crushes on. We were trying to get into the neighborhood pool but the gate was locked because it wasn’t quite summer yet. I guess we were feeling adventurous and determined to still get in. The guys hopped over the fence/gate and then my best friend so I was last to go. I was trying to be graceful because I had on a mini jean skirt (as was popular to wear in 2005) so I told the guys to turn around while I climbed over. Unfortunately, I swung my second leg over but didn’t quite clear it completely and two of the prongs of the wrought ironed fence went up my skirt behind me and my legs were dangling kicking for ground but I was SPEARED like a shish kabob on this 8 ft tall fence … My panties were now for sure showing but I couldn’t get down and Melissa couldn’t lift me off alone so the guys had to help me by lifting me up off of it. I couldn’t speak the rest of the night. Ahhhh the embarrassment

  6. Just thought of one embarrassing moment. Dear husband and I were on holiday in Spain a few years ago, we went along to watch a parade going through the town we were staying in, so far so good! Until I realised that the pavement we were walking on was the same design and colour as the road. Of course I moved to the side of the pavement stumbled and fell onto the road! Dear husband instead of rushing to help me asked “Is the camera okay?” Men! At least a lady came to my aid but I had no idea what she was saying in Spanish, I couldn’t get up quick enough. I had on my best jeans which I managed to put my knee through. By the way, yes the camera was alright.

  7. I have definitely gotten harder to embarrass as I get older. Things that would have had me squirming before are easy to laugh off now. Like falling- I’m so clumsy, I’m always tripping and falling or otherwise bumping into things. Doesn’t even phase me anymore.
    I must have blocked my most embarrassing things out of my head, because I know they are there, but I can’t think of them!
    One thing that does still embarrass me is awkward social situations. Greetings here (in Congo) are a big deal, and can be somewhat difficult for me to read. Are we going to stick to verbal greetings, shake hands, awkward hug, cheek kisses. When you go in for one & see the surprise on their face, you know they weren’t expecting it! I also get embarrassed for other people when they are awkward in public. Sometimes you see it coming and you just want to stop it!
    Wardrobe malfunctions are the same way. The traditional skirt here is a pagne- huge rectangle of cloth, basically tablecloth size. You just wrap it around, and do a few folds at your waist. I’ve always tied my ends in a knot, because I just know it’s going to fall off. Once, the knot worked itself loose without me realizing- until I was going up the stairs to a friend’s apartment and it started slipping down. Since then, I wear bike shorts underneath. This was especially a good idea when I thought I could ride a bike in a pagne. I went right by a big group of people as both layers flapped open to the sides.

  8. It was a Monday morning. I was in my office at TJC preparing to teach my classes when the tiny pocket-in-a-pocket of my FAVORITE jeans caught on the edge of my keyboard shelf. My blood went absolutely cold as I heard “riiiiiip”. A foot of denim material was hanging down, in a perfectly straight strip, from the pocket to mid-thigh. Oh my gosh! My pants! My keyboard just pantsed me! My undies were quite obviously showing and I had no idea what to do. Certainly I could not teach in this condition. I had to call my department chair on the phone and tell her I had a wardrobe malfunction, that Monday had ripped my pants. For a temporary fix. I ever-so-carefully stapled the top together (it did NOT want to hold), stretched my top down as low as I could, and sort of penguin-walked my way to the car, hoping that my nether bits weren’t showing.

    I keep spare pants in my office now.

    1. “Monday had ripped my pants.” Ha! Of COURSE it was a Monday. All I can think is Praise Jesus it didn’t catch on the edge of your desk while you teaching.

  9. Oh boy reading these are so funny I am crying with laughter. I am sure I have embarrassed myself many times, now let me think when!!!!!!!!

  10. Oh man, Abbie–you and I are going to have to start an Awkward club. We’ll make shirts that have the Social Butterfly that didn’t quite make it out of her cocoon. LOL

    I have many embarrassing stories, most of which I’ve intentionally forgotten, but one of my hubby’s favorites to tell (and so, I CAN’T forget it) is this one:

    We had some family coming to visit while we lived on campus at LU in our 2-bedroom apartment. The second bedroom was the office/tool space/storage room, so we decided to let them have the master bedroom and we’d sleep on a twin on the floor. We didn’t want them to feel bad about it, so we just kept that door shut and pretended (without actually saying it, of course) there was another bed in there. Well, they discovered our plan and insisted on sleeping on the couch and mattress, to which I replied, “No, we don’t mind sharing the twin at all–we’re skinny!”

    Oh, I just remembered another. One time I was riding my new ladies’ cruiser bike on campus (either those were exceptionally awkward years or I’ve grown used to my awkward ways and think nothing of them now…). Unbeknownst to me, Matt had recently done some bike maintenance and thoughtfully tightened up the hand brakes on the bike. It was a Sunday evening, and I was wearing a long A-line skirt on the trip home from Bible study. We passed a large group of friends coming out of the chapel service near our apartment and Matt slowed down to chat with them. My bike was was behind his, so I also applied the brake, which was waaaaaay more sensitive than it used to be, and so the bike came to an abrupt halt and I flipped over it onto the pavement, skirt flying and all. I don’t know who saw what, but we were all cracking up laughing–even Matt, who couldn’t help laughing through his concern!

  11. What a fun way to start the weekend!! Your stories had me giggling…
    When my husband and I were dating we had gone out to eat and had come back to his house to hang out for a little while. Well whatever I ate wasn’t agreeing with me and when he went upstairs for a minute or two I just couldn’t hold it in and I passed gas…well right afterwards he came back downstairs and oh.my.word…it smelled awful, just awful. He instantly made a face and started coughing and gagging! He turned all the ceiling fans on and opened all the windows. I was mortified. Needless to say he loved me anyway because a few months later we got engaged ;)

      1. I actually had to stop reading several times to gain my composure from laughing so hard. Even my one year old kept coming over and hugging me because she thought something was wrong. Tears were streaming down my face!

  12. When I was pregnant with my first we went to a new friends house. I had undiagnosed hypermesis gravadium (I found out when I was finally hospitalized) and I could feel the vomit rising in my throat. Well, being heavily pregnant I also had the bladder control of a 3 month old. I ran to their bathroom and wretched my guts and totally peed myself. I put my sweater over my bum and told my husband we needed to go. We are totally the best of friends now and I sobbed when they moved to Nevada. Clearly my peeing didn’t deter a friendship

    1. Oh man, that had to have been rough!! Although, there seems to be a theme in several of these comments…when bodily functions are involved, the romantic and/or friendship bond seems to be all the greater afterwards. :)

  13. If we were voting on the MOST embarrassing, so far, I would vote for the pg lady and unexpected meeting in the bathroom!! Horrendous! HOW did she face him the next day?!!

  14. I had one of those awkward hug moments too. I was working as a lifeguard at the Y at the time. A college student had just come back to work for the summer and I had only meet him once. He came to replace me at the end of my shift. He reached around in a way that seemed like he was going in for a hug. I, being an affectionate person, returned the hug. But no, he was a actually reaching for the rescue tube I was holding. However, he’s an affectionate person too and graciously accepted the hug. He became a dear friend over years of working together but we both get a chuckle out of our awkward first interaction.

  15. When my oldest was just learning to talk, for some reason, he went through a phase where he made the F sound for words that started with T…One day while walking to the grocery store as I was carrying this child, he became very excited to see several men unloading a…truck. He yelled “Truck, truck!!” over & over, which came out sounding “F—, f—!” over & over & over & over! I couldn’t quiet him! The men looked at me like, “What kind of mother are you???” I couldn’t even explain..I thought about dropping the baby & running away, but no…so I died.

  16. When I was a young shy bride and expecting my first (of 6) babies we were invited by some new friends from our church to their cottage so they could get to know us better. I was 9 months pregnant…huge and awkward. In the middle of the night I had to go to the bathroom.I didn’t wanna disturb anyone in the small cottage by turning on any lights.I went to the little bathroom pulled up my nitie.pulled down my undies and sat down….only to hear a deep voice speak from behind me” this seat is taken”…just as I sat on his knees….our new friend! I tore back to bed ,bladder full and did not move until morning. Totally humiliated! The next morning( and to this very day) he never made mention of it…I still blush thinking of it!

  17. Oh, these are awesome! I know I have some, but I can’t remember. I work in a gymnastics club, and I can’t even tell you the numerous times I’ve tripped over mats and stumbled. I think my kids embarrass me more. Like the time my daughter (who is in the class I teach) was running up to the vault squealing. “EEEEEEEEE” So she got there, and I told her that we couldn’t scream while we vault because someone might think something is wrong. So she needed to go try it again. She took off and came running back to the vault. She wasn’t screaming any more, it was more of a roar “RRAAAAAWWWWW” You just had to laugh and go, “yup, that’s my kid!”
    I’m sure I’ll be back here to read more, guys!

  18. This is great!! I’ve done those awkward hugs too. When I was 14-15 I went on a mission trip and when leaving the missionary was giving us all hugs, old family friend so it shouldn’t have been awkward, but I turned my head the wrong way and ended up brushing his cheek with my face.

  19. I work out at the same gym I manage, so often when I am there on my off hours I’ll still see members, they recognize me and want to chat. One time I was running on a treadmill and, though my eyes were open, I was totally zoned out in my running and listening to a podcast. A member was trying to get my attention and say hello and just tapped my shoulder, it startled me so badly that I stepped on the non-moving part of the treadmill (if you’ve never done this, bless you) I immediately was flung to the floor and the member just looked on horrified, so did everyone else on the cardio machines. I just got up, calmly took out my earbuds, said hello while I turned the belt slower and stepped back on at a walking pace. Oh, and it was all on the recorded security so my co-workers got many, many days worth of laughs out of it.

    ps. Unrelated… glad your instagram is public again!

    1. I applaud the aplomb with which you recovered. And I’m glad you didn’t really hurt yourself. I’ve done a version of this, and it’s no bueno!

      Also, Instagram…yeah. I have no idea WHY it was private for a few days. It wasn’t intentional. I guess I bumped a button without realizing it.

  20. I work for the election division in my state. One day, a group of city officials/guests was touring our facility and stopped in my office so my boss (an elected official) could give them an impromptu speech. One of the men in the group, a very prominent man in the community, addressed me with a question. I quickly rehearsed my answer in my head, but I accidentally said “ERECTION” instead of “election.” I said ERECTION to a group of elected officials, businessmen, local officials…mostly MEN, naturally. They all laughed, of course. I could feel my face turning hot and red. If Jesus had come back right then, I would have been okay with it!!! The man who asked the question still torments me by reminding me about this!!

    1. Yikes! So, one time I tried to reprimand a rather rough-around-the-edges high school freshman BOY by telling him that he needed to stop “jacking around” but managed to say “Jacking OFF,” instead. We both had the hardest time keeping it together/not laughing and trying to pretend that a teacher had not just said that to a 14-year-old boy. So unfortunate. At least it was a private conversation. If I’d said that in front of all of his friends, I/he would have never lived that down.

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