Apropos of nothing, here are some things that embarrass me:
- Being caught scoffing down food at a party. We’re not always perfect little Victorian socialites. Occasionally (often) I’m inclined to forgo manners in favour of broad lowest common denominator desire to shovel food into my mouth. I know that hands have the articulation to be delicate tools, but don’t you ever get moments where you want to put as much of a substance as humanly possible into your mouth at once? I do, so a fistful of popcorn or chips or cake or anything else delectable rises from the plate to my gaping maw. This would all be fine (not a life or death situation in any case) if it weren’t for someone walking up to the food table right as I’m spilling morsels all over my chest. Not in a sexy, intentionally dirty kind of way either. Straight up like this. Worst of all it’s usually a complete stranger and I feel like an ogre. In this situation I either play it off in a self deprecating “aren’t I a mess” kind of thing or go off and club elves with the rest of my brutish, misshapen kind.
- Realising half way through a sentence that I’m about to make a fool of myself. It’s a train wreck in the making and I don’t have the dexterity to remove my foot from my mouth while my mind is trailing behind my lips by a few words. This could be an impulsive retort/pun/correction that pops out before I can vet it. I could be on the verge of saying something really obvious or patronising. I could have even misjudged the situation because I didn’t take another two seconds to think about how to respond first. How much recourse do I have to abort a sentence in the middle? To just close my mouth, take a breath then go for a second pass? Naturally someone will ask what I was about to say and my response should be “something dumb. Let’s move on” every time. Because 11 times out of 10 it was inconsiderate or ill-conceived.
- Being complimented in front of a group. Fear of Tall Poppy Syndrome is so rife in my mentality that I’d feel guilty for putting myself above others. It’s dumb, because I’m all too happy to drown others in a congratulatory heap, but I’m afraid of receiving compliments in the earshot of more people. There’s a part of me that’s sure someone is gonna chime in with “yeah, actually he’s not all that” or that people will secretly think of me as an obnoxious, conceited dweeb for not resorting with gratuitous humility. My go to is to say “thank you” and try to change the subject or flip it back on them, because if I diminish their goodwill I become the asshole.
- Store staff seeing me taking items I’m nervous about into a changing room. That was a messy sentence. If I’m feeling iffy about something I’ve grabbed off the racks, I don’t want people to notice what I’ve grabbed. I know that they’re not judging me, but deep down I feel like they are. Really? The head bitch teenage girl in my head snarks you think you’re actually gonna pull that off? Then I walk past sales staff, or worse they ask me how many items I’ve picked out and they see what I’ve grabbed. No, they likely don’t give a fuck what the items are, just the quantity. Still, it trips me out. So much so that I’ll always take the items back to the racks myself rather than leave them there for the staff to put back.
- Whenever I’ve thought about doing a nice deed and someone else does it first. I get helpful impulses, but I’m afraid to act on them. That old guy dropped his bag. Should I pick it up for him? Does she need help with that box? Should I give up my seat right now? I wonder if my action is actually helpful or patronising for someone who’s able enough to be offended by my assumption. Then while I’m figuring it out, someone else swoops in and I feel like an asshole for not doing The Thing. There’s no catch-all here either. I can’t say always do it and live with the outcome or never help because neither of those work. Conversely, my case by case basis is processed too slow to actually assist anyone enough. So I end up ignoring people and feel like pond scum.
- Facebook memories from my early 20s. Because growth and maturity are important, but take time.