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Dealing With Embarrassing Moments

You know that awkward moment between birth and death? Living? It can make for some pretty embarrassing situations, and over the years I’ve become an expert at landing myself in them. Introduce me into any situation and I’ll eventually find a way to make it unintentionally awkward.

One of the most recent in a long, cringe-worthy history occurred before my winter break, when I attended a Christmas party thrown by some of my senior friends. My best friend and I had spent the afternoon selecting the prefect outfits and deliberating the perfect time to leave so we would be there for the action but not look like we’d been waiting all day for it, which we had. At approximately 8:07 PM, we left our room and make the chilly trek down to their apartment. I’d specifically shaved my legs (an ordeal in the winter) and was shivering in the darkness.

We arrived to a warm celebration, the small apartment filled to brim with our friends and acquaintances. As the night wore on, even more people showed up, and I really began to enjoy myself. Along the way, someone suggested we sing Christmas carols as a way to spread some holiday cheer. Swept up into the mentality, I agreed, thinking, I’ve celebrated Christmas my whole life. There’s no way I could possibly mess this up.  As usual, I was incorrect.

As we started in on Santa Clause is coming to town, I thought, This is going okay. Just keep it casual. I can do this. When the second verse came around, though, I stumbled. Instead of “he sees you when you’re sleeping”, I blurted out, “he’s making a list”, causing about thirty head to turn my way, accusing eyes on pinned on me. The lyrics had slithered out of my throat like a black snake, and I couldn’t take them back. I caught the eye of one of my senior friends, and her smile was so full of pity that I thought I would die on the spot. The song picked up again with me staring into my glass wondering if I could harness the power of prayer to teleport out of there.

Believe it or not, I had another embarrassing moment the very next day. My final exam for my literary theory class was taking place at my professor’s house, which doubled the stakes for my already shot nerves. I ‘d be taking the exam with the other five English majors in my year , all individuals who I desperately wanted to impress (along with my professor, who is also my advisor. No pressure, right?).

After we arrived and made our awkward introductions, my teacher served us a delicious meal in her quaint little kitchen. Up until that point, I had been careful not to breathe too loudly or touch anything. Seating myself on a tall stool between my professor and another classmate, I crossed my legs and tried to appear proper as we conversed around the table. Unfortunately, I overestimated my balancing abilities by quite a bit. So busy was I worrying about my peers and keeping calm and not making a fool of myself that I failed to noticed my stool tipping backwards until I was on the ground and it was on the air.

Sprawled across my professor’s hardwoord floor, I stammered my apologies as I hurriedly tried to right both the chair and myself. No one was angry at me, but the humiliation lingered–I was menace even when sitting still. When we adjourned to her living room for the exam portion, I sat on the floor. No way was I taking that risk again.

Everyone has embarrassing moments, from Taylor Swift to the guy that delivers your papers in the morning. It can seem like you’re the biggest loser on the planet when it happens to you, but there’s almost a guarantee that someone in the vicinity has had worse (if you don’t think so, just remember that I have actually literally pooped my pants in public before. But that’s a story for another article). We’re all human and we all mistakes (unless you’re Beyonce. Beyonce has probably never made a mistake). If anyone gives your trouble for it, they’re a really boring person who you don’t need in your life.

At that party, it felt like someone was shining a big spotlight on me when I messed up. However, even if you embarrass yourself in front of a lot of people like I did, it’s important to remember that it’s not as big a deal to them as it is to you. No one ever mentioned it to me after that; I’m sure I’ve witnessed hundreds of humiliations but forgotten them because they simply didn’t matter. If it’s something really horrendous like wetting your pants during your graduation ceremony, the general rule of thumb is that it’ll circulate for two weeks until it dies down. Most often, though, you’ll find that people are two wrapped up in their own lives to dwell on something someone else did to embarrass themselves.

There’s always a bright side to situations like this. Most embarrassing moments lead to some great stories–ice breakers, even. Don’t be too down on yourself if you think you blew it out there. If life were predictable, it’d be boring as anything; look forward to the ups and the downs.

So the next time you find yourself in a sticky situation, remember:

  1. You’re still fabulous and gorgeous and flawless
  2. It’ll be over before you know it
  3. You didn’t butcher a beloved classic Christmas carol

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