Most Embarrassing Moment

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It is a nearly impossible task to have to pick merely one embarrassing moment when one has such an infinite array to cringe… I mean… choose from.

I’m usually not very good at sticking with things, like exercise, a career, or any other potentially self-improving habits. But there is one thing which I’ve managed to do almost daily, without fail, in my nearly three decades here on Mother Earth: I’ve embarrassed myself. In major, wince-inducing ways.

I’ve been the clumsy fool eating dirt more times than one can shake a stick at. And of course, this always happens in front of scores of onlookers. Ironically though, whenever I’m all by myself with no witnesses around for miles, I gracefully glide across the roughest terrain. In heels.

Then there was this rather mysterious and life threatening phase I went through during which I proceeded to choke on wine during first dates. (And there were many, because during that pitiful period I never scored a second date. Yes, alas, I was the original one date wonder!) Do you have any idea how difficult it is to try and look composed and appealing and understated and chic and together when you are desperately (but daintily!) wheezing while slowly turning various shades of first red, then white and then blue? After a while I even tried changing my choice of beverage. I started trading in the usual merlot for chardonnay. And nearly died.

And while we’re on the subject of food and beverage: On many of those same fateful-and-nearly-fatal dates I’ve flashed what I (mistakenly) thought to be my most perfect smile (and yes, this usually happened before the choking, when I still had some hope.). You know, that same toothpaste commercial grin girls reserve as a sexy accompaniment to the vigorous batting of their eyelashes? Only to come home to the mirror and finding that standard classic: various bits of food (usually something dark green but looking black and disgusting) dangling from between my two front teeth.

Not to mention all those many, many times when my mouth became an entity altogether separate from my brain, allowing me to say the MOST INAPPROPRIATE things at the most inopportune times. Like when I told a competitor in the high school beauty pageant how one of the judges had confided in me that he wasn’t at all happy with the outcome. And yes, you’ve guessed it: that same girl was crowned queen just a few minutes after I had given her all the juicy details about why this judge despised her…

How about leaving the restroom with the back of one’s dress tucked into one’s pantyhose? Why yes, of course that has happened to me. In hind sight (and yes, lame pun totally intended) I can’t believe how I could’ve ignored that sudden draft I felt on my rear!

I’ve also been caught in lies by the people I had lied to. Few experiences are as humiliating as those. And rightfully so.

But if you really, really insist, I’ll pick just one Most Embarrassing Moment.

I’ll base my selection on the following criteria:

It has to be something that happened in front of a lot of people. It has to be an event that occurred thanks to my own stupidity/clumsiness/lack of judgment and the way that my stars were aligned that day. So in other words I’m not counting any moments directly or intentionally caused by other people.

And this is my choice for My Most Embarrassing Moment (thus far, at least… but give me time. I’m sure I’ll eventually upstage it with something worse!):

It was 1992 and I was a senior in high school back in my native South Africa.

Every afternoon I had to catch one of two city buses to transport me home. As luck would have it, our school shared a bus stop with neighboring Pretoria Boys’ High School. This was very, very nice, especially since I went to a performing arts high school where we boy-crazy, hormone-driven teenage girls didn’t have too many heterosexual boys to choose from.

So, we used those afternoons at the bus stop to flirt and ogle and show off and bat our eyelashes in order to get noticed.

On that fateful afternoon, my girlfriends and I were intent on performing our usual ritual. I was particularly excited, because a handsome boy I had a crush on was also at the bus stop that day, instead of being at the afternoon rugby practice. That’s probably why I was particularly boisterous and giddy and barely able to keep my eyes off the object of my adoration.

So his handsome face was probably what I was seeing when the ground suddenly fell away underneath my patent leather school shoes…

The next thing I knew, I was eye-level with many, many pairs of shoes. Concerned voices were asking if I was okay.

I had fallen into a manhole.

Well, to be more precise, it was still being dug out (otherwise I probably would’ve emerged with more things crushed than just my fragile teenage ego). Apparently I had walked right past all the larger than life “beware” signs that were put up by the construction team, but because my head was buried in clouds, I never saw it…

To tell you the truth, I have no recollection about how I got out of the hole. Must’ve blocked it out due to the horror and trauma I was certainly experiencing right then.

From later accounts, delivered with great relish through hysterical fits of giggles by my friends who bore witness to my tumble, I gathered that my crush was among the boys who hoisted me back to Mother Earth’s upper crust. Apparently my rescue was quite an entertaining spectacle, involving lots of flailing limbs (mine), blushing, and a torn skirt offering a panoramic view of my underwear…

For the rest of that year, I volunteered at various after-school activities.

And from that day, whenever I walked to the bus stop to catch the later bus home, my eyes remained firmly and hypnotically fixed on the sidewalk.


Jenn said:

Well, someone has to ask the question. Did you ever get the boy?

I've done some really stupid stuff as well. I must say that I've not fallen into a manhole! My clumsiness is however known in several surrounding counties.

I can't wait to read more.

is a South African girl living in South Africa. That doesn't sound very original, we know, but you might find it remotely interesting when you learn that she has only recently returned to South Africa for the first time after a nine year, one month and two week (non-stop!) stint in the United States where she accidentally became an outlawed alien (also known, especially in immigration circles, as an 'illegal immigrant.' We prefer the term 'outlawed alien' ourselves). During her reversed exile from her homeland, she kept herself occupied by winning this website (but only after shamelessly bribing the judges) and thus being unleashed on the web where she slowly, leisurely became the World's Laziest Blogger; by being a nanny and by attending sci-fi conventions in search of other aliens. In the US, she also made her sailing debut, her international acting debut, tried and failed to learn the piano, and never learned to cook. She is hopelessly addicted to coffee, dogs (especially Labrador Retrievers), how-to books (with a particular fondness for her copy of the Time/Life A - Z Medical Encyclopedia), and she tends to grossly overuse parentheses (we're not kidding) during her attempts at writing, which you may - if you really have masochistic tendencies - subject yourself to by reading the words to the right of this column. If you REALLY and truly STILL want to know more, you can read her C.V. here.
Or you can stalk her send her some love via e-mail at: redsaid[AT]gmail[DOT]com

The Wish List (Because yes, she really does need more how-to books. Honestly!)


  • Jenn : Well, someone has to ask the question. Did you ever get the boy? I've done some really stupid stuf... [go]
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