Sometimes, what-not-to-do’s are best learnt through experience. Other times, there’s little point in experiencing something that you know is going to end in an awkward situation. Luckily for you, I attract awkward situations like people’s new bikini bods attract people to Instagram. So, I’ll share with you some serious no-go’s in the hope that it saves you in the future.
Just answering “yes” does not always work
When I don’t really understand what someone said or have asked them too many times what they said because I didn’t hear them, I answer “yes”, chuckle and hope for the best. However, as it were, this is not the answer you should use when getting a bikini wax, no matter what fancy terms the beautician throws at you and regardless of how calm and collected you’re trying to look. Rather look like a fool than a naked mole rat. Let’s just say I ended up with a lot less hair than anticipated and I’m not comfortable saying anymore.
A microphone on stage is not always what you think
This is one of my favourite awkward stories, especially because this one time it wasn’t actually me who was the awkward one. Now, Ashleigh, I know you tell me all the time to “tell my own bloody secrets, not yours”, but for this one you’ll have to excuse me.
This one time (on band camp), it was a typical night on the streets of Classy Claremont – nobody really knew why they were there or what they were doing, there were crying girls outside of Tiger, schoolgirls distinguishable by only their impractical heels, varsity students lining up outside King Shawarma and the odd person was throwing up behind Stadium on Main. My friends and I, Ash included, decided it was time to go home.
On the way past Tin Roof, Ash exclaimed: “Let’s go into Tin Roof, my home ground” (despite the fact that in daylight, she claims to hate Tinners). So, we allowed her one last request before we forced her to come home with us. As we walked in, there was a live band on stage. In Ash’s defence, nobody knew why the hell a live band would ever choose to perform in Tin Roof of all places. Ash, in mild hysteria, confusion and excitement, leaped onto stage screaming “OH MY GOD I LOVE KARAOKE” and tried to pry the microphone from the lead singer’s hand. Moral of the story: even if the singer sounds like she’s doing karaoke, this may not always be the case.
Now, you would think by this stage in the game that people would know this one. Like… Seriously. How many awkward encounters have you watched on TV when someone asks “when are you expecting” to a fatty? Enough times to know not to ever assume such a thing! Often, I forget that this ever happened to me because I’ve tried my best to push it to the same part of my mind that is storing that one time in grade 9 when I dropped about 40 thousand tampons onto the floor of Europa in Rosebank back when it was the social hub of Johannesburg. However, I then remember with shame and sadness that fateful day on Long Street.
I was acting as an extra in the upcoming Sean Penn movie, “The Last Face” – be sure to scour the crowd for me being bored out of my mind in the scene where the carnival is walking up the road. I was in high spirits because I had basically just brushed shoulders with Charlize Theron and we were having a break to socialise while they got the camera ready for the next shot. Suddenly, an older man behind me asked whether I wanted to take his seat. Thrilled by the prospect of sitting down for the first time in ages, I accepted. The woman next to me, his wife I assume, then asked: “So how long?”
Confused, I answered “About a year”, thinking she wanted to know when I joined the acting agency.
More confused, she responded “no no, I mean when are you due?”
Still clueless, I said: “I’m so sorry but I have no idea what you’re asking me”.
Still even more clueless, this woman then said: “When are you having the baby?”
Horrified, I told her I wasn’t pregnant and even more horrified, she pretended that she’d just caught me at a bad angle. I did the 13 Day Diet that month. I also cried a bit but that doesn’t count because I always cry when I panic.
Unfortunately, the fact that I’m preaching this doesn’t mean it has ever stopped me from doing it again and again. I say things I shouldn’t to people I shouldn’t whenever the urge arises. I can’t help it. As Ash so brilliantly pointed out the other day: “I don’t like to think before I speak. I like to be just as surprised as everyone else by what comes out of my mouth”.
The first time my parents realised this lack of impulse control was when my aunt and uncle painted their house bright pink and the whole of the Greenside suburb hated them for it – they even received hate mail. Anyway, my parents naturally agreed with their neighbours but being nice people, they pretended to like it when asked. That’s when I chirped up with “Nuh uh Dad. That’s not what you said to mom. You said you hated it. In fact, you said it was disgusting”.
This habit of mine did not, much to Frank Lane’s despair, get better with age. Recently, I “learnt” the value of picking your crowd. It was just after that whole scandal at St David’s where they made their grade 8s hump a bus seat. I was with my mom with a bunch of mothers who I should have acknowledged as a type and shut up. However, when Mother 1 exclaimed: “the trouble is, at grade 8 level, they hardly know what their bodies are for”, I guffawed in a very unladylike way and said: “Oh please, most of them have been wanking since they were 12″. Ya. Not a good choice. Apparently Little Timmy would never do such a thing. I didn’t object to that one. Progress?
I could probably give so many more ways to avoid awkwardness, but I suppose avoiding awkwardness for an awkward person is futile. My advice would be to focus on how you deal with it rather than avoiding it entirely. Laugh about it maybe. Take a bow. Tell everyone on the internet? Until such a time as you’re made to deal with embarrassment, I’ll leave you with this: never Facebook stalk people in the library in case they’re behind you.