Like the popular section in magazines, who wore awkward best? This is a really hard call since there are so many similarities: similar hideous floral dresses, equally horrible haircuts, and the failed attempt to smile/look happy. They both perfectly capture the look of discomfort that let everyone know how awkward you felt at that age. It’s safe to say that this contest has no winner but I definitely lose since one of these pictures is me.
The upside to being awkward at a young age is that it prepares you for the plethora of awkward moments that are bound to come through out life. Go West might be the “King of Wishful Thinking” but I’m the Queen of Awkward Moments.
Last Saturday was a perfect example. I woke up at 5:00 AM to the sound of pounding on my wall. I got up to see what the hell was going on and was displeased to discover my roommate having hardcore sex in the living room, whipped cream and all. As I turned on the lights we both screamed and I ran back to my room disgusted and weirdly kind of hungry.
I laid there for the rest of the morning pissed off and trying to figure out what I could say. Plenty of aggressive and angry digs came to mind but as time went on I realized that I had to be assertive and just make the best of the situation. I finally decided to come out from hiding and my roommate was cooking in the kitchen. I was mustering up the courage to give the speech I had been working on for the past 5 hours when my roommate asked if we could pretend like nothing happened and assured me it wouldn’t happen again. That seemed a lot easier than going into my courtesy manifesto, so I let it go.
I decided exercising would be a great way to start fresh so I got dressed and went to the gym. I was running on the treadmill listening to my exercise mix filled with rap, hip hop, and mash ups that make you move. I don’t dance on the treadmill but when a song I really like comes on I sometimes run to the beat. Unfortunately as I got really into “Blurred Lines” I lost my footing and went down on the treadmill like a sack of potatoes on a conveyer belt. I slammed into the machine behind me at full force and the entire gym got silent and three employees darted towards me. Everyone wanted to make sure I was ok but the attention was like adding insult to injury at that point. I didn’t need a spotlight on my moment of embarrassment but there was no one working the lights. I assured them that I was fine, gathered my things, and went home. I had no broken bones, my ipod was working so there was nothing really damaged besides my ego. I was used to that by now.
The day dragged on and I had a busy night in the city. I had been MIA for some time and decided to jump back into my social life head first. I had been sick for a while and hadn’t gone out but then I got used to staying in, which was a cycle I was about to break. I got a reminder about a few events people posted on Facebook and realized that a friend, maybe acquaintance would be a better word, I hadn’t seen in years was having a birthday party in the city. I was mapping out my whole night and was feeling good about the social progress I was making. The gym and roommate sex incidents from earlier were fading away and I had hopes that the day would end a lot better than it had started.
I arrived at the bar of the estranged friend and could not find anyone I knew. As I headed towards that back I realized there was another back room where the party was probably taking place. As I entered, I saw my friend along with his immediate and extended family having dinner. When I made eye contact with him he had a look of shock on his face and his family just looked confused. It was too late to pretend I didn’t see him and walk out, so I had to make a grand entrance. I put a smile on my face and went and gave him a big hug. He actually said, “Wow Bev, haven’t seen you in years. Wasn’t expecting you. Good to see you.” It was like I had run into him at a random bar. Thanks for the comforting words and letting me know I was accidentally invited! I had to sit there for an hour while his family interviewed me. I was mortified. It was like being on a bad first date. Unwelcoming questions, checking your watch to see if you stayed an acceptable amount of time, and just a feeling of discomfort that spreads through out your body. Finally after an hour I said I had to go to another birthday party and hugged him goodbye. His mother was so sweet and gave me a hug and went to give me a kiss on the cheek but got me smack on the lips instead. As if the situation wasn’t embarrassing enough. Red faced and in a hurry, I left the bar.
I grabbed a cab to go to the next event on my list and the driver actually looked into the rearview mirror and asked with concern, “Are you ok”? I was still trying to process what had just happened but mumbled, “Yeah. East Village please.” Onto the next circus.
I arrived at my destination and found myself surrounded by nameless bars in the hipster abyss of Alphabet City. Why was it so cool to have a bar that doesn’t put the name anywhere in sight? I walked back and forth down the block several times. I gave up and decided that the bar on the corner seemed the most likely to hold a party, so I walked in and everyone looked at me like I had 7 heads. When I stopped and took a look around I realized that I was crashing not only an engagement party but a toast the parents were giving to the happy couple. I apologized profusely, probably making it worse, and then ran out of the bar. I tried the tiny bar next door and of course that was where my friend’s party was. I saw someone I knew as I walked in and they said, “There you are! I saw you outside passing the bar like 10 times but then you disappeared.” Thanks for the heads up! It was really good to see her and my friend, the birthday girl, but she was bouncing around the bar making the rounds. I went to go to the bathroom and as I was crossing the bar, a group of girls entered and I was trapped. It turns out it was all the girls I went to camp with when I was younger. No one was rude but there also wasn’t a steady flow of conversation. After the “Hi! How are you’s” I had nothing to say. It was a lot of standing there saying “Yeah…so” and then dead silence until the other person would make up an excuse to get out of the situation. Why am I so terrible at small talk? I could have just said,”I have to go to the bathroom. It was good seeing you”, but no. I had to be the awkward person that just stands there. I finally got a hold of the birthday girl and got a chance to talk to her. Her new work friend cornered me and asked if I would go have a cigarette with her. I took this as my chance to bounce so I said yes. I said my goodbyes to the birthday girl and headed out with her coworker. I had no idea what I was getting myself into.
It was freezing outside. She was blowing smoke in my face as she began the story of her new found love affair with an orthodox Jewish colleague from Miami. I didn’t know this girl’s name but I did know that she was horny, scared of a commitment, and wanted advice on how to proceed. Before I could come up with some sort of answer she hugged me and asked if we could be best friends. I didn’t answer. As I stood there while this girl was hugging me to the point of suffocation, a drunk girl and her friends walk by and she says, “OMG! You guys are the cutest couple ever!”. And on that note I broke up the pow wow, got a cab, and headed home.
I was happy to be in the social scene again, but when I was MIA I didn’t have to deal with these weird people or awkward moments. No wonder I didn’t go out for so long. I wasn’t expecting to have the best night of my life but I also wasn’t expecting the most awkward one either. I guess when I come back, I really come back. I was a bit tipsy and decided to get Burger King as a consolation prize. I was scarfing down BK in the elevator when the door opened. I went to step out and slammed into my roommate and partner in sex who were trying to get in. There was just staring and a look of disgust on their faces. With a full mouth I said, “Excuse me”, pushed through them, and proudly walked towards my apartment. When I reached my door I couldn’t find my keys. Fuck! Obviously I locked them in the apartment. I attempted to break in using a credit card when my neighbor, with a disapproving look, found me drunk and struggling. My credit card broke in half and I wound up sleeping on my strange neighbor’s couch instead of swallowing my pride and calling my roommate. I had to listen to Enya the whole night and woke up to him and his boyfriend staring at me on the couch.
After the creepy wake up call I decided to try my luck at my apartment. I pounded on the door and a grumpy roommate opened the door and had the balls to tell me I was being rude! I was so tired and embarrassed from the past 24 hours that I just walked straight into my room, fell face first into bed, and slept for 8 hours.
I felt revived after my nap. But then the events from the day before began to replay in my head. I had a feeling of embarrassment in my gut that wouldn’t go away. I opened a drawer and found my fifth grade picture and it weirdly made me feel better. It was reassuring in the sense that if I could make it through that bout of awkwardness then I can recover from anything. It is surprising how time can heal all wounds and by the next morning I felt so much better.
But as sure as the sun rises, more awkward moments will come my way and I will think, “Holy shit. What is wrong with me?” But I will look back at that picture and reflect on my past embarrassing moments and realize it’s not that bad and I will come out even stronger.
In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I am thankful for my resilience and ability to make the best of awkward situations. And hey, they do make great stories. Until the next post!