Thursday, 15 October 2009

I'll show you mine, if you show me yours

I've been pondering if I should share with my dear readers one of my most embarrassing memories. I like being honest on my blog because I like reading other honest blogs. Only, I'm not sure what can be achieved by sharing this particular memory. It's cringeworthy, but not all that funny. I think. Of course, I'm still embarrassed, so I'm not sure if I'm the best judge. The benefit of a warts-and-all blog is of course that we can all see that behind closed doors most people are just as clueless as us. (You are, right? Tell me you are.) They make mistakes and relay them so that we can relax about ours. That thought is not helping me so much just now.

Now I'm talking embarrassing. The kind where it's now eleven years later and I still blush when I think about it in the privacy of my own car (that happened today). I'm not talking worth-a-giggle like the time I was waiting to sing mass with my college choir, went up to a priest and asked him if it was a special day because he was wearing purple, and he said "No, I'm the Archbishop of York." That was only mildly embarrassing. And I'm not talking funny-in-restrospect like the time I had explosive diarrhea in the echoing downstairs bathroom the first time I met my in-laws. I'm talking, well, see for yourself...

I was twenty-one. I was studying philosophy at a certain Scottish University (I would say which, but I don't want to embarrass the other party as well). I'd been there a few months, but I was having trouble settling in, and I was very keen to make a good impression on the other students. We were studying Hegel's Phenomenology in a very small class. I think there were only five other students, so we were all sitting in a very small circle around the lecturer. Before the lecture, he started to tell us a little story. Now anyone who has ever read Hegel will understand that this was a very welcome diversion. The more stories, the better.

So there we were, all listening intently... to the lecturer explaining that later that day he was going in for a vasectomy. Talk about awkward. He elaborated a little - the details have been erased from my memory but it was either about his fears or about the physical process, or both - after which he seemed to expect us to say something to him as well. All I could say (and to this day, I don't know why) was: "My parents know a guy who is a contratenor, and when he meets people, he introduces himself with his very high voice as "[Name], four children"", neatly highlighting his imminent admission to the brotherhood of men of questionable virility. A very long and embarrassed pause followed. Very long. Very very very long. And then we started to read Hegel.

So - would you like a go? I'd like to say it was cathartic, but it's mainly embarrassing all over again.


  1. Doesn't seem to me that you gave an inappropriate response. Why was lecturer talking about his VASECTOMY anyway? I know nothing about Hegel, or philosophy in general, but sheesh!

    And yes, I am totally clueless.

  2. You're right. I'm embarassed for you.
    Truth be told all I was thinking was Hegel? Philosphy? Vasectomy? Eh?
    How about the time my dad went on a tour of Japan with UB40 (I know I know, I dropped a name back there, but he was/is a sound engineer) back in the early 90s and it was seen as this real breaking down barriers show and opening new gateways etc etc. And my dad gets off the plane to this big group of Japanese dignitaries greeting them all and is a bit shy and embarassed and says: "Bit nippy here this morning isn't it?"

  3. Am sure you and many readers can relate to this one: I asked the mother of one my youngest's friends when was baby no.2 due. It wasn't. Oops.
    As if that wasn't bad enough, I managed to forget this whole episode and then ask her AGAIN about a month later if she was expecting.
    In a fabulous jolly hockey-sticks voice she answered, "Oh no, I'm just fat."

    To my credit though I did stop another mummy friend just in time from asking the same question of her last week.

  4. My blog is riddled with embarrassing stories. Seriously. It's pretty much all I write about.

  5. @michelle - Yes, obviously he started it. And thank you for being co-clueless.

    @Tara - Ouch. For your dad.

    @London City Mum - Someone asked me that once when I'd been pregnant for about five minutes, so I was glad to be able to say "Yes, but what you see is all gas."

    @Badass Geek - You are right. And I'm most grateful to you for that.

  6. I posted one a while back, also while studying philosophy in college, late at night with a group of friends, guys and girls. We'd been smoking cigarettes, drinking lots of digestive system wasn't very happy as evidenced by the loudest fart anyone ever heard, performed by me, while sitting on a plastic chair. It shook the room, I swear. Oh, I'm blushing thinking about it.

  7. I love your story. But no, I will not here nor ever discuss my most embarrassing moment. Ever.

  8. That was like reading a foriegn language but every once and a while I recognized a word - Vasectomy. ;)

  9. I'm going to spare the boring details, but my embarrassing story was when I was telling a friend my embarrassing story - "... and you'll never guess what I said, but it was sooooo embarrassing because he was..." - and then stumbled to a halt, because I realised that the person I was telling the story to, was also the person IN the story. It was a horrible moment. Like looking in two opposing mirrors, and reliving it endlessly...

    I'm feeling terrible just typing this.

    But why on earth did he feel the need to discuss his vasectomy with you all? Weird.

  10. you gals are hilarious!! Nippy!!! I was rolling. Love the stories. We should all do a round. Comedy loves company too...

    Funny about the preg question too... I was asked that back in the Army days, since I have D size boobs and size 10 pants, those uniforms were NOT becoming at ALL and some poor gal felt like crap when I showed her my flat stomach under that umbrella of a BDU top.

    keep 'em coming! more stories!!

  11. @Cristin - Ah! So you know exactly what I meant, because mine was like a metaphorical fart in a philosophy class.

    @Ms. Moon - Fair enough. It's cathartic, though - honest!

    @Erin - Damn - did I do it in Dutch?

    @Iota - Ouch. That is horrible.

    @Laura Lee - The age-old pregnancy question. It's a horrible one, and I have learned the hard way not to ask.

    Once, I couldn't help myself. It was a colleague, and I'd been sure for a month. So I asked her straight out, and she said no! I apologised half-heartedly, but thought to myself "whatever, lady". And, sure enough - the week after she "announced" that she was SIX months pregnant. Some people!

  12. Oh so many memories...

    Like the time I met my boyfriend's family for the first time, his dad telling a joke over dinner that made me laugh and spray an entire mouthful of water of his little sister...

    ...or the time when I had just started working at school and told off a 'boy' for being in the girl's loos - when actually it was a rather gruff, butch looking girl...

    There are more, BUT! I am busy blocking them out of my memeory and writing them down would undo all my good forgetting work.

  13. @Josie - Thank you! And ouch. That just brought back the time when I tipsily exclaimed at my father-in-law that I'm good at sex. In the context, it wasn't as bad as that, but still pretty cringeworthy.

  14. Bushido says: 'Calmness of behaviour, composure of mind should not be disturbed by passion of any kind.' This my maxim. Tut tut tut, all you naughties!

  15. You should always post embarassing stuff! Just follow my lead! I have no shame.

  16. Ah Hegal, yes that would have been a nice distraction indeed.


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