Dear Confessional,

I am a magnet. Seriously, if there’s an embarrassing moment or clumsy situation to happen, I may just be that person. Thankfully, as an adult, I have finally grown enough confidence to no longer get embarrassed that easily. I can embrace my imperfections like a champ and will probably bust out with a few jokes along the way to make it more fun. I am that person.

However, those grey areas—somewhere between laughter and cringing that are tricker to navigate—are those awkward moments. You know, those subtle and delicate situations where you carefully tiptoe on eggshells between totally weird and definitely insulting. People normally don’t talk about it or bring it up unless with a trusted friend or partner. That’s why I’ve decided to open up these awkward moments for your relating, laughter, and communication.

Enjoy knowing that you’re not the only one with this entertaining top 10 list of most awkward scenarios.

1.  Dentist Dilemmas

Handy Helpers: During a visit, have you ever noticed that your hands are the most disturbing appendage? Yes, the dental appointment can feel uncomfortable and sometimes painful, but what do you do with your hands? Do they lay on both sides of your legs like a corpse? Do they get folded over your stomach like you’re faking being relaxed, resting, or getting a facial? Do your hands hold each other for a loving grasp, lean to each other for comforting, or offer a more corporate and purposeful look?

Eye Sore: Also, what do you look at during an appointment? Do you look around the room? Are you staring into the dentist’s eyes without being weird, until you realize that those goggles are reflective and you can actually see what’s happening in your mouth? Before you get creeped out, do you close your eyes to shut it all out?

2.  Dine & Whine

You just sat down at a fancy reception or evening out among new friends. You set your linen down on your lap and do your best to show proper manners. The appetizer arrives and you’re starving, and so you take a generous bite. Mid-chew, it hits you. You freeze—completely horrified at what has just invaded your sorry palette, but you try not to let it show. With a nervous smile, sheer panic sets in. Just plain nasty, and you know you’re totally screwed, scrambling where to spit it out. What do you do? Do you chew? Swallow it whole? Gracefully spit into your linen and hide it somewhere? Excuse yourself to the bathroom trying to hide that lump in your cheek? Total panic.

3.  Toot Toot

Ok, I am a lady, BUT someone’s got to shed light (or spray some air freshener) on this questionable situation. Have you ever been mid-isle in a store or a public place that is completely quiet and then get that really uncomfortable cramp that tells you something is about to happen? You know, you toy with the idea of slowly relieving some hot air, so that nobody is the wiser? But what happens when it erupts in a gastrous explosion? Do you fake being surprised by it? Do you laugh out loud at yourself even though others are watching? Do you apologize to the horrified witnesses and quickly creep away? What if you can’t quickly walk away and don’t have a baby to fake blame a dirty diaper? Do you pretend it never happened? Yep. Busted.

4.  Non-Pregnancy Pointing

Whether you have children or not, many have experienced this unfortunate baby blunder. Empathize with a woman about her pregnancy by asking how much longer until the baby arrives—only to learn that she’s NOT pregnant or already had the baby. How about your child pointing to a MAN or an overweight woman and then loudly asking if that person has a baby inside. Just awful for both sides. What to do—apologize profusely? Dare to explain your rationale? Slowly walk away? Offer an apologetic half-smile and silently part ways?

5.  Small Talk Torture

I understand that doctors of all kinds try and build rapport with their patients by engaging in some sort of small talk before and during a procedure. However, timing is everything… and sometimes it’s just down right wrong. For instance, I personally have a hard time answering parenting questions with a sharp and pointy scraper tool scratching around my teeth and excruciatingly stabbing my gums—not to mention that little spit sucker tool making weird noises every time you try and get a word out. Sorry doc, just not in a chatty mood. Let’s not forget the dreaded gyno appointment where doctors like to ask you about college, your profession, or Summer plans while high-fiving your uterus. Sorry if I seem to have a loss for words during that friendly convo, but I’m more concerned about what to stare at on the ceiling to avoid losing it. Let’s talk later, mmK?!

6.  Beware of the Stare

Big zits are no fun, and most of us have experienced “the one” that will linger long enough for you to have no clue what to do about it. Whether you’re that unlucky person feeling like wearing a paper bag over your head, wearing layers upon layers of makeup that will never work, or feel like this North Star will smack any passerby in the face with its obvious presence, I’m just plain sorry. I’ve been there many times too. But, have you ever been on the other side of this sorry fence? You try and look away, but you just can’t. There’s some kind of magnetic force that will not allow your eyes to stop staring, as if it will disappear if you stare at it harder. Do you look away? Stare between the eyes only?

7.  Teeth Food

It’s that moment when you come across someone and that big blob of food is just wedged in between those big front teeth, glued mid-cheek, or pitifully splattered all over the unsuspecting person’s chin. You are now put to the test. Do you tell? Pretend it’s not there? Be a kind societal samaritan and let that person know?

8.  Language Barriers

When communicating with a foreigner, have you ever struggled so hard to understand the person through his/her thick accent? After about the third time of asking the person to repeat, it’s now obvious that either you’re just plain stupid or have no clue what he/she is saying. When cutting the convo short is unsuccessful, and faking the conversation with a standard smile and nod are no longer appropriate, what do you do? Sometimes I find myself uncontrollably squinting, as if seeing better will help me to understand what’s happening out of his/her mouth.

9.  Spread ‘Em

Sorry women, but I have to go there. Gynaecology visits. As necessary as they may be—and even after having four children myself—they are supreme queen of awkwardness. I have lived in a country where I was asked to strip down, completely nude, and then only handed a small square of paper towel to “cover” if I needed. This scenario was absolutely awful enough, coupled with the dreaded stirrups. Let me make it clear that I not only speak for myself in that this seating arrangement and device that feels like a car-jack in your special parts will neverallow me to “relax” as the doctor pleads, sorry. Not happening.

10. Stink, Stank, Hello

Even if we don’t talk about it, it’s there and it lingers. You took your time in the only toilet at a restaurant, and made a hefty deposit. Someone has been waiting outside that door for quite a while, and you know what they’re in for. Do you smile upon your exit? Do you look at him/her in the eye? Do you fake blame it on the person before you with that bewildered expression? Do you offer you’re most concerned look as a subtle apology for having to follow your legacy? “Sorry dude for the doodie?”

Just. Plain. Awkward.

I certainly know I’m not the only one, so please feel free to lend your most awkward scenarios or your thoughts on how to handle these most unpleasant situations.

with Love,

Ruthi

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