Not that there’s anything wrong with that …

So, you know what I thought would be fun as we head into the weekend? (Well, fun for you, anyway; excruciatingly painful for me.) How ’bout if I start a new category dubbed “Embarrassing” (not to be confused with Buffoonery), in which I shall regale you with tales of some of the most embarrassing moments of my entire life? How’s that sound? Good? OK, super!

Why would I do such a thing? Well, most obviously, it gives me something—plenty of things, actually—to write about without having to hope for some kind of daily fiasco to pop up and give me fodder for my next entry; and, secondly, I think it is possible that I may actually find catharsis in airing out these embarrassing moments for all of the Internet. Why should I cringe alone when I can have you all cringing with me?

Now, the only hard part is figuring out just which embarrassing moment I should write about first. Hmmm … well, there’s my entire adolescence … and most of the sexual experiences I had during my late teens and early 20s (meaning, you know, like, those three times) … oh, wait, here’s a good one:

Throughout college, I worked as a bartender at a couple of restaurants on the North Shore. Early on in my bartending years, I learned firsthand that gay men—several of whom I worked with, and some of whom became good friends of mine—are actually just regular human beings whose sexual orientation, it turns out, has absolutely no bearing whatsoever on my life, or the life of the traditional American family. Go figure.

During my subsequent post-homophobic life, I was very comfortable joking with some of my gay co-workers about any number of things, to include their incidental gayness.

The year is 1996 and I am a senior in college. While having one such light-hearted conversation, Michael, one of my gay co-workers, informs me that I am not his type. He is not the first gay acquaintance to tell me this. (For those of you who have not had a gay acquaintance tell you that you’re not their type, it makes for a strange internal dialogue … something like, “Well, it’s probably for the best that he’s not attracted to me, since I am not gay, but, still … what’s wrong with me, huh? I’m a good-enough looking guy, aren’t I? And funny? Hell, I’m a laugh riot. What’s not to like? Why doesn’t he want me??”).

Fast forward to later that evening. An off-duty, female co-worker is standing across the bar from me, and we are having a conversation about something or other. During the course of this conversation, it comes up that Michael had told me earlier that I wasn’t his type. It is at this point in the conversation that I turn to Ricky [not his real name], another co-worker whom I had known for quite some time, and say to him, “Ricky, you’re a member of the gay community; I don’t get it. Why do gay men not find me attractive?”

Ricky reacts by looking slightly offended, and says to me …

[Jesus Christ, I want to crawl under my desk right now.]

Ricky says to me … [*gulp*]: “I didn’t know I was a member of the gay community.

Umm … AWK-WARD.

I have known Ricky for a few years at this point, and, up until this very moment, I was sure that he was an openly gay man—and, in my defense (if it can even be considered one, which I’m pretty sure it can not), a very effeminate and mildly flamboyant one, at that. However, in the split second that it takes for all of the blood in my face to drain into my feet, I am able to flip through my entire mental notebook, and nowhere in it can I find a single instance during which Ricky has specifically said he is gay.

I experience mental vapor lock. My mind cannot locate even a hint of a handhold onto which I might grab and save myself from plummeting into an abyss of embarrassment so ink-black and horrifically deep that I may never get out.

I say nothing. I turn and look at my female co-worker. Her expression is a combination of profound discomfort at the position in which I’ve placed her, and stunned amazement at the enormity of the gaffe I have just made.

I am certain that I am about to wake up in my bed with my heart pounding, and I will then be able to say to myself, “Holy shit! Thank god that was just a dream! Can you even imagine doing something that embarrassing? Whew.”

Except—fuck—I am awake. Oh no.

Ricky—whose shift is over and who had been just about to leave the building (if only he had left 10 seconds earlier!)—bids us goodnight and departs. I excuse myself from my female co-worker, walk into the kitchen, out the side door, and run into the parking lot, where I catch Ricky just before he backs his car out and leaves. He rolls down his window.

“Ricky, I’m really sorry. I didn’t mean to—”

“It’s OK,” he says.

“Seriously, I’m really sorry, I just thought—”

“Don’t worry about it,” he says and heads home. Never again do we speak about this incident.

Now, let us return to the present, and allow me to ask you: do I have game, or what? I mean, that, boys and girls, is embarrassing. Frankly, I don’t know if I can top that one, so I hope I haven’t set your expectations too high for future installments.

Incidentally, I’m not sure the whole catharsis thing is gonna work out; I have so viscerally relived that incident by writing about it here that I feel like it just happened. Hopefully, there’ll be some kind of purging effect in a short while … one that doesn’t involve me vomiting from the intensity of the embarrassment brought on by that memory.

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25 Comments

  1. Susan
    Posted August 22, 2008 at 11:53 am | Permalink

    ooooh

  2. Posted August 22, 2008 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

    I was with you through the introduction, and even thought “hey, that’s not a bad idea for my blog”. Then I read the rest of it. I was sufficiently embarrassed by your moment, that I no longer feel any desire to reveal my own (though much less embarrassing) worst moments.

  3. Posted August 22, 2008 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

    I think I just woke everyone in the whole house up laughing, Wow! If that were me I think I would have melted…

  4. stephanie
    Posted August 22, 2008 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

    Woooops.

    Hey look at it THIS way. Maybe he really was gay and had not come out yet. You may have been the push he needed!

  5. Posted August 22, 2008 at 10:47 pm | Permalink

    TRL: Thank you. I’m strangely complimented that this story elicited such a high level of embarrassment from you. Just imagine living it.

    Kelsey: Very happy I gave you such a good laugh. Almost makes the whole experience worth it … almost.

    Stephanie: I might just let myself believe this. “What a heroic thing I did.” Yeah, that feels better.

  6. Lisa
    Posted August 23, 2008 at 12:55 am | Permalink

    Wow, that was so funny. That’s like where you never ASSUME a woman is pregnant, unless it’s clear she’s going into labor at that moment. And even then …. (I speak from experience)

  7. Posted August 23, 2008 at 7:11 am | Permalink

    Lisa: Good point. You should go into further detail about the experience you had, tho! ;)

  8. Christin
    Posted March 10, 2009 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

    I almost choked laughing so hard at this. Oh god. So funny, so very funny. But you already knew that didn’t you? ;)

  9. Posted June 11, 2009 at 6:13 pm | Permalink

    I did something similar in college. Quite embarrassing! I had a particular friend who was very openly gay, and a friend who, like Ricky, seemed like he was, too. Unfortunately, when I informed the latter that the former thought he was cute, the response I got was, “What? You think I’m gay?” *insert nervous laughter here*

  10. Posted June 14, 2009 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

    Possibly too little, too late, but as a gay male, I think you’re quite the hottie.

  11. Tom
    Posted September 5, 2009 at 7:55 am | Permalink

    I just read this post and I Wonder if I know this Ricky. I went to high school just outside Philly and knew a guy everyone thought was gay. I don’t know for sure to this day if he is or not but I knew him as Ricky. His real name is……

  12. Posted September 11, 2009 at 6:03 pm | Permalink

    ouch, I have done similar except it was …when is your baby due…their answer…Pregnant?

    xx
    .-= Vodka Logic´s last blog ..Let’s Remember =-.

  13. haleysmomma
    Posted September 29, 2009 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

    Hilarious…for me, anyway!

    I had a similar situation….I was living in Mesa, AZ going to a small technical school to become a dental assistant. Well, while I was in school, my husband had an offer for a job in Salt Lake City. I was explaining to my classmates about our possibility of moving to Utah and all of the problems of moving away while in the middle of semester at school.

    Then, it happened, I continued talking….out of nowhere, these words leave my mouth “not to mention, all of THE MORMONS thal live in SLC, I mean, I’m not a MORMON…I don’t think we’ll fit in”.

    Where did this come from? Do I have anything against MOROMONS??? NO!! Why would I say such a thing? As if MORMONS are some sort of aliens!!

    Then, to my horror, I am literally IN A ROOM FULL OF MORMONS!!! I kid you not….did I mention Mesa is the Mormon capitol of AZ???? Very, awkward. If backpedalling were an Olympic event I would have received all three medals that day.

    Sheesh….I really don’t know why I said it. If only I could learn when to shut up…..

  14. Posted October 20, 2009 at 7:04 pm | Permalink

    I feel your pain. But in my line of work, this is nothing. It is an unusual day indeed that I am not opening mouth, inserting foot.
    Nice blog, btw.

  15. Posted March 2, 2010 at 11:29 am | Permalink

    This stuff is a damn riot. First time reader, and will be returning. I even had to send this one on to my mom. Hil-effing-arious.

  16. Posted September 16, 2010 at 6:34 pm | Permalink

    He should’ve whipped your ass.
    muskrat´s most recent blog post: the modern media muskrat summitMy Profile

  17. Posted September 21, 2010 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

    Holy Krep! That’s effin’ hilarious. It sounds like something I would do. I think confusing a straight-guy to be gay is the equivalent of the whole “When is the baby due?” comment to a non-pregnant female. Which I have said. Twice.
    Tom G.´s most recent blog post: The Girl Next DoorMy Profile

  18. Posted October 25, 2010 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

    Please forgive me for commenting on a post that is well over 2 years old. BUT I have had a similar experience and your post brought it all FLOODING back to me. And now I have to share it with you. (You are SO LUCKY!)

    I was a member of a brass ensemble during college and we were performing at some Valentine’s Day themed event at school. We had a rehearsal with several of the other ensembles (jazz, wind quartet, etc) and so a bunch of members of different groups were all sitting around while other groups practiced. I was standing with my fiance (soon to be forever known as my ex, Butthead, but that’s a totally different story) and a trombonist who played with my fiance in the jazz band and with me in the brass ensemble. Somehow, during the course of our conversation, I revealed to him (why, I do not know) that I had always thought he was gay. And he assured me he was not. And then made to toss me over his shoulder so as to “prove it to me.”

    Yeah. I’ve come to the conclusion that sexual orientation is much like pregnancy. If you are not TOLD that someone is gay or pregnant and you haven’t seen actual evidence of same, DO NOT SAY ANYTHING ABOUT IT.
    Erin´s most recent blog post: On Being NormalMy Profile

  19. Posted January 5, 2011 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

    Funny story: the last guy I mistakenly thought was gay …
    and actually tried to set up with a (male) administrative assistant
    who actually *is* gay … is now my husband. Freaky, no? Guess he
    didn’t mind too much. He said everybody thinks he’s gay because he
    put up curtains in his office. (I know, I know.)
    Catherine´s most recent blog post: Learning to ride a bikeMy Profile

  20. Posted January 11, 2011 at 8:40 am | Permalink

    As much as I hate to admit it, I feel your pain! During my late teenage years I worked retail, where admittedly most of the guys I worked with were of the homosexual persuasion. There was one who was arguably the most flamboyant of the bunch, and one night while we were working on the stores inventory, I asked him something to the effect of whether or not he thought the new guy was cute and if he was going to “hit that”. He stopped what he was doing, took a breath and said “I’m not gay, why would you think I’m gay?”. I, of course, couldn’t respond because my foot was lodged so far in my mouth I was nearly choking on it.

    More recently (as in two and a half weeks ago), I asked a Jewish man if he was “ready for Christmas?”.

    I wonder if I’ll ever learn?
    Loonybin´s most recent blog post: Im Pretty Sure Im Being Haunted By A Ghost Who Wants To Steal My IdentityMy Profile

  21. Posted January 16, 2011 at 5:22 pm | Permalink

    Oh, my, this made me laugh so hard that I cried. Today was my first visit to your blog. You can bet I’ll be back.
    Renee´s most recent blog post: Soul Excavation and Book TherapyMy Profile

  22. Posted January 3, 2012 at 7:08 pm | Permalink

    Hahahahah. I was guessing that you had asked a woman “when’s the baby due” and she wasn’t pregnant. But nope, that’s definitely worse.
    Mayor Gia´s most recent blog post: About That Tablet…My Profile

  23. Posted February 1, 2012 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

    I had the opposite – went to a conservative college where homosexuality was frowned upon, so anyone who may have wanted to come out DEFINITELY didn’t. Of course, some people we all assumed… but they truly could not admit it, so we’ll never know.

    …and you’re right, as a straight person, it’s still very flattering to be hit on, even by someone of the same sex!

    (first visit, definitely will return!)
    red´s most recent blog post: Time to Celebrate! (hint: it’s ALWAYS time to celebrate)My Profile

  24. shiroijin
    Posted April 6, 2012 at 7:11 pm | Permalink

    I used to be exceptionally good at talking too much – no filter between my brain and mouth (I’m better now) so I have too many idiot moments to recall – but the one that comes to my mind is the one time it wasn’t me who said something stupid.

    I was in the checkout line at the grocery store and the woman asked when my baby was due. Keep in mind I was in ok shape at the time but because of the bitter cold was wearing, apparently, too many layers. I blurted out, “I was just going to ask you the same thing!” She, not looking any more pregnant than me, was quite offended and said, “I’M NOT PREGNANT!.” I said “(confused face) Oh you’re not? (pause for dramatic effect) Neither am I.” For the first time in my life I had a comeback that wasn’t 3 hours late so I remember it well – I was the butt and the hero (in my own mind) of my story. Of course, after this incident, my quick mind collapsed in on itself and I’ve never been witty again.

    P.S. Now on hour 4 of your blog…the links are killing me! ;0)

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