Thursday, February 21, 2013

Filling the silence with awkward statements

I have often made inappropriate comments when I feel socially awkward, just to fill the silence. It's ironic considering that I actually speak for a living and feel very comfortable speaking in front of lots of people, off the cuff.

It actually happens mostly in smaller social settings, and I don't even usually know I am doing it until after I am staring into the face of someone that I have just made really uncomfortable.  Usually, I am trying to be funny, hoping that humor will break the ice or make the other people in the room like me more.  (Pitiful, I know...but sometimes, it works for me...)

One of those moments happened when my husband and I had only been dating for a few months.  We went to a Christmas party of a coworker, and I wanted to be one of the "cool kids".  I made special cookies and brought them with me.  Apparently, in my haste to get out of the house, I hadn't noticed the glob of peanut butter that made its way into my hair.

To my horror, the errant glob of peanut butter lodged in my hair was one of the first things that the hostess noticed when I walked into the party.  It didn't help matters that I had carried in a plate of cookies that were in the shape of balls.  (I'll let you conjure your own inappropriate comment about that aspect of the evening.)   Instead of politely placing the cookies on the counter and excusing myself to the bathroom to address the glob situation, I loudly said to everyone in the room:

"It's not the worst thing I have ever had in my hair." 

I thought I was being funny!  Mission unaccomplished.  There was a big pause of awkward silence, until someone far more graceful than I am changed the subject, took the cookies from me and guided me into the kitchen to get a beverage.  S was horrified, and has repeatedly used that as an example of a how NOT to act when we are in a new social setting.

Today, I ended up in one of those awkward social situations again.

While I was in a ladies' locker room.

Mostly naked.

S bought me a fabulous spa day for Valentine's Day - massage, facial, and a mani/pedi! - and I was in the ladies' locker room changing into the spa's robe and putting my clothes and purse in a locker.  A woman approached a locker two doors down from mine.  We exchanged awkward smiles and then, she sighed.

Lady:  I have been here all day.

Me:  Lucky you.  I am just getting started with my day.  My husband got me this as a Valentine's Day present!

Lady:  Me too.

Me:  That's exciting!

Lady:  (rustling around in her locker, head buried looking for something) Yeah - I guess.  I think it's kind of weird.

Me:  What?  Why?  I have never had anything like this ever, and I am so excited.

Lady:  Well, we are in the middle of a divorce.

{giant awkward pause while she made extremely awkward eye contact}

Me:  At least it's a really nice parting gift? 

{She walked away.}

Anyone else guilty of doing this?  

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