Only embarrassment

It is only embarrassment. Ha. Easy for you to say. It was me, however, who endured Aparna’s and Nupur’s cruel giggles. We were 16. The age is considered to be ‘sweet’ for some strange reason.

The occasion was Aparna’s sister’s wedding. While I was getting dressed, I discovered to my horror that my favourite black velvet high-heel shoes had an issue. The left one had separated from its heel. But I had to wear them! So, I stuck the heel and the shoe together in what I thought was a 2-hour safe plan. The adhesive I used was a trusty thing called Quikfix. It didn’t last 30 minutes. They, the velvet killers, were sitting at the opposite end of the room, beside the marigold decorations, staring at my velvet dream and snorting (aka howling in resplendent, cruel delight). The witches.

What stays with me to this day is not the excruciating pain of seeing the left heel peeping askew from beneath the shoe, but the superlative excruciation of seeing those two idiots cackling at the sight of it. Blood rushed to my ears and cheeks. It felt hot. I had to get up and go. I got up. The nearly shoe-less heel knew nothing better than to wobble beneath my weight.Β  The crescendo of the Indian drums singing praises of the bride coincided with the now-peaked squirts of dolorous, heart-breakingly amused laughter. The last sounds I heard in that room were of my pride being slaughtered at the hands of those, arrgh, the names are too embarrassing for weak nerves. Let it rest.

The point is that embarrassments are never too minor. Ask the one at the receiving end. Ask yourself. Could you call that ballroom scuffle you had with your charming date ‘simply nothing’? When your feet experienced unexplainable magnetic attraction towards your partner’s left big toe each and every time you waltzed?

My sentiments exactly.

To do justice to our superior intellect, however, let us explore the possibilities of overcoming the urge to fall face down on to the murky waters (or whatever else is available, as long as it keeps theΒ  trauma of distressing feelings safely zip-locked) and hide. The importance of overcoming this urge is just one. To relieve yourself of the intense desire to smash the heads of your tormentors. You don’t want to go to jail, should your wishes be granted, do you?

So, what is the best way to overcome debilitating embarrassment?

I don’t know.

I’d say sock ’em on the face and walk out. But what if they are Mike Tyson and Batman?

Or, remove the cause of embarrassment. If you are a red leaf among the gold ones in a Christmas wreath, stop being red. Possible? Nah.

Or, stop feeling embarrassed.

Is it worth a thought? To not feel a deep sense of shame at a situation you have no control over? All right, agreed you allowed your shimmery dress to ride up to your waist at the posh party; every one was too embarrassed on your behalf to tell you; and you discover it only when The Queen is set to honour your (more respectful) doings. We will heartily laugh at your sad predicament. But you can choose to laugh, too! And learn the importance of smoothing out that shimmery dress.

22 thoughts on “Only embarrassment”

  1. What a wonderful post! Of course, I couldn’t help but think of my embarrassing moments. One of the great things about getting older is being able to laugh about your foibles and goofups. When you’re younger, an embarrassing mishap seems and feels so final, so terminal a result, so career-ending, or relationship-destroying. I laugh at myself a lot. I try not to laugh at others, though – they may not be as thick-skinned.

    1. Laughing at one’s own self is a good cure for a lot of ills, SDS! You have mastered something most others don’t even seem to notice missing in their lives. Congratulations!

  2. Embarrassing episodes leave us feeling mortified, and as you said, wanting to run and hide. In hindsight, they usually take on a more humorous and harmless aspect, maybe because we’ve survived the incident, and are probably the only person who even remembers it. Writing about these events in a way that brings both sets of feelings to life is challenging, but you’ve pulled it off perfectly with this post. I could feel your pain caused by the harsh laughter that comes only with finding yourself the victim of humiliation. I’ve contacted Mike Tyson and Batman, and they’re on their way to pay a visit to the velvet killers. Meanwhile, thank you, Priya, for another wonderfully-drawn glimpse into your life.

      1. Tyson may try to “sock ’em on the face,” but has been instructed to stay away from their ears. Batman will probably just lurk in the shadows; that’s what he does best. They’re both getting on in years, but I think they can still handle the velvet killers.

  3. Priya, I don’t know what it is about your posts, but they could act as blog-prompts. I just wish that whenever I get a blog prompt from them in my mind, that I’d actually do something about it and write a post!

    I remember lots of embarrassing situations and as both Charles and Snoring Dog Studios have said, as time goes by they seem more humorous. And do you know – if it hadn’t been for your embarrassing moment, you wouldn’t have had it to write about (little consolation, I know).

    Writing has a cathartic effect, don’t you find? As you write about it, so you exorcise it – or partially exorcise it.

    1. Humour is the best icing to hide away the dried-out cake, Val. While embarrassments may not exactly be dried-out cakes, they do need to be put at the farthest corner of the book shelf and displayed as trophies. Once in 10 years, maybe!

      Your pending post bulk is piling up! Hurry!

  4. The thing about embarrassing moments is that we ALL have them! I think they are more frequent and carry more weight when we are young. It seems like age spins mortification back on itself. I’ve done and said so many embarrassing things that by this stage, they roll off my back in waves of belly laughs. What else can i do?

    Fun post and great photos to include with it.

    1. “Age spins mortification back on itself”. I imagined that. And liked the look of it. “Take that, you mortifier!”, it seemed to be saying.


  5. My latest embarrassing moment came to me yesterday. Two hours after I arrived at work, I finally made a restroom stop. As I was (sorry about the imagery) seated on the toilet, I looked down and realized I could see the bathroom tile through a 6-inch slit in the seat of my pants. Not sure how I didn’t see that when I put them on that morning. Anyway, I managed to sneak back to my cubicle where I had a pair of sweatpants and changed quickly. I didn’t bother to make up a story. It was too good not to share! I think I Iaughed more than my coworkers.

    1. You are a scream, SDS. I’d have put a brown-paper bag over my head for the next 2 weeks! Or maybe not. Wearing sweatpants to office is a special pleasure, no?

  6. oh boy those moments… I think teenage embarrassing moments are the most painful, and we never forget them, but I wonder whether the two cacklers at the wedding still remember that your shoe broke?

    1. You are right, Rosie. Nupur and Aparna will not remember it. They probably didn’t remember it two years from then. It is me who will never forget it, perhaps. I should’ve “socked ’em on the face”, I think. That way all of us would remember it with a certain pain. Regardless of the variety! πŸ˜‰

  7. Priya, nice and thoughtful idea for a post.. What would I do in the face of an embarrassment.. ? I think if I was 16 like you were then, I would have most certainly had the same feelings as you did.. That is a given I guess, right?! And as we grow “up”, we probably become more tolerant or gentle giants – that is if we consider the other party younger or immature.. But, if a peer is sneery and hurtful, I stay away – drama doesn’t go well with my well being.. πŸ˜‰ But the socking part, I itch very much on giving it to someone once in a while, but eventually walk away, hoping the other party will “realise” their mistake and understand what I had gone through because of their thoughtless remarks.. Of course, that has never happened as far as I know! πŸ™‚

    1. You seem to be doing just what is required! I, on the other hand, either revel in the fantasies of the socking, or sulk. Not good, eh?

  8. My tender teen moment was when a friend was teaching me to drive. I froze at doing a left turn at a stop sign – on to a busy street. I tried several times and stalled. So I jumped out of the car and ran! My friends never let me live that down. Ugh!

    1. It’s amazing how friends can turn into mindless freaks when it comes to reminding us of things we wish to forget. But then that right is given only to friends! Hope your left turns are unscarred after the traumatic experience. πŸ™‚

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