4 Awkward Situations That Always Make You Look Like a Dick
The absolute worst situations we can find ourselves in (aside from those occasions when wild animals try to feast upon our faces or a morning of burning urination lets us know it's time to head back to the clinic) are the times when our own actions make us feel like complete assheads. But the sad fact is that sometimes you get yourself in a position where all you can do is back away slowly while shame and awfulness are showered upon you because you know that if you keep going forward it will be even worse. In some circles they call this being caught between a rock and a hard place. In smaller circles it's called Curly's Lament, but I don't have time to get into that. Either way, you end up feeling like a dick. Onward, good reader!
Avoiding a Man Date
I'd never experienced how awful this is until just recently, and I'm still coming to terms with my creepy feelings on the matter. For anonymity's sake, we'll say a fellow by the name of A. Tod Brown apparently wants to be my friend. Now, right here I need to stop and invite you all to shake your head with me. When's the last time you, as an adult, legitimately wanted to make a new friend? Not when did you make a friend, because that shit happens organically, and that's exactly how it's supposed to happen. You work with this dude who also thinks it's hilarious when the secretary forgets her meds and wears her bra outside her clothes and you bond over that and end up going out for beers some evening after work. Friendship! You do not schedule play dates.
Despite how obvious it is that a man should never ask another man on a date when neither man is gay, I guess this sort of thing happens. And the very unnaturalness of it made me not want to partake at all. That dude could have been taking me out for steaks and beers and rides in limos full of boobs and more steaks and beers and it doesn't matter. It doesn't matter because I was approached in the most blunt-force-trauma-to-the-face manner possible. I was literally asked if I wanted to go out some time. I am not Molly Ringwald. You do not ask such things of me. Of anyone. It's not done.
"If we stand just right, we can use the same urinal."
The sad part of this is that, as I said, this didn't seem sexual in any way. I don't think I was part of a secret bum-sex plot. I think I was legitimately invited out to have a beer in a friendly way, and that's why it's so dickish to write a terrified article like this after the fact. It was uncomfortable and weird, and weaseling out of it made me feel bad. Barring major pathological issues or some kind of real (which is to say not self-diagnosed) Asperger's situation, most people feel bad when they let someone else down, especially if that letdown is based entirely on your own laziness and the fact that you just can't be arsed to give a damn.
I can't say if this situation is any easier for ladyfolk -- women seem to be able to socialize easier than men. They go to the bathroom together, for God's sake. I don't want to shit as part of a team, but that's just me. However, I feel it should be a universal standard that, if you desire a friendship, you let it happen on its own, rather than ask for it. That's like asking a woman you just met for sex. It seems like a good idea if you're new to reality, but in practice, your failure rate is just going to be off the charts.
Rejecting Free Stuff
I had the fortune to be born into the black sheep part of my family, so while all my relatives were living in big fatty houses and going on yearly vacations to exotic places and driving fancy cars, my family lived in what people in Third World countries would consider a sort of roomy stink shed. We went on vacations to places like "in town" and "just outside of town," and I had my fair share of knockoff Spam sandwiches for lunch at school. Because real Spam was for people who tried too hard.
Anyway, despite our abject poverty, we were at least "real" people, in the sense that we lived in this world, while my aunts and uncles had lawn jockeys and pronounced words like "taco" as "take-o" because if there was a novel way for them to be obnoxious and out of touch, they were all over it like stink on a monkey, which they likely referred to as a grippy-fingered jungle squirrel.
Every so often, because charitable causes are trendy, the extended family would stop by with boxes or bags of used-up high society trash and/or shit Grandpa had in the basement. And the wind would pick up as they knocked on the door, as though the world were sighing, "Oh, for fuck's sake."
They'd bring things like moth-balled sweaters that were two sizes too big or too small, pink toilet paper rolls, expired couscous, and 10-watt light bulbs for specialty lamps. I can't actually think of a time when they brought over something useful, in any way, to anyone.
Thinking of you!
Any time in your life when someone goes out of their way to give you something, part of you feels a degree of appreciation and gratitude. They didn't have to do it, it's a gesture (arguably) from the heart, and it's meant as a kindness. So when the free thing they offer you is a staggering piece of shit on a shingle, it creates a moral quandary. Do you take it to be nice? Or do you say no? I opted one day to say no.
Politely turning down someone's charity, especially when it's someone you just know feels they're really helping you out and inconveniencing themselves by offering it, is a lot like one of those naked dreams they talk about in movies, only imagine in this dream you're naked and you realize that your entire naked body is just some kind of hot power-tool-accident mess of a thing compared to everyone else's, so the entire room is just staring at you in slack-jawed amazement that you're saddled with such a lumpy, deformed Rocky Dennis gong show of a body all day, every day. It's that level of awkward humiliation when you opt to turn down a handout. On the upside, at least with my family, it ensures that they never try it again, although they will remind you of how much of an ingrate you are for the rest of your life, so that's something.
Observing Other People's Rituals
The worst part of most new relationships, barring the discovery of a history of murdering people on the third date, is meeting the family. Few people seem to set up their family in a nice way. Are you out there, people? Do you ever tell anyone you're dating that they're going to love your family? Like, all of your family? That's never happened to me. The best I ever got was "My grandma is on pills that make her really horny, so keep an eye out." In general, someone else's family is always weird and creepy, and even if 90 percent of them welcome you as one of their own, there's always that one cock wrangler who has to give you a hard time -- usually a dad or a grandfather.
Because you want to fit in with these people, you're probably willing to put up with all kinds of bizarre new shit when you hang out with them. Like you're having dinner and, for whatever reason, they make their mashed potatoes with peas in it. Well, that's wrong on a basic level, but what the hell, you go with it. Or maybe they like to go around the table and everyone expresses what they're thankful for that day and they decide to let you start because you're the guest and they want to pretend like they seriously have no understanding of how weird it is to be put on the spot like that. Fun!
"And that's the story of my first erection. Now who wants turkey?"
Eventually, though, and this will usually happen during an extended stay, like Christmas holidays, you're going to hit a problem to which you have trouble acclimating. They sing in rounds on road trips. They're snake handlers and invite you to church. After dinner, the pants come off. Something like that.
Has this happened to everyone? Probably not. But when it does happen, if it happens, it's just the worst. In my experience, it was religion-based and uncomfortable on a spiritual level, which is a whole new kind of discomfort. Being a non-religious type, I'll happily wait quietly if your family prays before dinner, and I'll sit in your church on Sunday morning if I really, really like you for some reason, but please don't make me partake in your rituals. You go ahead and eat the body of your god if that's how your weekend plays out, I just want to sit on the back-misaligning wooden bench and read over the plan for this week's service again to see how long until I get to leave.
The moment you turn down the love of Christ in a room full of Christians who don't know you, you may as well be Jack Nicholson in The Witches of Eastwick and start barfing cherries across the congregation, because they all think you're hell borne anyway. Why'd you show up if you're not going to eat Jesus? What kind of weirdo are you? Eat that Jesus! Eat him!
Afterward you'll hear about how you embarrassed everyone and get shady eyes from the rest of Christ's chosen few as they ponder "accidentally" exposing you to holy water to see if it sears your flesh.
Turning down sex is the worst thing human beings can do to themselves short of watching MTV or imitating a video they saw on the Internet. This isn't to say that you should say yes if some bridge troll scuttles up to you and asks to leave its slime trail on your loins -- this is about those situations when you actively were pursuing the sex, and then when it became your time to shine, you realized that you'd taken a wrong turn at Albuquerque and ended up in Oh Shitsville.
For those not familiar, there are a handful of rare but serious circumstances that are worth rejecting sex over. For instance, you're in a hardcore, high-schoolesque make-out phase and it comes time to disrobe and treat somebody's crotch like a face cloth, and suddenly a rich olfactory miasma of aged Asiago and despair wafts into your face like a fist stored in the bowels of hell itself. You have just been confronted by the sex that hygiene forgot and, if you have any pride left, you'll not be able to force yourself to walk down that unhandsome road.
Nothin' says romance like a mouthful of bile.
Less stomach turning but no less questionable is the partner who takes you home and exposes you to what can best be described as "psycho decor." So you have a minute while standing in their bedroom appreciating just how many swastika flags they're using as posters, or the curious array of stainless steel and leather restraints attached to the bed frame and walls, to decide that maybe sex is off the menu for tonight.
Not wanting the sex is by far the easiest part of this scenario. If you genuinely intended to have sex and the other person knew it, finding a way out of it is now like tracking a jackalope across the tundra. Yes, we live in a society where everyone can and should feel free to say no at any time, but it doesn't make it any easier in what was, until a minute of stank or insanity ago, a mutually enjoyable experience.
Your option to be honest and tell them they smell like a boxcar full of hobos that someone threw up in is always there, maybe less so an option for the people who have now chilled your soul with some terrifying personal revelation, but it's also the most awkward of all awkward options. Likely you'll just want to think of a quick lie along the lines of "Be right back, I have to vomit. You know, from dinner," or the classic "Let me call my pastor to arrange the ceremony, is next week OK?" and then extricate yourself from there. You'll feel a sense of relief when it's all over and the bullet's been dodged, but man, that time from when you discover the boner-wilting (or lady-boner-wilting) horror to the moment you're back in fresh air is just brutal. Just, so very brutal.
To clarify, yes. I smelled that smell once. I then quickly feigned diarrhea, complete with loudly dumping a cup of water into the toilet to make it seem more genuine, and went home. Score one for Mr. Clay.