For me to be embarrassed, I must realize that I’ve done something stupid, intentionally or not, and others have been in my presence who have observed my snafu. Let me review for you a few of my embarrassing moments:
I am a freshman at Cumberland College and am attending vespers. For you who are uninformed, it’s a prayer-and-song service. This service was held at Cumberland after supper each evening in a Roburn Hall parlor. The room was always crowded, and we sat on the floor.
I looked up at the doorway and saw one of my boyfriends from Toledo standing there, handsome, tanned, well dressed, a big smile on his face. I was not going to wait for the conclusion of the service to greet him, so I got up and started navigating the masses of people in the room. I had on a straight, very tight skirt. Before I had traversed three yards, I fell on the back of one of the male worshippers.
In that same year, I am back in Toledo for the Christmas holidays and am telling my brother Bill, 15, what a wonderful semester I have experienced at Cumberland. The problem was that we were riding a city bus, and I was speaking loudly. This is something we tend to do in the south, unlike in the north where people seem to talk in a whisper. Additionally, I doubt that anyone on that bus in that section of town had ever been to college. He shushed me, and I blushed profusely.
Fast forward. That 17-year-old Cumberland College freshman is now a faculty member at Urbana College in Ohio. Pregnant with my second son and with no intention of wearing maternity clothes for my teaching role, I had taken a green print skirt and attached a rubber band to the button and the buttonhole so I could still fit into it. While I was standing at the chalkboard, the rubber band broke, and my skirt slid down to my ankles. I still hear someone in the class mimicking stripper music.
Now I’m the new president of Southeast Community College and am at a conference in Chicago. I had a new dress and the chancellor of the community colleges, Dr. Stanley Wall, was introducing me to one person and another. I was happy with my new job and pleased to meet so many national leaders. When I returned to the hotel that night and took off the dress, I saw the price tag hanging in the arm of the dress. I was Minnie Pearl all day, and no one bothered to tell me.
Move through the decades and I am scheduled to attend the wedding of my husband’s nephew in a Cleveland cathedral. I knew it was to be big and fancy followed by a reception at a country club, so I bought a beautiful black dress with silver metallic threads. When I put it on at the hotel where we were staying, I decided that it needed shoulder pads, so we located a Walmart close to the cathedral. With no time to spare, I hurried to the domestics and said to a clerk, “I’m on my way to a wedding that starts in 20 minutes, and I need shoulder pads for this dress.” Her response was, “They’re two aisles over, but shoulder pads are the least of your problems. You have a big slit in your dress in the middle of your rear end.” “Where’s the needle and thread?” as I put my hand on my rear end. She led me to what I needed; I grabbed the supplies and headed for the dressing room where a young girl and her mother were quarreling. I couldn’t get the needle threaded and kept waiting for the fracas to stop so I could seek help. Finally, I said, “I hate to interrupt, but I’m late for a wedding, have a hole in the seat of my dress and can’t get this needle threaded.” The mom helped me. I stitched the dress, paid for the supplies, and ran to the car. During the Catholic ceremony with all the standing and sitting, I was happy the clerk has told me about my dress, otherwise a VW bug could have driven through that slit by the time the wedding was over. As I waited in the car for all the family photos to be made (Obviously, wives come and go in that family and I had been married a short time, so I was not invited to be in the photos), I looked in a mirror to check my makeup and found black specks from the dress all over my throat and shoulders. Later, at the reception I looked down at my legs and noted that the silver threads in the dress had shredded my hose, big time. When I got back to the hotel, I called the dress shop, relayed the disasters, and told them I’d be returning the dress for a full refund. The clerk agreed.
Just how old do I need to be before these embarrassing moments end? Tell me about yours at email@example.com.