Temerity Jane
11. 02. 2011

I had a brief discussion with Swistle yesterday, about how taking someone up on sincerely offered help is really awkward. That is, take our current situation. For the first week of Butt Rust, when we assumed it would just be a week, we had several people say, “Let me know if there’s anything I can do to help!” And we’d respond, “Oh, we’re just fine!” or “Will do!,” with no real intention of taking anyone up on it. Because it would feel awkward. Even though the offering person was being quite sincere.

Phil and I talked about it, too, last night, realizing that since Butt Rust would be continuing indefinitely, all of the normal household duties PLUS a lot of the remaining “get ready for baby” duties were going to fall to him, in addition to his full time job, plus the work outs required to keep in shape to meet the standards of said job, plus some extra work for a softball tournament he’s doing. There is going to come a point where someone says, “Let me know what I can do to help,” and we will need to reply, “Well, actually…”

And that just feels awkward. And I know it’s not just me, because Swistle totally confirmed it.

But that got me thinking about other seemingly normal things that just make me feel really awkward. Things that other people seem to do with absolutely no issue. Things that are REALLY NOT A BIG DEAL, but for some reason, make me feel entirely conspicuous and like the whole world is watching and commenting on my behavior.

As I love to do, I am once again calling upon the “I am a completely average person, therefore, a good portion of other people MUST feel the same way” theory. Either you will ALSO feel awkward about some of the exact situations I am about to describe, or you have your OWN seemingly normal acts and circumstances that make you feel like you are on display in a very obvious way, and of course, you will tell me about them.

First? Food on trays. The Tray Walk, if you will. Carrying food on a tray NEVER fails to make me feel like the most glaringly conspicuous, awkward person on the planet. As soon as I pick up a tray loaded with food, a spotlight shines down from above, directly on to me, and the rest of the lights in the area dim for effect. ESPECIALLY if there is also a drink on the tray. DOUBLE especially if the drink is in a glass, not a cup with a lid. (the kind with a hole for a straw, not a sippy cup. I don’t drink from sippy cups. I’m an adult.)

Maybe it goes back to school cafeterias, with the fear of being THAT PERSON who drops their tray in front of everyone. I don’t recall ever BEING that person, but I’m pretty sure the fear of being that person is stamped into everyone who ever ate in a cafeteria full of peers waiting to seize on some kind of weakness.

I think, though, that it more has to do with the whole kind of posture and positioning of tray carrying, combined with food. You’ve got to hold it right out in front of you. Like for inspection.

“Yes, I do, in fact, intend to eat this food that I have selected for myself. I am holding it out in front of me because there is no other way to hold it, and I know you are evaluating me. And possibly waiting for me to drop it.”

It’s like putting all of your tastes and habits right out there for people to LOOK AT. The Tray Walk is the WORST.

Next? Free samples. Not like the kind you get in the mail, or in a promotional bag from somewhere. (Motherhood/Destination Maternity – please don’t stop handing me individually packaged prunes. I love you. For your prunes.) No, the kind you have to walk up and get. Like at Sam’s Club or another grocery store.

I don’t know what it is with this one, but I suspect a combination of two factors.

One, I feel as though the sample person is immediately judging and labeling me as someone who enjoys a free tiny piece of ham on a toothpick. Even though EVERYONE enjoys a free tiny piece of ham on a toothpick.

Two? How VERY CLEAR it is when you really have no intention of buying the offered tiny food on a toothpick, but you want to eat it, because come on, free tiny food on a toothpick, right? And then you have to decide if you’re just going to eat it and walk away (and say “Thanks,” of course, as we are not HEATHENS), or if you’re going to do that thing where you stand there and pretend to consider it, and maybe ask how much it is, and then pretend it’s just not in the budget this week. Or you can pretend you didn’t like it when you CLEARLY DID. Or you say something like, “I’ll think about it and come back,” when EVERYONE KNOWS YOU’RE NOT COMING BACK.

Oh, and worse? When you and your husband or whoever BOTH want to try it because you really, truly ARE genuinely interested and you have to go and get TWO samples, and then make a really obvious big deal about how your husband just went to grab a pack of toilet paper, and then over do it by giving way too much detail about how he picks out the toilet paper because he has very specific toilet paper needs and you try to get out of there before you find yourself LISTENING TO YOURSELF describe his toilet paper needs.

Food samples, y’all. Fraught with awkwardness.

Lastly, a common one. For the ladies. So you go to the lady doctor, and you undress the business portion of yourself, and put on the little drape. You know what I am most concerned about in that situation? Not the fact that there are about to be stirrups and possibly a spotlight. No. The clothes.


First? I, the person who loathes folding more than anyone else in the world has ever loathed anything, will absolutely MAKE SURE that my clothes are folded perfectly on a chair. PERFECTLY.

Second? The underpants. You know as well as I do that YOU HIDE YOUR UNDERPANTS in that stack of clothes. The doctor KNOWS you were wearing underpants. He’s about to get really familiar with your underpants AREA. But GOD FORBID anyone actually see your underpants SITTING THERE.

Third. You know it. Socks. On? Off? Tucked inside the shoes? Nothing is more awkward than trying to make the socks on/off decision. Because immediately upon undressing, the socks that were JUST FINE when you left the house are now the most hideously embarrassing and awkward thing about you, even as you are MOMENTS from displaying all of your downstairs equipment to someone who might be wearing a head lamp.

That has to top the list of many people. Deciding what to do with all your clothes and accessories at the lady doctor. And of COURSE they’ve seen it all before, but we’re talking about MY underpants and MY socks here. They’re different. You know what I mean.

So, Internet. Tell me. What completely normal situations make you feel like the most awkward person on the planet? Things that EVERYONE ELSE IN THE WORLD handles like it’s totally nothing, when to you, it is a DEFINITE SOMETHING. What circumstances and activities and events make you try REALLY HARD to pull off a casual, “I’m totally normal and fine and this is just no big thing!” attitude and feel like you’re failing a really obvious way and EVERYONE KNOWS?

109 responses to “Maybe I am just an awkward person, but come on, you are, too.”

  1. Miss Grace says:

    Socks off. Also hidden in the clothes stack.

    TJ Reply:

    I try to hide them in my shoes.

  2. OMG, I do ALL OF THESE! I’m so glad to know I’m not the only one who buries my underwear and socks in the clothes pile like they’re some kind of treasure.

    TJ Reply:

    For my OB visits now, I just have to push down my pants so he can get to my belly with the doppler wand, and I always feel like I have to EXPLAIN my underpants. “I know they’re enormous! I just… really like big underpants.”

  3. Which is HILARIOUS because, dude…she’s about to stick her hand in my most special area…does it really matter if she sees my underpants? AND YET.

  4. Shawndra says:

    Public Bathrooms…ick. I try hard not to use them and wait for my own home. When there is no other option I feel so conspicuous, knowing they can every sound in the next stall, in the line leading up to the stalls, at the sinks…

    That gap right under the stall door really gets me too. I make sure my undies are tucked into my pants so that all they see is the pants, because you know there is a 2 year old running loose looking under all the doors.

    Now they have self flushing toilets, and I always am embarassed when it flushes more than once while I’m in there.

    So, I like to use my own bathroom. *dances* I can hold it a little longer!

    Kero Reply:

    Completely agree. I HATE public bathrooms.

    Natalie Reply:

    Dammit, I had never considered people seeing my underpants under the stall door, and now I will be able to consider nothing else.

    TJ Reply:

    OMG. I tuck my underpants, too. Because of door cracks.

  5. LizP says:

    Socks on, because I don’t want to step on a cold floor after getting off the table. :| And yes I hide my underpants too.

    TJ Reply:

    I am so sock-mortified that I would always rather cold feet than for someone to be face to sock.

  6. Sherry says:

    Don’t be embarrassed to say yes when people offer to help! When my husband was mobilized, people would ask me if I needed any help. I would say, “Yes! Can you come mow the yard?” (We mowed five acres.)Then they would get the deer in the headlight looks on their faces. I only had two people take me up on it. Every one else went deaf. One lady offered to come and do our laundry. *That* I took a pass on.

  7. Carrie says:

    I’m with you on the clothes situation. I never know what to do with my socks, either. Usually leave them on b/c my feet are gross.

    The other two, you’re on your own.

    My personal demon is the phone. I can’t seem to make a phone call to anyone, even people I like. I’m so glad I have e-mail.

    Kero Reply:

    I hate talking on the phone. My husband makes fun of me.. says I have a social phobia. So? Talking on the phone makes me uncomfortable. I suck it up and make the ones I HAVE to (all the ‘business’ type ones- appointments, bills, etc), HE can call our friends!

    LizP Reply:

    Glad I am not the only one who doesn’t like to talk on the phone. If I have to make appointments, I have to rehearsal the words before calling.

    Kath Reply:

    I will go to insane lengths to avoid talking on the phone, even if it means driving over there and taking care of things in person. Emails rule, right? And if I send an email I WANT TO GET A REPLY VIA EMAIL not a chirpy little note telling me to call.

    Kimberly Reply:

    I hate phone calls, even for friends. I’d rather talk in person or send email. I always get beet red and tongue tied.

    I keep the socks on. Dr. Ladyparts has plenty more things to judge me on (like my poor leg-shaving habits in the winter) than the state of my socks.

  8. Dawn K. says:

    Yes for underpants hiding! SUCH a relief to know that I’m not the only one who thinks these thoughts.

    I also have trouble ending brief conversations that occur in passing in public places. I never know what is an appropriate closing phrase to either a)not make the other person feel as if I’m blowing them off b)to indicate my need to move along and continue my errands. Especially awkward in the grocery store if you keep passing them in the aisles.

    Megan Reply:

    OMG the grocery store convo….totally with you there. And I always feel like I have to say something EVERY SINGLE TIME I pass them in the aisles. AWKWARD. There’s only so many times you can make the joke about how they must be following you.

    Life of a Doctor's Wife Reply:

    YES. What makes this worse is my husband and I are opposites. So while I’m trying to end a conversation quickly and succinctly, he’d be happy dragging it out for hours. So we have this odd mesh of me saying, “Well, it was great to see you!” and starting to move away, as my husband is saying, “So, how is your grandmother doing these days?”


    Becky Reply:

    I HATE that. Almost as much as I hate when you say “Well, it was good to see you,” and they say something that will drag out the conversation. Everyone should just do a slight head nod and leave it at that.

  9. Dawn says:

    Yes to all of the above (I leave my socks on. My reason? My feet get really cold and especially if my toes are hairy. GAH. And wow, TMI).

    My other REALLY HUGE BIG awkward thing? Walking into *anything* late because of teh spotlight of conspicuousness. I clearly have issues….

  10. Becky says:

    I have the same issues. Especially about underpants and socks at the lady doctor, and about samples. My worst one, though, is discussing routine money issues with ANYONE. For example, some friends of ours are watching James 3 days a week. He is getting to the point where he can just eat whatever they are having for lunch, but we had to have a discussion about it; how much extra money should we give them for the food he eats? You would think this wouldn’t be a big deal, but we were all nervous about it. And even though I write them a check every 2 weeks for daycare, I still get nervous about that too. God forbid I make an adding mistake in my head…I’m convinced that they are holding it against me forever, even though they totally aren’t.
    So yah…anything to do with money weirds me out.

  11. -R- says:

    I felt awkward about accepting help until this summer when I really needed it, and I just had to go with it. So hopefully you will feel less awkward about it soon too. (Though I totally understand!)

    I wear socks. It never occurred to me that other people wouldn’t. Weird.

    I feel super awkward being pregnant. Like I feel like people are staring at me, especially now that I’m 36 weeks. And it makes me uncomfortable when people mention the fact that I’m pregnant. I never even told people at work, other than my bosses, because having the “Hey, I’m pregnant” conversation makes me feel so awkward.

  12. Therese says:

    OMG, I totally have to hide my underwear when I go to see the lady doctor… AND this is after making sure I’ve actually worn the best pair available. Really, they’re off before the doctor comes in the room and I hide them? I could just wear the ratty pair but somehow the doctor would know!

    I also second the commenter above who mentioned how to end casual greetings/conversations out in public. If I pass you up and down every aisle in the grocery, must I acknowledge you every time? Are you judging what is in my buggy? What if we pass in the toiletry aisle? One time, my church youth minister wanted to have a conversation with me in front of the feminine supplies (I was an adult, they are at the end of the aisle and he just happened to see me as he passed by, he’s not weird like that or anything…). It was horrible though? I wanted to just say, “Dude, I need some tampons and to get to a restroom, can we catch up later!”

    Becky Reply:

    Imagine if you had been buying condoms! Ack! Even as a married lady, buying condoms makes me feel nervous, like everyone is judging me. Of course I feel the same way about tampons/pads, so maybe it’s just my immaturity showing.

    Laurin Reply:

    Omg yes, (minus the married lady part)! That and underwear, and even worse, god forbid a man be ringing me up for either option.

    I don’t know why, but that definitely makes it worse, I mean as a retail worker I know they don’t really care what I buy as long as I pay them and go about my business. But no matter how many times I tell myself this I just can’t help but feel like they are judging.

    All I have to say is self scanners were a godsend for my more risque purchases.

  13. Dr. Maureen says:

    Gah! The clothes! YES YES YES. Also the free samples, but the clothes more. I always hide the underwear and socks. On the chair, it goes pants (folded neatly); shameful underpants, socks, and bra (folded so as to be completely obscured); shirt (folded neatly). The tray thing doesn’t bother me.

    As for accepting help, I can relate to this a bit because I had semi-serious PPD after my second, and finally started saying “Yes! Please do!”) when people would offer to go wildly out of the way to provide me with company, because I could not mentally handle packing two kids up in the car to go visit people, but neither could I stand to be alone with the two kids. So when my MIL offered to drive an hour, pick us all up, bring us to her house, and then drive us home later, I said “Yes, thank you.” (Four hours of driving for her instead of two hours for me.) Because they wouldn’t offer if they didn’t mean it.

    The clothes though! I never really thought about it, but you are so right, and it is so dumb of all of us.

  14. nichole says:

    The lady doctor in general is just awkward. I bury my underpants and take off my socks because it feels wrong to be nakedish except for socks. My doctor likes to talk during the exam. Sure its nice that shes trying to distract me but talking makes it take longer. Just get it over with as fast as humanly possible please.

    Getting on an escalator when there are people behind me makes me really uncomfortable. I need to work out the exact timing of foot placement. What if I judge wrong and step on half a step? Then I could fall over. That’d be embarrassing. What if I think I’m ready to take the step but then suddenly decide at the last second I’m not and the impatient person behind me pushes me?

    I should just stick to elevators or stairs.

  15. Delicia says:

    Everything said here about public bathrooms and the clothes at the lady bits doctor – that!!

    The day of a lady bits doctor appt, I SUPER BATHE, and apply coatings of deodorant, and make sure I’m wearing matching clean socks because I keep my socks on since the office is so cold.

    For the food samples, try having kids that RUSH the sample person, and then keep trying to sneak *more* samples as we pass them again throughout our shopping. It’s like I don’t feed them at home or something, the little ravenous wombats. And fyi kids have Sample Radars.. mine can instantly sense when there are samples and hone in on them. It’s rather creepy.

    Another thing I find awkward is work breakroom goodies. People will bring in stuff to share, which is great.. like, huge muffins. And you’ll get people that will cut them up and only take a little piece. So then I feel like Miss Piggy when I opt for a whole one. But dammit they’re Muffins! Or if they only bring in a little plate of something, and if you take more than a tiny piece then it looks like you’re not leaving hardly any for everyone else at work. Blargh.

  16. Marie Green says:

    Ha, ha, I always wear “nice” socks, and I leave them on. Or I make my appt for summer and wear flip flops. :)

  17. Issa says:

    Yes, yes and yes. On all three. I tend to leave my socks on at the doc though, because I’m afraid she will judge my feet. No, really. Oh and I wear my nicest underwear and bras. Which is stupid, because she never sees them, because I hide them from her before she shows up.

    Also? I get uncomfortable at movie theaters. I always end up stuttering something stupid that no one understands, because I’m trying to keep myself from saying, you too. You know, have a good movie…you too. Yeah. My mom raised me to be a bit too polite.

    ps. Generally speaking, I don’t offer something if I don’t mean it. If I knew you, you know, outside of this space and I offered to help with something, I’d completely mean it.

  18. Leigh says:

    I always wear socks because I can’t stand the thought of someone being that close to my bare feet. So strange–they can stare at my lady bits all they want, but no way can they look at my feet!

    My most awkward moments are going to the bathroom at work when it’s That Special Time. I have to walk down the hall past a dozen offices carrying my Special Time bag, because the only other option is to tuck a tampon in my sleeve and then what do I do in the summer and why didn’t I just wear something with pockets? Or else just carry my enormous purse, which also would be a big red flag. So awkward.

    Therese Reply:

    I’m totally with you about the work bathroom and that “special time.” I also have a “special time” bag and regret that women’s professional wear doesn’t come with more/better pockets.

    Megan Reply:

    I always stuff my lady products into my bra or waistband to do the “special time” walk to the bathroom. My cubicle has half walls, so as long as no one is walking by while I’m making the purse-to-bra transfer, no one knows. I don’t think I could bring myself to carry a bag into the bathroom with me, even if I am leaving for lunch I will go to the bathroom without my purse, passing the front door on my way, then walk back to my desk to get it, lest anyone think I was an actual human female!

    Becky Reply:

    I have been known to shove a tampon in my bra to avoid this problem as much as possible.

    Dinsdale Reply:

    Yes! The bra. I’m envious of those blessed with large enough cleavage that they can use it as an extra pocket.

    Usually I’m lucky enough to be wearing something with pockets, but even then, I feel really self-conscious that people can see the outline (the horror! I… really don’t know why I still feel like a twelve-year-old about this) so I’ll stuff my pockets with as much stuff as possible to disguise it. Because apparently looking like you’re carrying the entire contents of your purse in your pockets is better.

  19. Clay says:

    Oh lord, I totally get the, “REALLY, REALLY, IS THERE ANYTHING WE CAN DO???????” awkwardness.

    My wife and I not only have our ENTIRE family living in the area, we also work together. So, everywhere we turned we had offers to help. I finally got fed up and told one of my co-workers that the one thing I truly needed was someone to come clean up dog $4!t in our backyard. We have 3 dogs and they did not have the courtesy to suspend their bowel evacuation while we spent a month in the hospital.

    Supreme awkwardness for me is having to read greeting cards in front of the person who gave it. Seriously, it makes me feel like i’m reading my own death warrant.

  20. The clothes thing is awkward when you go for a massage, too. Because you undress to your ‘level of comfort.’ I’m not comfortable defining my level of comfort.

    Also pretty sure the sample lady at Trader Joe’s judges me because I NEVER buy her featured item. Ever.

    Noemi Reply:

    This is exactly what I was going to say- at a massage I take everything off, and also tuck bra, panties, and socks away in a hidden location (the pockets of my jeans, usually), but it always always feels awkward.

    amanda blythe Reply:

    Exactly. Also I feel like I need to do it all super quick because what if I’m not on the table beneath the modesty sheet before they get back? OMG hurry hurry!

  21. Andrea says:

    I’m awkward too. In fact, this is the 3rd time I clicked over to comment. The first two times, I talked myself out of commenting because I’ve never commented before. That’s one of my awkward things. Being afraid to comment on a new blog because I am afraid it will look stalkery of me that I read, know what’s going on, but haven’t commented before. So, now I’ve broken the ice. Hi. :)

    Also, I do the same thing with my undies and bra at the lady doctor. But I leave my socks on because it’s usually cold.

    Carmen Reply:

    I do the same thing with commenting. I often type out a comment & then delete it, because I assume that either someone else has already said it, or that it’s not helpful, or that I will say something wrong and annoy someone. I over-think everything and end up feeling awkward a lot.

    amanda blythe Reply:

    Also an awkward commenter! The more personal the topic the more I over-think. If I’m a sometime commenter on lighthearted topics, is it ok to chime in on a very serious business topic or is that weird?

    Andrea Reply:

    Glad to hear I’m not the only one deleting perfectly good comments because I’m self conscious.

  22. Tara says:

    Buying tampons, condoms, lube, etc. (anything that gives a window into your VERY personal life). When we were overseas and the BX was the ONLY place to get anything like that it was super embarassing. I felt like EVERYONE knew my business! Especially when I would buy pregnancy tests. Oh, Lord, was that the worst thing ever! I feld like the cashier I chose looked at me funny every time I came back in until I was pregnant and showing.

    Dinsdale Reply:

    I have been known to buy an entire basket-full of unnecessary groceries just so that I wouldn’t only be buying something personal. Because… the cashier won’t notice the tampons as long as I buy lettuce as well?

  23. Ginger says:

    I had to giggle at this, because YES to all of them. Actually it was pretty hysterical the first time my husband came to an OB appointment with me when I was pregnant, I had to do the naked thing, and he LAUGHED at me about folding my clothes. Until the doctor came in and he SAT ON THEM specifically to hide them from her.

    Dave Reply:

    This exact thing happened to a couple I’m friends with. Their doc paused, looked around, and asked where on earth her clothes were. Looked like she’d just waltzed in naked! (I nearly wee’d first time I heard that story!)

    Kirsten Reply:

    This story was awesome.

  24. Kelly says:

    The clothes thing… OMG, yes! I hide my undies at the lady doctor office AND at the massage therapist office (yeah, I know, some people leave ’em on, but then she has a hard time fixing awful, horrible, stupendous, painful issues I have with my hips). I keep my socks on at the lady doctor office because, oh crap is it cold in there. Also? I have cool socks. Every pair. No lie. But I hide them in my shoes at the massage therapist office.

    My other thing is being late. I am SO horrified by being late for anything (OMG, look at all those people looking at me and judging me, and never mind that THERE’S NO ONE HERE), that unless I’m at least 15 minutes early, I consider myself late. I know. I have issues.

    I have such a hard time accepting help from people (except at work… isn’t that weird?), but feel really great when I offer to help someone and they take me up on my offer (except at work… I’m pretty sure THAT isn’t weird).

  25. jenni (with an i) says:

    Socks off. If I’m wearing any – I like to dress light on ladydoctor days, because those are also getting weighed days, and I’m convinced that clothing weighs four pounds. And the underwear is absolutely hidden in the clothes pile.

    I agree on trays, but not samples. I have no shame when it comes to free food, because even if I don’t buy what’s sampled, I’m buying something – usually. Once my husband forgot his wallet – he drove, so I didn’t bring my purse. So: we walked to Trader Joe’s, I ate a kobe burger sample, and then we left immediately. I’m sure they thought we were AWESOME.

    My awkward things are many, but a big one is opening gifts in front of people – like my wedding shower, or birthday parties. I feel like I have to calibrate my excitement for the presents so that everyone thinks their present is loved equally, and people will be able to read my face if they hate their present, and I don’t want to make people feel bad when they gave me a present.

  26. Liz says:

    Peeing in stalls next to coworkers. I mean, if you’re in a long meeting, and you take a 10 minute break, everyone beelines towards the bathroom, and you’re generally chatting while walking down the hall, and the conversation then continues over pee. What do you do? Amplify your voice to be heard over the peeing? Cease mid sentence to wait it out? WHAT?

    Ugh. So awkward!

    (speaking of lady part awkwardness: I’d forgotten my appt one morning, and dressed wearing a skirt and boots. When I saw it on my calender, it was too late to change. So anyway, I get there, and the nurse was like “You can leave your boots on if you want” …leading to a very awkward moment while we both imagined me up in the stirrups with knee high boots on, as if I was auditioning for my very first fetish video.

    Megan Reply:

    That’s freakin hilarious. What an awkward thing for her to say!

    Natalie Reply:

    I generally refuse to engage in stall-talk.

  27. Ashley says:

    What’s funny is that you go out of your way to wear NICE undies, pretty ones with no holes or stains, and then you hide them anyway.

  28. Amelia says:

    I feel awkward about accepting help – even though there have been times in the last year (when I was SO SICK in the early stages of pregnancy that I shouldn’t have even been DRIVING) that I should have accepted. I will have to get better at that, though, because this pregnancy has reached the stage of “can’t vacuum because it hurts” and my husband is a CPA and working 20 hours/day until April 18th.

    My other awkward situations: trying on clothes in a grocery store like Fred Meyer or Walmart and also forgetting to pick up something on the other side of the store so I have to walk all the way over there to where I already was and I am just so sure that people are staring at me and my disorganized shopping habits.

  29. Megan says:

    I commented all over the place on this post, but I wanted to make a special point to say I feel for all of you ladies that hide their ‘wears under your clothes. My doc always opens one of the drawers under the table for me…..that is where my clothes go (I may still hide my ‘wears under my clothes though) and then the drawer is shut during the actual appointment time. I thought all “lady” docs did this. I’m sorry that all of yours don’t. Maybe you should suggest it at your next visit???

  30. Katie Mae says:

    Ahh! Leigh! The tampon-at-the-office thing! I really did think I was the only lady with this problem. How do I get it out of my bag without too much noise? Do I put it up my sleeve, or tucked into my pants waistband under my shirt? In my pocket-but you can see the outline! What if someone stops me to talk about work in the hall on the way to the bathroom, but I can only think “THERE IS A TAMPON ON MY PERSON”.

    Also, I am awkward when walking past people. Like, you are walking towards each other in opposite directions, and you do that dance of “which way are you going to go, whoop, ‘scuse me”, back and forth and dodging uncomfortably. I do this a LOT. It is terrible.

    Dawn K. Reply:

    I second the ‘which way’ dance! AWKWARD.

    Andrea Reply:

    I third this one. I always feel like I end up making the situation even more awkward by feeling like I have to say something and it usually comes out like “uh, heh, we’re dancing?”

    Sherri Reply:

    Something that worked for me:
    What side of the road do you drive on? Stay on that side. Drive on the right side, stay right – drive on the left, stay left.
    It doesn’t eliminate all such dances, but at least when it happens you can whole heartedly blame the other person :)

  31. Nina says:

    TJ, The tray thing will go away once all your hair turns grey. Employees seem to think grey-haired ladies are incapable of carrying food trays; I have no problem with that. Clothes at the exam…who folds; I just gently lay clothes on the chair, underwear still in the pants (slob, that I am).
    I, too, have difficulty asking for help. In my case, it’s because I am very independent and proud (stubborn) and I don’t want anyone to know I can’t do it. At my age, I’ve learned to ask for help. There are things I can’t physically do anymore. I find that asking for help gets easier over time and I’ve learned to be discriminating as to whom I ask for help. I don’t want to be beholdin’ to anyone (and I mean ANYONE!!!). My household is always willing to be of help anytime and anywhere, so no worries there…

  32. Erin says:

    Okay, advice for people offering to help: offer something specific and be definitive. When my husband and I were going through a rough time, our best friend would call up and say “I’m stopping by the Mexican place, what can I bring you guys for dinner?” Made me feel much less guilty (and more grateful) about taking her up on her help, and it also meant I didn’t have to figure out HOW to let her help (when people say “Just let me know what I can do.”)

    One of my other close friends just had her baby three weeks ago and I’m trying the same technique on her. “Send me your grocery list and I’ll bring it by after work.” “Put together all your baby stuff in a baggie and I’ll launder it tonight and return it tomorrow.” We’re good enough friends, I know she will tell me “no” if I cross a comfort line, so I generally just tell her what I want to do to help, so she doesn’t have to awkwardly ask or even say “Yes.”

    Natalie Reply:


  33. Mar says:

    Name tags – where to pin or stick them? And the worst: if you have to write your own name, how large to print it? firstname only? What??

    jenni (with an i) Reply:

    If seventh grade cotillion taught me anything (besides this awful line dance I still remember), it’s that you should put name tags on your right side, so people’s eyes naturally gravitate toward it when they go to shake your right hand. *the more you know flourish*

  34. Rachael says:

    *snicker* the socks on/off question has not ever occurred to me… I like my feet not-cold so I leave em on. Although, I think next time i go, I’m gonna wear my green & white striped knee-highs, just for fun. :P

  35. As riddled as I am by baby fever, and for as much as I blab about it on the internet, people IRL who say, “We’re trying!” never fail to freak me out. Because what do you say to that? “Congratulations on boning a lot! May your sperm be plentiful.”

    I always hear that phrase and immediately get a graphic mental image of the couple having sex. Always. No matter how unattractive or closely related we are.

    Even though I am riddled with baby fever, the thought of ever telling my mom/the ILs we’re pregnant terrifies me more than birth and parenthood combined. Because then they will know, without any doubt, I’ve had unprotected sex. And yeah, I’m a grown, married adult, and this still worries me.


    Life of a Doctor's Wife Reply:

    I am terrified of the same thing. It gives me the heebie jeebies when my MIL talks about wanting a grandbaby. Doesn’t she know what “making a grandbaby” is a euphemism for?

  36. Kat says:

    It gets awkward when I finish an especially long test in 40 minutes and everyone looks up when you turn in the test to the professor. I always leave as fast as I can. But while trying to leave fast I try to be extra quiet like it will make some sort of difference.

  37. Carmen says:

    Last time at my family doctor I just removed my pants (left the socks on) as that’s what I was used to after the last 5 years full of OB appts. So when the doctor finally came in, she wanted me to take off the top stuff too, while she stood there and waited (!), so she totally saw my bra. I was mortified. I had so carefully folded my underwear into my pants so not one micron was peeking out, and then I had to swing my bra around and end up tossing it onto the chair as she was standing in my way to get off the table & go over to the chair. Awwwwwwwkward.
    (As an aside: In Canada (or in BC at least), OB/Gyn’s are not for routine lady-part checks. Your family doctor does those, which makes it even more fun as you see them waaaaay more often than you’d see an OB/Gyn for your yearly check.)

  38. Swistle says:

    Favorite part: “…judging and labeling me as someone who enjoys a free tiny piece of ham on a toothpick. Even though EVERYONE enjoys a free tiny piece of ham on a toothpick.”

    And YES I feel awkward about the sample. I have even, um, taken the full-sized packet as if I’m going to buy it, and then put it down once out of sight.

    And YES I fold my clothes and hide my undies, because…I don’t know. But I do. I leave my socks ON, because that exam is bad enough without having my TOES on display.

    I feel awkward about my groceries, especially because I buy things on sale so maybe one week I will have, say, eight bags of Tostitos. And I feel like the checker is thinking, “GEEZ, lady, put away the chips much?”

    What surprises me is that so many people DON’T seem to feel awkward like this, and regularly. I mean, WE all do, but we live on the internet.

  39. I feel awkward about all these things.

    But I also feel very awkward about eating at other people’s homes, especially if the food is laid out buffet style. I know you are supposed to take a little bit of everything, but I am very picky and I know that a) everyone is looking at what I’ve chosen and avoided and b) even if I took some of everything, they would notice what I left on my plate and JUDGE me for it.

    Oh! And I feel horribly awkward confronting anybody about anything… Like if a waiter has brought me the wrong dish or a store has charged me full-price for a sale item. It’s so anxiety-making to tell them what’s wrong. I feel like I try very hard to be bright and cheery and non-accusatory about it, but it comes across as upset anyway, and then not only is the waiter/salesperson looking at me, but so are all the other customers and they are all thinking “What a self-entitled psycho!” when I only wanted the burger I ordered or the 25% discount promised.

    Clearly I feel awkward about a lot of things.

  40. Mama Bub says:

    Oh, yes! My MOMS Club brings dinners to new moms and even though I have been the dinner bringer many times, it still felt very awkward to be the receiver. Also, I invested in several pairs of cute $1 socks from Target to keep in my purse for the OBGYN feet in stirrups experience. And I totally hide my underwear.

  41. Kath says:

    Underwear and socks at the lady doctor: YES. HIDDEN.

    I don’t like walking in front of groups of people. I suddenly feel very self-conscious about the WAY I walk, which is perfectly normal up until that very moment, when suddenly I forget how to walk and have to concentrate on proper walking technique.

    Kate Reply:

    Oh, me too! I get all jerky and twitchy and always manage to step wrong, like almost making it onto the curb but not quite, so then I have to take a little stutter step to get up, which throws off the next step and so on…

  42. Diane says:

    Okay, so yes, on the underwear folding in the pants. Except when I went for an ultrasound that was going to be the … take off your pants kind, there was no place to set down the clothes. There were just HANGERS. I put the underwear in the pants pocket and folded them over on the hanger so there was NO CHANCE of underpants flopping out and distracting from the business at hand.

    I keep socks on at the OB now, after a very awkward and intents all up in my ladybits biopsy, after which my OB said, “well, after this, I think you deserve a pedicure!” All I could think was OMG YOU ARE JUDGING MY FEET AREN’T YOU? Socks now, always.

    One time I always feel awkward is picking my daughter up from pre-school. She only does the half-day, so I go in to sign her out while the other kids are starting to have lunch, and I somehow lose my ability to speak coherently. I’m always doing something stupid like asking if I might have a pen to sign her out, since there aren’t any on the clipboard today, only the teacher then kindly points out the CUP FULL OF PENS that I have never noticed like 2 inches from said clipboard. How did I never see that? I’m so distracted by how awkward I feel, I end up behaving extra awkwardly.

    I also feel awkward if we hire someone to do something in our house. Am I supposed to stay far away? Observe? I DO NOT KNOW WHAT TO DO, MR. AIR CONDITIONER FIXING MAN.

    Man, I’ll probably be back later to comment, because I am full of these. I am awkward 98% of the time.

    Diane Reply:

    I can’t believe I was so traumatized by that memory that I typed INTENTS instead of INTENSE.

    Another time I feel awkward: commenting with typos.

    aprildreaming Reply:

    Ohh – service people – yes! I feel so awkward hanging around and doing nothing helpful (but of course that’s why I’ve hired someone else to come out and fix whatever problem I’m having). But I also know I shouldn’t go disappear in another part of the house. Am I supposed to make conversation? I suck at that. Typically I end up on my computer – that works except for when it’s the comcast guy coming to work on the internet – then what do I do (because of course there’s nothing to do on a computer that’s not related to the internet ;-) hehe).

    Jessica V. Reply:

    I work from home and have a cleaning lady 2x a month…so I just sit here, in my yoga pants and hoodie, while she cleans my toilets. I’m positive that she thinks I’m just playing and not really working. Embarrassing.

    Also – the pedicure story totally made me giggle.

    Life of a Doctor's Wife Reply:

    Service people! Ack! Like Jessica, I work from home… So I know the service people think I’m a huge weirdo. Especially when they try to talk to me, and I’m all, “I’m in web conference! I can’t talk now!”

  43. I pretty much love every commenter here. Y’all are my people!

  44. Mommiepie says:

    Ok- I don’t usually do this but LMAO! That’s some funny shit right there! First of all, pls try and find a way to get semi-comfortable w/ folks helping you. Seriously. It’s not like you don’t really need it. You deserve nice gestures from your friends. You will be totally appreciative. You can plan to return the favor. Re: free samples-ditto on the awkwardness until I had a 2 year old. Free samples keep him occupied while I shop. I’m sure everyone would Actually encourage me to go back for seconds. Plus, have you been to the warehouse store on the weekend? I swear people bring their whole family for lunch. On nothing but free samples. They are not judging you. I totally hide my underwear too . That is so funny. The socks thing depends on the condition of my pedicure. And finally-my awkward thing is leaving a lipstick ring on my to-go coffee cup. It looks sloppy but is unavoidable unless I don’t wear it, but then I look like a ghost so I wear it and try to wipe the lipstick/ gloss /whatever off the cup but it always smears and smudges and then it’s on my thumb and off my lips so I really should have just not put it on until after I’ve had my coffee but, anyway. I’m always stupidly self conscious about it and envy the other ladies who seemingly proudly display their lipstick stained cups.

  45. Panties – COMPLETELY – I also have to decide – do they get folded inside of my pants OR do they get folded and placed underneath/between clothing – I mean what if for some random reason they have to move the pile of clothes – will they think I’m weird if the underwear is inside my pants, or will it accidentally fall if it’s just part of a pile?

    One of my biggest awkward issues is dealing with people you know, but don’t really know. Elevator rides – “hi how are you” only takes up a fraction of the time. In the store – do you wave or full on talk to them. Going in a door that they are going out of. Basically how to deal with people you hardly know (but that you do know) in brief encounters. Gah.

  46. Courtney says:

    When I was younger, pre-teen maybe, I would JUST DIE if my mother made me carry the toilet paper out of the grocery store for everyone to see. Even if said toilet paper was in a bag and you could only tell what it was if you were REALLY STUDYING the bag and the contents therein. Even if it was COMPLETELY OBVIOUS that I was carrying the toilet paper for my entire family and not just myself, I would refuse. What? Poop? Me? Nooooo…my family poops. I’m a non-pooper.

  47. Jessica V. says:

    I snorted out loud at the “headlamp” portion of this post.

    I totally hide my undies at the doctor…largely because no matter what, if you don’t fold them and just drop them on a chair, they will be crotch side up and that’s just awkward…so then I try to fold them and finally just shove them under my jeans in disgust.

    And? Socks totally stay on…my feet get cold, doctor office floors are grody and also, I’m always afraid that my feet will smell (I’m clean, but you know how feet are) and the poor doc is RIGHT THERE between them! Odd,I know, considering what else is RIGHT THERE.

  48. hobbychanger says:

    I’m a total underwear hider at the lady doctor too. I know she’s going to be all up in my special area, but I don’t want her to judge me based off my underwear. Like if I wear grannie panties, does she think I’m an old lady/a prude? Or if I wear a cute thong/lacy pair of panties, does she think I’m a giant sloozy sloozerson?

    Thing I feel awkward about? Leaving voicemails. I don’t mind calling when someone answers, but if it goes to voicemail, I totally panic. I end up sounding like a rambling idiot. Thinking about it now gives me sweaty palms.

  49. Kara says:

    I have to say that I always wear socks to the ladyparts doctor’s office. I try to wear fun ones in fact, sort of like a distraction. “Oh, you may be looking at my hoo-ha, but check out the seahorses and mermaids on my socks while you’re down there!”

    Butt Rust sucks. Get Netflix and get caught up on all sorts of TV shows that you never knew you missed out on!

  50. Wulfa says:

    I always hide my underwear and socks, after soundly cursing the entire system under my breath. I had one doctor who actually let you keep your clothes on while she talked to you, then left for a couple minutes, then came back and got the icky stuff done with. I loved her.

    The tray walk? Doesn’t bother me, but then I was homeschooled so I never had to do it in front of any peer group.

    The bathroom? Just this morning I was telling my husband that bathrooms are too quiet. Can’t remember if it’s Koreans or Japanese women, but in one of those countries they had to install a running water noisemaker in the bathrooms because in that culture you don’t let anyone hear you do your business, and the ladies would continually flush, driving up the water bill to insane heights. They should totally do that in America as well, plus some of those Glade plugins.