Upping the ‘Awkward’ Ante

I have what I believe medical doctors diagnose as an “overactive blush mechanism.”

It’s really unfortunate, because my coping mechanism against embarrassment is to entirely disregard it; in fact, one of the only things that embarrasses me is looking embarrassed. I could fall down a flight of stairs, landing at the feet of the President and losing my toupee in the process, then pop up with the sort of suave carelessness that would indicate that I had actually planned said fall. . .then, 5 minutes later, rush to the restroom in humiliated tears because I blushed at a joke someone made.

Exemplary Scenario:

Undergrad, who looks about 12, approaches my desk at work: “Can you help me find a book about economics?”

Me: *blushing* “Sure. . .what specifically are you looking for?” Lauren. . .are you blushing? Why are you blushing?

UG: “I dunno. . .I need to do my freshman research paper on economics. So if you could just point me to the section. . .”

Me: *feeling my head start to get heavy, since all the blood in my body has abdicated to my face* “Sure, let me look up the section.” Lauren Julide Wiest, he’s a FRESHMAN! Why are you blushing like this? It’s practically illegal! Stop it!

At this point, the undergraduate is staring at me in part curiosity, part badly disguised horror. He has a right to do so. Here I am blushing like Hestor Prynne, and all he did was ask me about economics. If a cute graduate student ever decides to ask me where to find a book about geography, I may very well go up in flames. (Actually, a certain student of attractive philosophy did ask me at one point if I could help him find “x”. The answer, unfortunately, was that no, I could not. And I served it up on a platter of beet-red face. But I lived to tell the tale, because I’m a survivor like that. Destiny’s Child would be proud).

I’m a big fan of Victorian and Romantic era literature, and the heroines in said literature are always luring in the rich men of their dreams by blushing becomingly. I wish they would give me one or two of their secrets, because I have absolutely no concept of what it might mean to blush becomingly. While conversation and traffic have each been known to become hopelessly side-tracked by the fascinating sight of my complexion changing from the color of waxy death to the color of Superman’s briefs*, I suspect that the spectators are not thinking, “My, how becomingly this charming heroine blushes!” Perhaps they are, and I simply don’t speak the language of well-hidden compliments, but I tend to take their comments, such as, “Holy COW, you’re so red!/I don’t even think I have that much blood in my body!/Dooooood. . . .” at face value.

I just hope others aren’t inferring much about me based on the same criteria.

*Question: do you feel comfortable with the idea that the fate of the free world may be the hands of a man who wears his underwear outside his clothes?


4 thoughts on “Upping the ‘Awkward’ Ante

  1. A. I can trust anything to a man with the self-confidence to publicly display his underthings.
    B. Your turns of phrase are beautiful and completely giggle-worthy. I want you to write a book.

    1. A. Touché.
      B. Bless you for that compliment. One of my life goals is to marry rich or rob a bank or find the Dread Pirate Roberts treasure so that I might spend the remainder of my days writing giggle-worthy turns of phrase, preferably in book format. I’ll let you know how it goes.

  2. My sister was once subbing for a high school class. She had to confront one of the cute, rebellious boys about something and he just stared at her. So she started blushing, while the entire class looked on. And he said, “You’re blushing.” To which she yelled “Shut up!” and ran from the room. Well, maybe she just wanted to do that last part.

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