January 25, 2009

My Awkward Week

I'm going to take a break from my awkward childhood to share my awkward week with you. It may not be as funny as my childhood, simply because I'm great at adapting and handling embarrassing situation now, depending on the severity. Don't worry, next week I'll send you back to my devastatingly awkward childhood.

So I made a stop at a convenience store this last week for a small purchase. As I left the store to return to my car, I held the door for a lady to enter and then headed toward my car. I was looking down at what was not in my hands and not paying attention to where I was going. You're probably thinking I tripped and fell flat on my face right? No...

So I open my car door which without first unlocking it, which is very abnormal since I always lock my door. I didn't sit down yet but saw over to the passenger's seat and saw someone sitting there. This was very strange since I arrived alone. A tinge of fear went up my spine as I wasn't sure why there was a passenger in my car all of a sudden. I put two and two together and realized it was likely that this wasn't my car. But I was confused because it sure looked an awful lot like my car. Turns out it was just the same interior and exterior color. I quickly apologized to the man in the car preceding it with "this isn't my car!" He just started laughing and said it was fine.

I went back to my car still confused but glad there wasn't anyone actually in my car. I assume the lady I held the door for was driving that car and probably got a good chuckle when her passenger recounted it to her.

Moral of the story, if you are a passenger in a car waiting for the driver to return, lock your doors or some crazy nutjob might accidentally get in and drive you away and not even know what she's doing...I always lock the door if I wait in the car for my husband. Sometimes I don't get them unlocked in time for his return, but no strangers have driven off with me yet.

January 12, 2009

How to Walk Like a Lady

I was the youngest of two kids. I had a brother 3 years older than me. This meant that I looked up to him while growing up, and since I was a tomboy, I think I must have looked to him for how to do many things including how to walk. This meant I had some kind of stroll/swagger combo that didn't resemble the dainty prance of most girls. This never bothered me, in fact I figured it somehow added to my speed when running and/or ability to play sports. So I didn't care. I didn't really notice this to be a problem until after I finished college.

The hospital I was working for was throwing its annual gala to raise money, and my department head bought a table for first come first served in my department. Being fresh out of college and indoctrinated with the importance of networking, I reserved a free spot at that table. I had the perfect "standout" dress, with the personality to pull it off. I say that because it was some sort of bright orange, which is a hideous thought for a formal occasion for most people. But most people would tell you that I pulled that dress off, but they wouldn't be caught dead in it themselves.

So I really wanted to present well in the midst of this networking opportunity, but knew I had a tendency to be awkward and goofy, especially in heels. This is because I routinely ran in the parking lot with heels on. If running in heels had been an Olympic event, I'd have been world champion. Those that know me, or knew me then, will agree that I was the antithesis of a lady. My husband doesn't quite get it, although I swear I made my unlady-like side very clear to him before we married just to make sure he still wanted to marry me. Anyways I wanted to soften myself so I turned to a friend who'd been to charm school or had been properly trained in the ways of a lady and acting lady-like for a crash course in presenting myself as a lady. Just enough to fool a bunch of "important" people for one night.

We started with walking. Lesson one I believe was something to the effect of stick your boobs out. What??? My intention was not to whore it up for the night! I did not want to draw unneeded attention to my chesticular area, I wanted to downplay it as much as possible without turning into a man. But that's what I thought the dress was for. Although as I recall, the actual words may have been to "put your shoulders back." Doesn't matter, they both came to the same result. Nonetheless, this was part of lady-like etiquette, so I humored my teacher friend and went with the flow.

Lesson two had to do with leading with your hips. Again, What??? I thought your legs led you. Oh if only there had been a camera there to catch my first several attempts at leading with my hips. If I had been a weaker person, I would have given up after the laughter it caused. However I do believe I was involved in the laughter as well. The point was to not give up. I didn't have to be perfect, but I had to get to a point where I could feel and look as natural as possible.

The next step was to combine the shoulders and the hips while wearing the heels I would be wearing. It is quite likely that this resulted in the most awkward, jerky/rigid, not lady-like walk across the room ever witnessed by anyone. It took practice but I finally got to the point where it flowed ok and I knew the look and the feel that I would practice at home later.

Other lady-like things we covered included what to do with your hands while standing around talking. But I can't really remember what that was. We also covered how not to eat like a slob and other ancillary lady-like items that I needed to brush up on for my big networking opportunity. By the time the big night arrived I was an expert lady faker.

Here's the thing, while I didn't disappoint my teacher and I learned valuable lady lessons that I would take with me to this day, all my ladyness never produced a better job as a result of my networking. No one at that gala that I talked to ever got me, or offered me a job. Maybe years from now, one of them will remember that awesome orange dress worn elegantly by that smart young lady, and offer me the job of a lifetime because of that one night. Only time will tell. For now I am grateful that I can at least fake being lady-like when necessary, like in an interview, or at church, or anywhere else where acting lady-like might be considered beneficial or at least in good taste.

January 3, 2009

The Hedges Aren't the Only Bushes that Need Trimming

I can't take credit for that title and my friend can identify herself if she chooses to in the comments with a simple "you're welcome." She's probably shocked I used it, but then if she thinks about it I've always been very good at being very awkward and a wee bit embarrassing. I promise to pay you something if I get a big fat book deal. She's tolerated a lot from me :). Anyways I thought it was a genius title as titles aren't my strong point.

I actually did have this topic on my list of things to discuss focusing more on the legs, but we'll start here and keep it short and as disturbing free as possible. So this is definitely a topic my mother never discussed with me. I think I developed a clue about it probably from girly magazines, but I got an education from the male perspective hearing a bunch of crass boys talk about it constantly when I was in Italy. These were not all Italians, they were mostly American boys. There were way more boys than ladies in my school program, so we were way outnumbered and they were really bored and horny. They kept dropping lines like landing strip and bald and finally informed us all that they were guessing how all the girls groomed. Gross!!! none of their business!!! Well from my perspective. But that didn't keep me from listening in on occasion.

Probably my first real educational experience came in Brazil. Let's just say I don't recommend a bikini wax at all. But if you've already tried it without crying in pain and/or distinctly remembering the pain, by all means, continue. I find it interesting that I had to leave the country to learn about grooming this area. Maybe we really are prude here in America. But I'm ok with that in most cases.

Now onto the the legs. My mother never taught me about shaving my legs or armpits either. One day I just decided to give it a try. What, you ask, caused me to make this decision? Well I was in either 4th or 5th grade, I think, and I decided to try wearing a skirt to school. I had a really hard time being comfortable in skirts mostly because I was a tomboy I guess. But I still wanted to try being a wee bit girly after watching all my friends wear their cute skirts and what nots to school. So I put on my skirt and went off to school feeling all cute and confident. As confident as a girl with humongous glasses could feel.

So our class room was set up with groups of 4 or 5 desks . There was this boy in my group, who I happened to like at the time, and he commented on my hairy legs. I don't remember exactly what he said but I remember feeling my face get all warm and I can only assume turn really red. I was humiliated and never wore a skirt again to school until once or twice in high school. (I only wore dresses and skirts church at this time and because I always wore hose to church and it didn't seem to be an issue until I discovered, probably at this time, that your hair actually pokes through the hose!!!! What!!!! What good are they then?) Come to think of it, my brother might have made fun of my hairy legs one or twice back then too, but who cares what your brother thinks or says? So from then on, I decided it was time to start shaving my legs.

I just looked for a razor in the shower and lathered up a little soap and went to town. I feel sorry for who's ever razor that was. It couldn't have possibly been my brother's. I don't think he can grow hair on his face to this day. Let's just say I've never seen a 5 o'clock shadow on his face. Or a noon the next day shadow. But I haven't lived with him in about 12 years now, so I suppose things could have changed since then.

So I started shaving....terribly, but none-the-less I was shaving my legs. For the next 7 or 8 years I suffered through patches of hair left behind, which I noticed when I wore shorts, and was convinced it was so bad that everyone was laughing and pointing behind my back. I also suffered through countless cuts, nicks, and painful skin peels. You know where the blade catches a piece of skin and rips it up until you see the blood or feel the pain and stop, but you were going so fast that it's half way up your leg by then. There weren't enough band aids in the world to stop my bleeding. This also defeated the purpose of skirts and shorts for that matter, because who wants to show off their legs covered in bloody band aids? Yeah, nothing says sexy, like dried blood running down your legs.

Was I the only person that had this problem??? I can't imagine that I was alone in that struggle. Anyways, I tried everything from shaving cream to a brand new razor, but none of it worked. I could cut myself just as good with a new razor as I could with an old dull used razor. But they are the worst. Nothing solved my problem until they invented the razor with 3 blades. I'm not really sure why that worked. I suppose it's possible that at the exact moment that I used one of those razors, my legs decided I had been through enough tragedy and torture, and that I had had a sufficient amount of practice and decided to have mercy on me and toughen up. I choose to think it was because of the genius who added a third blade to the razor. It is possible that those razors had been around for years before I noticed. But I would prefer to think that they were brand new and there was no possible way for me to prevent my torture until that exact moment in time. Please spare me the pain of knowing this if you know it to be true.

I'm not sure what all my mom could have taught me about shaving other than letting me know that it was time if I was going to wear skirts sans the pantyhose. But I'm sure seeing your baby grow up isn't easy so if they ignore it/pretend it isn't happening, then their daughters won't suffer. But they do in so many ways. But again, what doesn't kill us, makes us stronger....or is it bitter??? hmmm....there's a fine line between the two I guess.
Either way, I'm an old pro at it now thanks to the boy or boys who made fun of me.