Having a blog named “Kind of a Mess,” you can imagine that I might know a little something about awkward moments. And cringe-worthy situations. And soul-crushing embarrassment. And you would be right. So when I was asked by The Experiment to review a book called Awkward.: What to Do When Life Makes You Cringe – A Survival Guide, I knew it was kismet.
Sam Scholfield, author of Awkward knows a little something about awkward situations too, but she was smart enough to write a book about them. Awkward walks you through crazy and not so crazy situations that might leave you at a loss for words and wondering if you stay perfectly still, maybe your previously undiscovered mutant gene will activate and you’ll suddenly turn invisible.
Sam – after you read her book, you’ll feel on a first name basis too – offers up multiple options on how to handle the situation and battle the awkward monster. You can “Embrace the Awkward,” “Burn the Bridge,” “Evade the Awkward,” Be Honestly Awkward,” or use the two I find hardest to exhibit: “Be Cool” and “Be Mature.” (I’m a WORK IN PROGRESS, OKAY?) By giving these options, she dishes up hilarious ways to deal with the situation. For instance, if when regaling your sexual prowess to a friend in a crowded bar and comparing your skill to that of construction equipment, the bar suddenly gets quiet and hears your conversation. Rather than quickly setting something on fire and fleeing in the ensuing panic, one of the options is to “Embrace the Awkward” and keep going as you exaggerate and embellish the story even more for laughs. (Apparently fire is rarely an option.)
Sam also stars her favorite choice for you, so that when your boss’s fly is down you’ll know that while silent hand signals and adjusting his fly for him are options, your best bet is to let him know that this is really awkward for you to say but his fly is down.
I really like that while Sam does go for the funny, she also gives really sound advice. (Something I know a bit about. *ahem*) She even offers sections in which she tells you how to dodge awkwardness altogether; like discussing an end date with friends before they crash on your couch so you don’t have to deal with unwanted house guests who wore out their welcome two months ago. She’s also pretty succinct. In the end-note for the section on how to deal with being caught talking sh*t about an acquaintance, she gives this advice on how to Dodge the Awkward Monster:
“Don’t be a back-stabbing bitch.”
Awkward is not all about mortification and embarrassment, either. Which is nice if you’re like me and have a habit of getting embarrassed FOR people you read about or see on TV… Sam brings up one of my favorite awkward situations – when you say goodbye to someone you don’t know that well and then it turns out that they’re parked in the same direction as you. I HATE THAT!!! For that situation, she gives five options, my favorite being use a distraction like your cell phone so you can avoid having to talk. (Just one more reason cell phones are a godsend.) Awkward also covers situations that you’re not the cause of, such as people who encroach on your space in airplanes or what to do when someone inappropriate hits on you. (Hitting them repeatedly with your purse is not a good option apparently. I’ve been doing this ALL WRONG.)
The best part about Awkward is that Sam peppers the advice with little vignettes of “Something Awkward That (Might Have) Happened.” The story about the pantless girl who super-glued herself to the floor on page 183 is my favorite. (I really hope that actually happened to Sam. And if it did, we need to be friends.)
NOW! Because The Experiment Publishing is AMAZING, they provided me with an extra copy as a giveaway! (You can’t have mine.)
In the comments, leave me your BEST awkward situation and I’ll pick the winner at random. We’re all friends here, so no anonymous comments and valid email addresses only please. (Aliases are acceptable, but just remember if you use your usual email address your gravatar will out you.) This will run until October 5th, 2011 and I’ll announce the winner on October 7th.
And to get the ball rolling, here’s an awkward situation of mine. (God, I can’t believe I’m voluntarily putting this out on the internet…)
When I was in third grade, it was an unusually cold winter so my mom made me wear lacey white tights underneath my drawstring sweatpants that I insisted on wearing. I was at the pencil sharpener when, suddenly, my pants started to fall down. My best friend Michael told me I needed to pull my pants up, but apparently I didn’t understand him and just pulled my shirt down lower. (SO HE SAYS. I remember none of this.) As I turned to go back to my desk, my pants are pretty much around my ankles but I couldn’t feel them because of the tights. I didn’t notice them at all until my teacher was like, “Alyssa, I think you need to pull up your pants.” She then helped me tie them in a double knot as I sniffed and cried in mortification because I was EIGHT.
This is also the year that I threw up as we were lining up to go to the library and nearly got it on the kid in front of me.
Horrible, right? But prepubescent pants-loss is not the awkward part. The only reason I even remember this is because Michael moved away and then came back during high school. One day as we were reminiscing he said, “Do you remember the time your pants fell down in the third grade?” I didn’t really, but he did and reminded me of every detail. And then proceeded to spend the next fifteen years introducing me with, “This is Alyssa. We went to prom in high school and her pants fell down in the third grade.”
NOT KIDDING. Still, to this day. The repetition of it has made the memory much less embarrassing, but made meeting hot guys in college pretty damned awkward.
“Oh, you’re Alyssa! Your pants fell down in the third grade.”
Okay, my moppets, let her fly! Win that copy of Awkward.: What to Do When Life Makes You Cringe – A Survival Guide! And good luck!
***Disclaimer: The above-referenced book and its giveaway copy were provided to me free of charge by The Experiment Publishing Company because they are the awesome. No other compensation was given. Links to the above-referenced book are Amazon affiliate links. Please read my site disclaimer for more details.