Assumedly, we are all past the middle-schoolish stage where even the most pedestrian situation would petrify us with awkwardness and haunt our thoughts for the remainder of the day. Where a run-in with Suzy Sommers’s elbow would make us blush. Where a health teacher mentioning the word ‘penis’, ‘vagina’, or ‘mammary gland’ would make us giggle. And where a car ride with any adult who doesn’t share a part of our genetic code would render us mute. But even as adolescence becomes a distant dot in the rear view mirror of life, and we accept the fact that we are balls-deep in adulthood, awkward situations still arise from time to time. But instead of shying away from these scenarios, perhaps a more entertaining strategy would be to embrace the awkwardness. As this article’s namesake suggests, the following will give some suggestions on how one might not only embrace the awkwardness, but also augment it.
As many comedians have documented, the elevator can be an awkward place. But it’s a place that can easily be made more awkward. First, I think it’s always a good idea to push all of the buttons for all of the floors when you first get on. If there are other passengers already on the elevator, tell them you get vertical-movement-sick if you go up more than one floor at a time. If you are the first one on, hit all the buttons and then wait. When you pick up a passenger or two on the first floor and they glare at you in response to all of the illuminated circles, you can reply ‘It wasn’t me!’
Next you need to act like a 3rd grader. For each floor, develop a counting song, preferably utilizing animal noises. Like this:
First floor, doors open.
One!… One clap! Clap. One stomp! Stomp. One bark! Arf.
Second floor, doors open.
Two!… Two claps! Clap Clap. Two stomps! Stomp Stomp. Two Moos. Moo Moooooooo.
Everyone looks at you like you’re insane.
Third floor, doors open. More people get off than usual.
Three!… Three claps! Clap Clap Clap. Three stomps! Stomp Stomp Stomp. Three…..wait for it…three ribbits! Ribbit, Ribbit, Ribbit! (Optional: hop around like a frog while you ribbit.)
Fourth floor, doors open. Everyone gets off while staring back at you. You’re alone in the elevator. Awkwardness over.
I’m not sure, but I think orgies are probably pretty awkward. In order to make them more so, follow these easy steps:
Step 1: Leave your shirt on at all times. Think fat kid in public swimming pool. A worn-out white v-neck is preferable and if anyone asks you why you still have your shirt on, get really defensive and tell them it’s none of their business. Optional: say this with a stutter.
Step 2: Develop a catch phrase. Something that’s not at all applicable to the situation at hand. Maybe something like: “Don’t step on the tracks when the train’s coming through!” Then, whenever you do something, say it. Take off your pants? “Don’t step on the tracks when the train’s coming through!” Touch a girl’s boob? “Don’t step on the tracks when the train’s coming through!” Accidentally brush up against another man’s scrotum? Wink at him and whisper, “Don’t step on the tracks when the train’s coming through.”
Step 3: Give lots and lots of high-fives.
Step 4: When the orgy is wrapping up, stand up and loudly proclaim, “That was WAY better than the first time I had sex.”
Walking In On Someone Doing Something They Don’t Want You To Know About
As your roommate/husband/coworker/priest/parents/cousin/brother/grandma rush to conceal evidence that they were doing anything objectionable, find the first obvious hiding spot in the room and hide there. If there’s a tall skinny lamp, hide behind it. If there are curtains up against the wall that will cover everything except your feet, get behind them. And if there isn’t anything suitable, just get as close as you can to the wall with your arms and legs spread out wide and your head cocked to one side. When your roommate/husband/coworker/etc yells at you: “Get the hell out of here Matt!”, Don’t. Move. If you move, they will see you.
The Row Of Urinals
First, if there is a long row of urinals—like at the airport—and only a few urinary-participants, choose one of the receptacles right next to one of the participants. We’re off to an uncomfortable start. Next, think first date. Not gay first date, just first date conversation. Introduce yourself. Ask him if he comes here often. Tell him about your hobbies, your hopes, your dreams. Ask him if you can buy him a drink after you’re done urinating. Tell him you like his shirt. Try to keep your eyes up but let them slip downstairs for a couple seconds at a time. Then recoil like you just saw a pterodactyl. He has very few options. He can cut it short and zip up, but as Lloyd Christmas wisely told us once: “I can’t stop once I’ve started. It stings!” Or he can ride out your questioning like a man. But it doesn’t really matter because as soon as he tries to leave, you’re leaving too, because you were never really peeing in the first place. Follow him to the sink, hand him a paper towel, and then as you depart the bathroom and look to go your separate ways, say something like, “Well Floyd, that was really fun. Do you think it would be out of line if I asked for your number?”
Most of us, even those who don’t live in a booming metropolis, have been in the tricky situation that is the crowded subway car. You’re standing there, nut-to-nut (or cervix-to-cervix) with a couple of complete strangers. There’s a delightful aroma of BO in the air, and a loose pile of something that resembles afterbirth in the corner. Everyone’s pissed off, and nobody knows exactly how to act because nobody is in such a situation by choice. Now’s a perfect time to start a staring contest. But don’t let anyone know you are in a staring contest. That way you’re a big favorite to win. Just pick someone, preferably someone close, and stare at them. When they blink, say, “Yessssssss”, mark the win down in the notebook you are carrying and try to give someone else a fist-bump. Then move on to your next opponent. When one of your conquests leaves the train, make sure you follow him or her out with some words of good sportsmanship. “Good match lady-with-the-red-scarf. I thought you had me 30 seconds in. See you tomorrow!”
In The Back Of A Police Car
So you’ve been picked up one alcohol-driven crime or another, handcuffed, and stuffed into the back of a police cruiser to stare at the neck hair of two burly officers on your way to the station. Awkward situation. In order to make this more awkward, start a game of I Spy. But make everything you spy a reference to them being assholes. The monologue should go a little something like this:
I know, let’s play a game. Let’s play I Spy With My Little Eye.
I like your enthusiasm. Ok I’ll start. I spy with my little eye, something….Gay!
Silence. The two officers look at each other.
Alright that was a tough one. I’ll try again. I spy with my little eye, something….with a stupid moustache!
Silence. The officers shift uncomfortably.
C’mon guys. That’s an easy one! Look around. You aren’t even trying.
Fine. I spy with my little eye, something….on a power trip to overcompensate for his tiny penis!
The driver pulls over so the passenger can yank you from the car and beat you with a mag light.
Not only is that more fun than simply basking in regret and tears, but the police brutality episode should probably get you off the hook for that pesky public intoxication charge. And look how far you’ve come since 7th grade: an entire car ride conversation with not one but TWO strangers, including cameos from the words ‘penis’ and ‘gay’ with no giggles. That’s progress.
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