I thrive on awkwardness. Nothing makes me feel more alive than a gruelingly unpleasant social situation.
- When urinating into a porto-san in the middle of French Quarter Fest, an urgent stranger rips the door off its hinges, exposing my squat to the amusement of at least 1000 jazz enthusiasts
- Helping my dad move and accidentally encountering his prophylactic supply.
- Sitting next to a woman on the bus, whose headphones mislead her that nobody can hear her rapid-fire vibrato farts against the vinyl bus seats.
- The erroneous hello-kiss from someone I’d rather not touch, leaning away, giving up, accepting it, and trying not to be too obvious about wiping it off.
I love all of this. It’s what separates us from the animals.
Animals know no awkwardness. My weinerdog will take a dump in front of strangers, WITH eye contact. The only awkward dog is a sheared poodle fresh from the groomer - smarter specimens know what they look like, and are ashamed.
Awkardness is how we know we’re still part of human society, a status which for some of us is often in question. This is the story of the time my vagina ruined a night at the opera.
I was outside Lincoln Center. A handsome, vaguely familiar man appeared to be checking me out. I didn’t blame him. I looked like the kind of woman Hannibal Lecter would threaten, but not murder. Classy.
When an impeccably dressed lady is shivering in front of an opera house, the pink human imagination turns toward gentle inquiries. Does she love opera? Does she smoke cigarettes from a long holder thing? Is she a sparkling wit? Does she smell like rare soaps? What internal mystery does her elegant form conceal?
In this case, none. The handsome but familiar stranger’s face came fuzzily into context as that of my fucking gynecologist.
Suddenly I was not standing in front of Lincoln Center in a gown. I was on my back with my crotch in the air, a paper sheet draped over my knees. The treeline became a series of imposing Jamaican nurses, nodding thoughtfully as they peered so deep into my private canals that there could be no doubt they were staring at the inside of the top of my skull. My stillettos morphed into stirrups. I saw the exact moment where it dawned on poor Dr. Longdigits where he knew ME from. I don’t begrudge him his slowness on the uptake - he wasn’t use to seeing me from that face-on angle. Maybe if I squatted over him.
A few months later, I shamefully made my annual appointment, only to find out that his office had closed, left no forwarding address for the doctor, and all files had been sent to his replacement, Dr. Fingerme. I never saw Longdigits again, but the abruptness with which his practice vanished from the face of the earth proves one thing beyond the shadow of a doubt:
My vagina ruined his life. Or, rather, AWARENESS of my vagina ruined his life.
Awkwardness. It keeps us in line. Some of us more than others, which poor souls live so actively in fear of a cringe-inducing encounter that they never step out of their comfort zone. But you can’t avoid it. It’s like gravity, or the tides. You can always bring exact change, check your teeth and nose for particulate before leaving the house, wear the proper foundation undergarments for every occasion, and never leave a public restroom without checking the back of your pants, but someday, somehow, you’re gonna gaze into the eyes of a total stranger who once stuck his finger up your butt and that’s when you’ll know. You are Awkwardness’s bitch. And whatever you do, don’t think about my vagina. The consequences…COULD BE DIRE.
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