“And so I stood there waiting for the guy to bring me back my grande caramel macchiato, but then I saw a different guy go to get my muffin. So I didn’t know who was working on my order and it was just awkward. I didn’t know where to wait and I still hadn’t paid and there was a long line behind me. Like it was just literally the most awkward moment.”
Friends had to restrain me from not lunging across the small cafe at this girl.
I know awkward (in the Biblical sense). I am a gay ginger. Awkward is my lifeblood. I need it like regular humans need oxygen.
If one more Tom, Dick, or Harry misuse the term ‘awkward,’ I’m gonna bust a nut.
Momentarily not knowing where to stand in a Starbucks line does not qualify. Nor does posting a pic of yourself on Facebook and then getting only two likes. That’s not awkward. We as your “friends” just had our annual convening and we decided unanimously—okay, admittedly Brian and Becca forgot the new policy—that we wouldn’t be humoring your car selfies with the flower crown filter anymore.
Going on a date with someone and them not responding to your texts isn’t awkward. They’ve ghosted you.
Let’s learn our vocabulary words and use them appropriately.
I’m not sure if we’ve simply substituted “awkward” for “a moment where exactly what I wanted to happen didn’t” or if our threshold for experiencing otherwise normal moments with slight discomfort has decreased as a society and therefore we universally feel more awkward. I can’t answer that. It’s clearly a question for the philosophers.
What I am suggesting is the next time you think you feel awkward, please consult with this list and think “hmmm…is this really awkward or am I just too lazy to think of the correct adjective?” Be better, America.
- You ask your friend: “Why the fuck do you have a dead flower on your dashboard? I’m throwing this shit out.” He responds: “That’s from the grave of my grandfather who died last week.”
- Your car is in the shop so your boss gives you a drive, briefly stopping at her own home. Her neighbor asks who you are. The boss says: “He’s my intern. He’s like my Monica Lewinsky.” She continues driving towards the house and you’re unsure if she’s really driving home to make you her sex slave.
- You’re 22 years old at a community theater rehearsal and you try to control your laughter over a small joke but fail and proceed to fart so loudly that everyone stops talking backstage. The whole scene stops and the director asks: “Shipoopi?” No one knows what to do and the entire theater stays silent for the next 20 seconds.
- You are new to your job and discover that a coworker is being fired. You put on earbuds to ignore it. As he gets fired, he avoids everyone and simply comes to your desk. You are forced to look up. He says: “I just wanted to let you know…um…I’m leaving. Take care.” You say, “I’ll see you later” realizing moments later that that was completely inappropriate because you probably won’t ever see his face again. He continues walking away, crying.
- You are feeling good on the dance floor and decide to get low. As you shimmy up, you realize that you should have worn a belt because you’re literally looking like a fool with your pants on the ground. You grab them quickly and assume no one saw. You look up at everyone staring at you.
- You haven’t seen your cousin in years but just spotted him on gay tinder as you walk into his sister’s wedding. You make uncomfortable eye contact as he directs your family to the correct pew in the Church.
- You are stopped in the hallway at work by someone you’ve only met once. She says, “I really appreciated your intoxicated dancing at the company party last week.” You stare and pause, debating whether it’s better or worse to tell her that you were completely sober.
- Getting ready for church Sunday morning, you put on the same pair of jeans you wore to the club last night. You realize you split your pants booty-popping last night and didn’t even know until now. You understand why you felt someone’s hand in your butt crack the night before.
- Per usual you were using your car as your own personal voice studio. You picked up an old water bottle to use as a microphone. As you belt out the chorus to Jordin Sparks’ “Battlefield” at a stoplight, you realize you are not the only one appreciating your performance. Three men in the car next to you are fully rapt, have rolled down their windows, and are cheering while tapping on your window. You pretend to respond to text messages while they continue yelling. The stoplight lasted another 30 seconds.
- You Skype a friend to come out to him. Before diving into the matter at hand, you ask how he’s doing. He launches into a vent session about how irritated he is that he had to take LGBT diversity training at medical school orientation. When he asks how you’re doing, you are forced to say: “Well, building off that, I’m actually gay.”
- You and your brother are discussing twerking. Your mom asks what twerking is. You show her a video and without hesitation, she says, “Oh, your dad can do that.” You’re stunned into silence. She says, “What? He’s done that for me. You should have him do it for you.” You and your brother don’t eat for days.
- You volunteer at your church’s phonathon to raise money for the community. You have the misfortune of calling a random woman who seems to have been through a lot. You spend most of an hour phone call listening to her crying, her concerns about her Atheist drug-addicted son, the tale of how she lost her job. At the end, you are forced to finish with, “Well, it’s been great talking with you. I will definitely keep you in my prayers…Now one last thing: can I put you down for maybe just a $10 or $20 donation? Would that work?”
If you don’t think you’re living up to this caliber, you’re not in an awkward moment. You’re just weak.