Nothing’s better than a good embarrassing story… about someone else.
We love them, we hate them, and we’re forced to live with them. Embarrassing stories are no different than that picture your friend took of you while you were sleeping with your mouth open, or the one that was taken before you were ready, or the slew of baby pictures your mom holds onto like they were rations in an apocalypse. Just like those bad pictures, we all have our own embarrassing stories that keep being brought up no matter how much we try to forget them. To our friends, they’re priceless, to us they’re a burden.
And boy do I have a good one for you…
If you have ever flown Allegiant Airlines you would know that tickets are insanely cheap, but they have hidden fees for just about everything short of the air you breathe on the flight. A few weekends ago, I was flying Allegiant and figured that in order to save some money, I would pack everything in small backpack so I didn’t have to check or stow a bag. I was planning on traveling for about three days so it was no easy task getting everything in my bag. In fact, I decided to wear my basketball shorts under my jeans just so I wouldn’t need to pack them. Here’s where it gets good…
Later that day, after my fee-filled flight and a battle to resist a delicious looking can of $6 Pringles, I was trying to tell some friends of mine about my Allegiant experience, but I couldn’t settle for a plain old story about fees, I needed to spice it up a bit. I like to tell a good story with a few laughs and maybe a couple gasps. So here was my idea: I would tell the story and build up to the part about wearing shorts under my pants, but right before saying anything, I would throw my jeans to ground making it look like I was stripping down in front of everyone. I should note that my audience was a group of girls, half of whom just got back from a year and half long church mission, so the crowd was a perfect target for a shocking reveal. In my mind the plan was perfect. It would get some strange looks followed by light laughter and a few headshakes… but if that’s how it actually went down then this wouldn’t be an embarrassing story.
As I went for the big reveal, I mistakenly grabbed a little too much material around my waist and moments later I pulled a classic Janet Jackson. There I stood in the middle of the room, victim to a wardrobe malfunction at the hands of my own clumsiness. Pants and shorts were on the floor as I stood with a stupid grin on my face, and the whole room was finally able to answer the age old question: “What color underwear is Jake wearing?”
Well I definitely got the reactions I was looking for, and a bit more. The room erupted with laughed and the awkwardness was definitely palpable. What’s more, I had the honor of getting to retell this story a good 6 more times throughout the course of the weekend, and the embarrassment never really faded. Even as I write this story out I can’t help but still cringe as I replay the events in my mind and think about what would have happened if my underwear didn’t hold its ground securely around my waist.
I guess the real lesson I learned here is this:
Never fly Allegiant.
If you’re willing to do stupid stuff for laughs, prepare to look stupid… and maybe get some laughs.
The main take away is that embarrassment might be a little nauseating, but there’s nothing we can do to change it; our only real choice is to embrace and own it. We all do stupid things, it’s good to be humbled everything now and then, and there’s always a lesson to be learned.
And if you simply can’t embrace your embarrassment, then make new friends and make sure they never talk to your old ones.