Situation #11 – Pitters

29 05 2008

Situation: While pit stains (more affectionately referred to as pitters) happen to everyone, they rarely go unnoticed. In fact, they are often the topic of post-hangout conversations. “Man, did you get a load of Sally’s pitters? Major soakage.”

So, how do you avoid the awkwardness of wearing the unintentional two-toned shirt?


First, Preventative measures:

There are several ways to avoid pitters. We list a few below.

1. Wear only shirts the color of pitters.

This, however, may limit your wardrobe to jaundice yellow colored shirts.

2. The ol’ double shirt

Lets the first shirt be the soaker, the other be the masker.

3. Avoid hyper-color shirts.

This one does not need to be explained.

Second, there are several on the spot solutions when you have the pits.

1. Spillage.

This is to be used only in the most disastrous pitter situations. Go, take a delicious sip of that drink. What! Oh no! You just missed your mouth! Now, your delicious beverage is all over your shirt, including your chest and pitter area! This method may induce some awkwardness, but, rest assured, clumsiness is less awkward than sweatiness.

2. Blame Global Warming: its gotta be good for something.

The best way to apply this method is to, first, causally notice your pitters. Refer to your pitters with an “oh geez, check it out” and then use it to jump-start a rant on rising temperatures, melting ice-caps, those poor polar bears and evil polluting corporations. You win!

3. Dry ‘em out.

Find the closest fan, wind tunnel, or place with a cool breeze. Position yourself there and place your hands on your hips, letting those pitters dry out. Note, for this method to discreet, you have to be declaring something of great importance, or speaking on a topic you are an authority on. This is because the “hands on the hips” position = authority. After this drying period, you must then continue your evening/day with the ever-sophisticated hands placed on top of head (with a possible lean-back) position, so to not wet those pits further.

Just be happy you don’t have crotch sweat.


Situation #10 – The unexpected ex.

28 05 2008

The situation: You sweetly and innocently ask your friend how his or her boyfriend or girlfriend is doing, only to learn that they broke up last week.

The solution: First, you are entitled to some righteous indignation, so start by lacing into them with a “Dude! Why didn’t you update your Facebook status? How was I supposed to know?” Follow this up with an exasperated sigh.

Next, you’ll probably feel an urge to console your friend with some variation of “Well, he was a douchebag anyway. You’re better off.” Although well-intentioned, this tack is ill-advised for several reasons:

  1. Even if it’s true, your friend still misses that douchebag, and so it’s kind of insensitive and dismissive.
  2. It raises the question of why you let your friend date a douchebag for so long in the first place. (Explain THAT!)
  3. It will give rise to future situations of social awkwardness should they ever get back together.

Your best option (and also the one carrying Buddha’s seal of approval) is to take the middle path. You shouldn’t rhyme off a laundry list of character flaws in your friend’s ex that will make her sorry for dating him. Nor should you join her in lamenting the failed relationship. Instead, find a petty criticism of her ex, one that is unrelated to his actual character.

For example: “The guy wore transitions lenses. I mean, did you really see yourself with a guy who is too lazy to take off his sunglasses when he gets inside?”

Then give him a ridiculous nickname, like Old Transitiony Lens James. Now you can refer to him by this ridiculous name in future conversations with your friend. Speaking in such coded language will enhance your friendship. Plus, she’ll think you’re hilarious!

Situation #9 – The ambiguous costume.

28 05 2008

The situation: Is your friend on her way to an 80s party after work, or does she just have a thing for neon pink leggings? Is your coworker being ironic, or is wearing a picture of her cats on a t-shirt a way of expressing genuine love? Did someone forget to notify you about Mullet Appreciation Day? Does that guy actually work for Steve’s Hardware or is this another Value Village “find”? The question of costume or bad taste is a socially awkward minefield; even the perpetually poised fall victim.

The solution: NEVER, let us repeat, NEVER greet an ambiguous costume wearer with “Great costume!” Even we can’t get you out of that mess, so consider yourself warned.

If you somehow fail to heed this advice, then you can expect the same degree of scorn usually reserved for those clumsy enough to ask an ambiguously pregnant woman when she’s expecting. It’s one of those things you just don’t do. Seriously. We hope know a thing or two about computers, because Bill Gates may be your only hope for friendship now.

To be ever more cautious, it’s best not to comment on other people’s clothing in general, unless explicitly asked. If you are not about to present them with a “FIVE THOUSAND DOLLAR Bank of America card with YOUR NAME on it!!!” then keep your criticisms to yourself and don’t take social cues from people who perform “fashion interventions” for a living and think that shoes and pants are singular.

But we digress. Your other option is to cultivate a monotonous pattern of speech so that no one will ever know if you are being sarcastic or genuine.

You (flatly): “Nice hat.”

Co-worker: “Are you being sarcastic?”

Now, pay close attention: If your co-worker sounds offended, then she is wearing the hat in earnest; If she sounds hopeful, it’s probably ironic. Mock away! Still, proceed with caution. If you guess wrong, you’re on your own.

Situation # 8 – That joke isn’t funny anymore.

26 05 2008

The situation: You’re out with a group of friends, probably sipping white burgundy at a dinner party – you’re classy like that. You’re having a nice conversation with the person sitting next to you, when suddenly the table goes silent and all attention is on you for Story Time. Not wanting to disappoint your audience, you start to set up your story, pulling out every narrative device from your bag of conversational tricks. This is your moment to shine; your opportunity to cement your reputation as the charming and witty storyteller in your circle. Years from now, at parties, people you’ve barely met will ask you to “tell us that one about when you were lost on the mountain, with only a pizza and one running shoe.”

And then just as you’re about to reach the punch line, you find yourself faced with a sea of blank stares and are struck with the embarrassing realization that you’re telling a story that is past it’s best before date, or worse yet, a “You Had to Be There” story.

The solution:

As a general rule, it’s best to avoid telling stories that start with “Man, I was soooooooo drunk last night…” Stories about your drunken antics are about equally as interesting to other people as that crazy dream you had last night. Unless, of course, you’re in undergrad, in which case you can disregard this advice entirely. Aside from wearing Camera Obscura t-shirts everyday, how else can your dorm-mates be expected to know how cool you are?

If in spite of this advice, you still find yourself in the midst of a past it’s prime story, your best bet is to cut and run. There is no salvaging an un-funny story. Better men have tried and failed before. Your awareness that people aren’t responding well may be your one saving grace in this situation. That, and the kindness with which you spare them from further listening. Feel free to stop abruptly in mid-sentence and then make some self-deprecating comment. “This was hilarious ten years ago. Really.” Or cover your mouth in mock self-disgust and exclaim “Oh my god! I’m telling a You Had to Be There Story. How embarrasing!” Then toss back the rest of your wine in one swift gulp and raise your glass for more.

Situation #7: The Supermarket Run-In

23 05 2008

The situation: You’ve just gone out for a nice long run and although you feel great, you’re looking, well, like you’ve just gone for a nice long run. Still, you decide to pick up a few groceries on the way home. It is a fundamental law of nature that the number of people you will run in to at the grocery store is inversely proportional to how terrible you look. You’re pretty much guaranteed to see someone you know, so you may as well be prepared.

The solution: The grocery store is a gift to the socially awkward with its ready supply of conversation pieces. If you meet in the produce section tell your acquaintance what you’re making for dinner. They probably won’t ask you this, but trust us, they want to know. Caught in the frozen food section? Tell them how you’re too lazy to make dinner tonight. Spotted by the checkout? Make liberal use of the tabloids and magazines. Tell them about your favourite ice cream, or the strawberries that are on sale. The possibilities are endless.

The abundant conversational crutches in a grocery store are equally convenient when it comes time to end the conversation. “It was great running in to you. I’m going to head over to the deli/bakery/produce now. Take care.” Or a simple “I’ll let you get back to your shopping” will do as well.

One last piece of advice: Be prepared to meet the same person again in the aisles after your graceful exit. The post-goodbye meet up is a socially awkward situation deserving of it’s own post, but for now we’ll offer some quick tips to get you to the express checkout with class. Your best weapon against potential awkwardness is the Super Friendly Over Smile. Don’t be fake, just smile as if you’ve paid ten thousand dollars for a set porcelain veneers and want to get your money’s worth. Sometimes this is all you need. But it never hurts to be equipped with a ready supply of one-liners. Again, take full advantage of your surroundings. “Oh, I can never resist these cookies!” “Can you believe I just came in here for milk?!” (This is usually funnier if said while pointing to a cart full of groceries.) It is very important that you do not break your stride when you make these comments, as that creates the awkward possibility of stopping for further conversation. Make D.A. Pennebaker proud and don’t look back.

Situation #6 – The Awful Comment

21 05 2008

Situation: You show up to work, looking great and feeling great. Everything is puppies and rainbows. You managed to brush your hair today, you didn’t forget to brush your teeth. Your theme song today is a little bit of KC & The Sunshine Band and maybe a little bit of Kool and the Gang.

Your coworker walks up to you. You greet with a cheerful hi and an over-exaggerated wave. The coworkers response : a frown, a concerned look and then, in a sympathetic tone, perhaps even with a gentle forearm touch, “you look awful, are you starting to get sick?”

Solution: To avoid the awkwardness of admitting to your coworker that you feel and (dammit) look great and having said coworker feel sheepish, take hold of this wondrous opportunity! Give a little cough and reply “Ya, I think I am coming down with something, better go home”. Then, stumble out of the office with nothing to worry about, you have valid back-up that you looked awful! End result: awkwardness avoided and day off! At this point, we recommend turning back on that Kool and the Gang that was playing in your head and go get a mid-day drink(s).