Situation # 33 – The joke gone wrong

16 12 2008

The situation: You’re at a work party, laughing, socializing…having a good time. And, man, are you charming! People are in stitches, you’re telling tall tales of climbing Mount Everst with no shoes and personally choosing the font for the Constitution (Silly Trudeau wanted Ariel). One witty comment after another. While in conversation with a group talking about the differences in male and female public bathrooms, you pipe in with “But what do you do if you’re a hermaphrodite? Some of us have it so hard” The group looks at you, seeming slightly confused. However, sensing an audience, you continue. You tell stories of how difficult it can be know what clothing department to shop in, you know, being a hermaphrodite. You laugh about how life is hard when you are from Mars AND Venus. You leave the party content. You are hilarious! The next day, a co-worker calls you into his office and with a concerned look, awkwardly brings up the fact that you are a hermaphrodite. You are flabbergasted: how could people not realize you were joking?

So what do you do when a joke goes horribly horribly wrong?

The solution: The first option you have is to straight out deny, however, this often comes across as if you got something to hide. Or in this case, two sets of things to hide.

A second option is to roll with it. Benefit from this mishap by taking this opportunity to get your own washroom a la Costanza! Start an advocacy group for Hermaphrodite. Speak out! Perhaps you could get a little slice of the charity pie from that Jolie fool. Now that’s pretty tasty!


Situation #26 – The name game

28 07 2008

The situation: You and your boyfriend/girlfriend are dancing the horizontal mambo, if you know what we mean. Of course you know what we mean, you sly fox! We won’t go into further detail – this isn’t that kind of site. We’ll just say that things are going well and let your imagination take it from there. There’s some “oohing” and some “ahhing” and just as you’re heading into the final sequence of your carnal gymnastics routine, you cry out “Oooh Steeeeeve!” This would be fine, if only your boyfriend was actually named Steve. Your boyfriend, however, is named Karl, a name that bears neither phonetic nor graphic similarity to the name Steve.

The solution: What follow are not so much solutions, as much as tips that will buy you enough time to pack your bags on the way out.

1. Explain that you practice a rare religion where Steve is actually the name of your god. You come from a long line of Spanish stevedores and worship at the altar of your ancestral longshoreman Steven Consuelos The Third.

2. Claim a fetish for an older and unattractive actor. It is very important that you do not pick anyone even remotely attractive, because on the off chance that your boyfriend is convinced, you will then have his newfound insecurities to deal with. Therefore, Steve Carrell and Steve Martin are both bad choices. Steve Buscemi – now we’re talking!

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 #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).

Situation #5 – Bitching

12 04 2008

Bitching is the Starbucks of conversation. It is everywhere and, when nobody can think of something better, its the default. Bitching (or, less awkwardly referred to as ‘complainng’) is a sure-fire way to bond with a new friend or colleague. Take the following example:

You “So, whats you opinion on babies?”

Them ” They look like little velociraptors. Babies can’t be trusted”

You “I agree!”

End result of the above conversation : a bond built in the bitch.

So, how can this turn awkward? You bitch about something that, surprise, is about them.

Take this situation:

You ” Seriously, I hate it when people wear fake glasses. I mean, if you can see perfectly, you should not mock others who can’t see by wearing glasses with no lenses. Douchebags.”

Them: ” I wear fake glasses. I AM wearing fake glasses”


The best method to avoid the inevitable awkwardness is to simply ask questions regarding the persons answer with extreme enthusiasm and sprinkled with compliments.

In the above example, “Really, they look so real! You even have that visually-challenged squint down! So as a leader in hipster-ness, whats you take on chunky frames versus wire frames? ”

Or, a riskier approach,just start bitching about a topic related to your original bitch. “Seriously, glasses are so expensive AND optometrist appointments are so expensive. Those dudes aren’t even real doctors. WTF?”