Situation # 32 – The slow walker

29 08 2008

The situation: Walking may seem like just an archaic form of transportation to some, but we here at the JSA know that walking is also a way to strut one’s style. What we mean is that the way one walks is an indication of their true self, the beast within (eat that, Freud). For example, men who walk with an exaggerated arm swing and an overly large step are likely those with issues concerning their southern regions. Think of the walking equivalent of a dude with a hummer…with spinning rims …pumping out some C+C music factory. Or, take those people who don’t walk, rather they glide. Each step seems to be as if they stepped on a bed of marshmallows with a level of grace only equaled by the fancy footwork of Tom Jones. This walk indicates that this person must be involved in the black arts because it is unusual to be as graceful as Tom Jones. Perhaps the most devious and awkward of all walking types is the slow walker. These people, demonstrating their callous character, walk at their own pace with no respect for the appropriately speeded walker behind them. They are likely the same kind of people who eat someone’s jellybeans and leaves only the black ones. One of the most awkward and irritating situations that can occur on a street is getting stuck behind a slow walker. There is evidence that such a situation can actually release anger steam from one’s ears (you know what we are talking about).

So, what do you do when you are stuck behind a slow walker?

The solution:
First, you may say “Oh JSA, are you a bunch of senile old hags? You wrote about this in situation #20, the sidewalk shuffle” To you, we respond, Nay. Slow walkers cannot be handled as street dancers/shufflers. Street dancers are just confused souls. These two are different breeds and must be treated accordingly.

Now, to get around those heartless slow walkers, there are both general and specific solutions. The following solutions may seem cruel hearted, but we are dealing with a malicious population here. The punishment must fit the crime.

For a specific solution, suss out the slower walker. Let’s say the slow walker is a club-goin’, Jay-Z listenin’ dude wearing those weird Kanye West Venetian blind glasses. From behind, pretend to talk on your phone (the ever-awkward-saving tool) and loudly exclaim “Serious! There is a sale on gold necklaces with really big dollar sign emblems? Man, I just past that store a block back!” This will result in your slow walker doing the turnaround and booking it to the location of your mentioned “sale” and, thus, getting out of your way. Tailor this approach for specific slow walkers by deleting ‘gold necklaces with really big dollar sign emblems’ and insert whatever hot commodity fits said slow walker.

A more general approach would be to just yell fire. That’ll get ‘em moving.


Situation #30 – clothing combo catastrophe

12 08 2008

The situation : It is a well-known fact among the awkward that clothing is responsible for many social mishaps (see several of the below posts). A special sub-category of clothing conundrums is the awkward clothing combination. Take the awkward sweater-short combination, for instance. Are you too hot or too cold? This may result in you sweating profusely on one level and shivering on the other..awkward! However, the most awkward combo of them all is the button down shirt-tie-jeans combination. This combination may not be so socially awkward for the outfit wearer, but can baffle many an outfit viewer. Why? The jean bottom and button up top is the wardrobe equivalent of the mullet: business up top and a party down below. Here is the awkward part: How do you react to this person? The legs are telling you to greet them with a chest bump and a “holla-at-ya” and the torso is telling you to quickly calculate the square root of 212*.

The solution : First, there is a high probability the wearer may be Joey Lawrence as he did sport this look many times during his Blossom years, so check that out first. If this is the case, the best way to greet him is with a “Whoa”.

If not, then we must turn to the eternal advice of woman’s magazine cover lines: “find out everything you need to know from a mans shoes” (This is most likely under “10 ways to pleasure your lover… with household appliances”). This means, if this business top-party bottom wearer is sporting some sneakers, chest bump away! See some business shoes? Shake the hand and comment on the stock market.

*we know some of our readers need their informational thirst quenched, so sqrt(212)=14.56. This beverage is on the house.

Situation #21 – Hey, that shirt is on backwards

6 07 2008

The situation: You’ve just spent the day being important. Shaking your important fist, shooting out important stares, and strutting your important strut. Then, you realize that your shirt was on backwards all day long. Even worse, it was inside-out. Other varieties of this mishap can include: a mismatched buttoned shirt, mismatched socks (or shoes for those of us less fortunate), or the dreaded toothpaste mustache.

The solution: The only way to get out of this shit-uation is to make the backward shirt (or other clothing malfunction) a fashion trend! Wear you shirt backwards for the next week. Salute the glory days of Kriss Kross and those little buggars makin’ us want to jump (jump). Watch this trend catch on. You are the next Coco Chanel!

Situation # 14 – The street corner showdown

19 06 2008

The situation: You are walking (perhaps even strolling) to meet a pal. You are almost at your meeting spot. There it is, just across the street! Ah, the light is red, so you have to wait on the street corner. We know, this in itself is not very awkward (but, please see situation # 4 for how waiting can become awkward). However, say your friend is on the other side of the street and spots you with a wave (the good ol’ gesture equivalent of hello). You are too far away to talk, but not too far away to stare. Yikes, street corner showdown! This situation is likely to trigger an automatic tightening response in the facial muscles, resulting in an open mouth grimace: the tell-tale sign of awkwardness. You will also become far too aware of your standing position as it is being stared at. If you stand there with your legs straight and arms to the side, you will end up looking like a gingerbread cookie (although tasty, not an ideal cookie shape to mimic). We all know that standing with your arms crossed, slightly aloof, means you are closed off and too cool (although this stance will be ideal if you are the owner of an ironic mustache because, my friend, then you are too cool). So what do you?


1. If you are lucky enough to be stopped near a convenience store, then signal to your friend that you’re gonna conveniently visit it, escaping the stare and stand. This will also avoid the awkward situation of both you and your friend attempting to cross the street to meet. We also advise that you buy something with good conversational quality while in the store. For example, root beer. This can start conversations about age-appropriate beverages and, hey, why don’t they serve root beer + vodka drinks?

2. Don’t just stand there, adjust. Oh no, your shoelace is untied and handily the time it takes to tie a shoe is equal to that of a red light stop. Don’t have shoelaces? Well, you do have a rock in your shoe…shake that shoe out! Other adjusting: rolling up sleeves (does not work for short sleeved shirts), or buttoning and re-buttoning your jacket with concentration (from across the street, this will look as if you are actually doing something).

3. Wear sunglasses with mirrored lenses to avoid the stare-down.

Situation #13 – Stuck in the middle with…no one to talk to.

18 06 2008

The situation: When a large group of people gather around an equally large table, it’s natural for several sub-groups of conversation to form. If you’re sitting in the middle of two such groups, you may have the rare privilege of being excluded from two different conversations simultaneously. What to do?

The solution: Chin up, reader! No need to feel twice as sad. This potential social crisis is actually a golden opportunity. A crisitunity, if you will. You have just lucked into the dinner table equivalent of Harry Potter’s Invisibility Cloak, freed from the scrutinizing gaze of your mealtime companions. We recommend that you take full advantage of the social world’s diplomatic immunity card. Clean out that earwax. Scratch that annoying itch. Eat that steak with your bare hands, then lick your fingers clean while slurping back your wine. All those days spent sipping tea with your pinky in the air have earned you this brief reprieve, so relax and enjoy it.

Situation #12 – The T.M.I.

12 06 2008

Situation : You are strolling down the street, trying to remember what exactly did happen in Season 10 of Beverly Hills 90210, when you spot a casual friend. You greet your friend with the usual “how are you?” Your friend, remember this is a casual friend, actually tells you how they are, and its not pretty. So how do you avoid the TMI (too much information) deluge and becoming the confidant by the convenience store?


In your head you may think this is a great opportunity to recite the lyrics to a well-known country song (Here’s a quarter, call someone who cares), however, this is not a good option. This will, as they say, bite you in the ass. This situation is best handled in two steps.

First, you must listen attentively for approximately 45 seconds. This timing issue is crucial because if you listen attentively for too long, you will only encourage more self-revealing information. For example, if your casual friend initially responded to your “how are you” with a “shitters, I just got dumped, I am so lonely, life is miserable”, listening for too long may bring out more information : “…AND he/she gave me genital warts!” This is not something one needs to hear on a street corner. We also advise to season this attentive listening period with some “mmm” in agreement and looks of shock (how could he/she!).

The second step is to do the ol’ hand on the forearm, perhaps do a little sympathetic head tlit and a 1.5 second eye close and then say “It sounds like you have been through a lot and it seems like a good time for you to focus on yourself. I should leave you to do that”. You must then briskly walk away.

Alternately you could give the ambiguous “I really would love to listen, but I have an emergency to attend to”. It is best to follow this with an awkward sound “ack”, grimace, a “sorry” and then BOLT.

Alert! A potential second awkward situation is when you spot said casual friend ata time when they are not as depressed as Ray Ramano sounds. In this situation, avoid ALL talk about the T.M.I. incident.  In fact, avoid any discussion on topics related, even remotely, to why they were depressed because they may be reminded of their sadness.  Then they will find you. And disclose more information. This is a circle of awkwardness even we cannot get out of.

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.