There’s witnessing an uncomfortable moment, and then there’s the full-body cringe that comes with experiencing second-hand embarrassment. There’s a big difference, and the people here who have shared their horrifying stories have firsthand experience. When it happens, it can range from utterly hilarious to devastatingly awkward. Cringe on to these shocking moments of second-hand embarrassment.
1. Drinking for One
I worked concert security. One shift, after the show finished, we were slowly moving the crowds toward the exit. Three of us guards were walking together when one of them spotted a woman standing just outside of the bathroom, holding a beer. This guard (female) walks up to the woman and says, “You really shouldn’t be drinking that while pregnant.”
The woman replies, “I’m holding this for my husband until he gets out of the bathroom.” The other guard and I pick up the pace to distance ourselves from our fumbling co-worker when we hear the woman continue “Also, I’m not pregnant.” I’ve never run so fast from a situation in my life…
2. You, But With a Woman’s Touch
My buddy tried hitting on my sister. “I always thought it would be cool to have a chick that’s a female version of [my name here].” Swing and a miss.
3. You Kiss Yours With That Mouth?
I was at a college basketball game years ago when there was a bad call on the ref’s part, and the guy like two rows ahead of me and my friends yelled out something like, “You screw your mother with that mouth?!” Like it was really weird and inappropriate and not something you’d yell at the ref because it makes no sense.
Everyone around him just got quiet and turned around to get a look at the guy who just yelled that with a “What the heck is wrong with this guy” look on their faces.
4. Everybody Hates a Tourist
I once went out with my mom and one of her friends. She kept flirting with the young Hispanic waiter. When he asked us what we wanted to drink, she said “agua” really exaggerated-like and then turned to us and said, “it’s Mexican for water.” Cringe. That was only one of the many things she did. She also kept talking about how handsome Hispanic men were any time he was around.
She was at least twice his age. I actually found the guy after we were done and apologized for her behavior…
5. Not Getting to the Bottom of This One
It was in my public speaking class at a community college over a decade ago. I can’t remember the exact assignment or the context of the assignment, but we had to give a speech in front of the class every week. This girl got up in front of everyone and gave a full five-minute speech about how her friend “did it in the butt hole and didn’t like it.”
I have erased most of what happened from memory—for good reason—but I just remember her shouting, at the top of her lungs, the phrase “in the butt hole” multiple times in five minutes. I have never been more uncomfortable in my entire life and you could tell the entire class felt the same. Then I looked at the professor in the back of the class and she was white as a ghost.
Like, she didn’t know how to process what the heck just happened. Sitting through five minutes of that was the most uncomfortable experience I’ve ever had in my entire life.
6. An “F” for Effort
My dad came on a field trip back in elementary school. We had an admittedly attractive substitute teacher that day, and she was introducing herself to all the parents. Sub: “Hello, I’m Miss Fine.” Dad: “Why yes, you are.” She immediately just walked away.
7. That’s Not What We Mean by Get a Room
I work at a Japanese restaurant, and one couple comes to mind. It was the “worst” for everyone else involved. We offered “private” rooms that have sliding doors, and this couple clearly was hitting it off very well… to the point that after a few drinks, she had moved to his side of the table and they just went at each other’s faces & bodies for about two hours.
They could have done all that with the doors closed and it would have been less cringey—still cringey nonetheless—but no, the sliding doors were wide open for all the patrons to see. Kids, big groups of people, waitstaff, runners, etc. If I remember correctly, they tipped pretty bad too, so it was not a fun time.
8. Waterworks Won’t Make It Any More Original
Once in high school, we had an assignment to write an introduction for an imaginary movie/book/play or whatever you wanted. The teacher showed us a short text as an example. The weird girl in my class used that text and read from it at the end of the VERY SAME class and we were all like “You didn’t write it, it was the example the teacher showed us just now.” But that wasn’t the worst part.
She burst out CRYING and said that we were all mean to her and that she wrote it all by herself and that it was just a coincidence that it was identical with the example. Cringed so hard.
9. So Much for “Father” of the Year…
I was one day going out with my dad and his working colleague in a bar to have some drinks. I had a fresh driving license, so I was going to not drink and drive them home after. It was not my dad whom I was embarrassed by, but his colleague, who said to some hot blonde sitting next to me on the bar totally drunk: “I think you need a proper daddy.”
The girl looks at him in disgust, and stands up and moves two seats further down the bar. She was my age as well, and the friend of my father was nearly double my age. Maybe because the girl was my age, I was even more embarrassed.
10. Newsflash, Spellcheck Exists!
I was a news reporter and I went to cover a local organization’s event. The host had a written out a history of the local chapter she wanted a teenage girl to read. The girl took one look at it and handed it back, saying “I can’t read this, it hasn’t been proofread.” Very awkward. The host read it herself—it sounded like it had been written by a first-grader.
11. Dine, Dump, and Dash
Was a cocktail waitress at a bar in a high-end restaurant a couple of years ago. This couple comes in right around peak hours; guy looks annoyed, girl looks really excited. The whole time, the girl is trying to talk to this guy and he’s completely ignoring her. He gets a call and talks on the phone for a good ten minutes, hangs up and starts talking to anyone around him but her.
He’s getting more and drunker and starts hitting on the female bartender and eventually the cocktail waitresses (myself included), telling us he could get us all much better jobs in Atlanta. The girl he’s on a date with has started crying at this point, and once he actually notices, he yells at the bartender because it was obviously the restaurant’s fault that she was upset. She yells at him to stop yelling at the bartender because he’s been such an awful date and he goes off, tells her he didn’t even want to eat here, she should’ve picked a better place, and he isn’t paying for her food and drinks.
He then tells her that she didn’t look fat in her picture. He wouldn’t have asked her out if he’d known she was that big (probably met online kind of thing). She retreats to the bathroom and the guy continues to make a scene. Another girl at the bar and I go to check on her while the bartenders and manager try to deal with him.
The girl is super upset and I tell her there’s a back door she can leave through and I can get her tab from the bartender. I go back out and the guy had already stormed out and refused to pay, leaving his date with a nearly $200 check. She didn’t have the money to pay, so a couple of the bar regulars covered it. Made the whole night super awkward and stressful. Definitely one of the more memorable experiences of that place.
12. Too Old to Be Treated Like This
My mother-in-law does stuff all the time where it’s embarrassing. One of the most embarrassing things I remember though is we were at Olive Garden since that is where my nephew wanted to go for his birthday. She asked for a senior menu. She had maybe just turned the age where you would even qualify or get a senior discount.
When the server told her they didn’t have a separate senior menu, she demanded to speak to a manager and complain about it. Everyone there was mortified. Pretty sure my brother-in-law left a hefty tip as part of an apology.
13. Keep Your Hands to Yourself
Our vice principal is a former Army Sergeant who’s built like a tank. He’s well-liked and an amazing role model in a community where many of our kids don’t have a good male role model.
On several occasions, I’ve seen mothers step well over the line and make very sexual comments to him directly in front of their kids. I mean in plain sight of their own children and in ways the kids notice. He’s always very respectful and often asks another staff member to join him if he sees one of these parents coming to talk, but it’s pretty damn trashy when it comes to some of the innuendoes I’ve overheard.
These aren’t jokes either. They try to get handsy with him too.
14. Bird, Not Meat
I worked at Wendy’s and two girls came in to order. They wanted to order off the dollar menu. One girl says, “Do you want a burger?” The other says, “Ew I don’t eat animals! … Can I have a crispy chicken sandwich instead?”
15. Go Back to Comedy School
Almost every day this past school year, this girl who sat next to me in our math class. Jesus, she’d literally raise her hand until the professor saw her, then say these incredibly dumb jokes. Example “Haha! Who has the brain cell?!?” And other trash that almost made sense but definitely didn’t fit the tone. Professor was a super quiet mid-30s guy who didn’t even try to smile in response.
I don’t blame him. Deeper in the year it got worse, like two or three times a class. I’d actually have to physically put my forehead against the desk because I felt so uncomfortable. I actually made a friend through it though. The other girl who sat next to me hated it too. We’d make uncomfortable eye contact and cringe together until the moments passed. I just hope everyone knew I wasn’t a part of that whole mess.
16. Mortally Confused
In an ethics class, a girl decked out in a horrible clash of designer name brands on every article of clothing and personal possession raised her hand and said, “The difference between rich people and poor people is that rich people know how to say thank you.” We were discussing the differences between wealthy and poverty level treatment in a courtroom.
Also, in a final exam for a Criminal Procedure class, there was a typo. I forget what it said, but it was supposed to say “mortal” as in “mortal wound.” Everyone pretty much made out what it was supposed to say through the context of the sentence, except this one girl. She went up to ask the teacher what the misspelled word meant, and he announced to the class the correct spelling.
She stood there and asked him what mortal meant. He just looked at her and said in the dead silence of a final exam, “You’re a 4th-year Criminal Justice major in a Criminal Procedure class. I am NOT going to explain to you what a mortal wound is.”
17. All Bets Are Off
My buddy and I were at our local bar with some friends, and he got smashed on one too many shots. He suddenly decided he was a pool shark and tried to show off in front of some girls, as he challenged everyone in the bar to beat him. In four games, he sank two shots—both by accident. All I could do was shake my head as he continued to make a spectacle of himself.
Worst of all, this was in front of a bar full of regulars, so he heard about that for years after.
18. First-Class Rejection at Bargain Prices
A guy proposed to his girlfriend at the booth across from my friends and me… at Olive Garden. When he got down on one knee and opened the box, she was shaking her head and then just stared silently. It must’ve been a whole 30 seconds of pure silence, but it felt like an eternity. Then, the guy proceeded to describe the ring, how much it cost, the different aspects of it, etc.
Finally, the girl just went, “Nooooooo” and the guy just sat back down, and they tried to finish their dinner. I caught eyes with our server and he made the most perfect “holy hell that was bad” face. Geez that was awkward. I still picture him saying, “My love for you is like these breadsticks… Unlimited.” He didn’t say it, but I still picture it.
I really don’t think she rejected him because of the location. Obviously, I can’t be certain, but she seemed like a nice girl and had this “What’re you doing? You hardly even know me” expression on her face.
19. Slip-and-Slide to Heaven
Watching pallbearers lose control of a coffin they were carrying down a steep set of granite church steps after the funeral was over. An ice/sleet storm took place during the funeral service, so the steps were slick. Several pallbearers went down as the coffin landed on the granite steps and slid the rest of the way down to the sidewalk below.
Fortunately, the lid didn’t open. But we all felt bad for them as the look in their faces showed they were mortified.
20. Caught Red Handed
Actually, a week ago. We had just gotten out of our final exam for the year, and this girl is making her way to the door. Before she even reaches it, she says to her friend: “Yeah, I had to copy a few parts of my book to reach the word count.” You ever hear a record scratch in real life, and that 90s meme following it? That pretty much happened.
The teacher called the girl up to the front and silently, without a word, began to go into the paper logs and saw that Turnitin had a 75% plagiarism rate. It was…well, for her? It probably sucked. But for the rest of us? Golden city of how do you screw up this bad.
21. Eyes Bigger Than His Wallet
My ex coming out for dinner with my parents, knowing he wouldn’t have to pay, and always ordering the most expensive thing on the menu. One time in particular, we all ordered pasta dishes that were about £10 each and some tap water for the table, and he ordered a £30 steak with sides and a beer. Never felt more embarrassed in my life.
22. When Fandom Life Makes You Want to Die
A woman in the store I work with is the most cringe-inducing person I’ve ever met. She sings to customers unprompted and without saying anything else to them and then stares at them expecting praise. She used to wear a shirt that says, “I write fanfiction, what’s your superpower?” and refused to put her apron on so everyone would see it until management had to ban shirts with writing on them.
She tells customers about her fanfiction in detail. She almost physically fought another employee who is a Captain America fan because she wouldn’t admit that Captain America is “a complete piece of trash who deserves to die.” She keeps going places she has no reason to be in and getting stuck so one of the guys has to “rescue” her and if the person who comes and gets her isn’t a dude, she’ll get stuck again.
She tries to sneakily listen to conversations so she can butt in with one of her “impressive” but doesn’t realize a 400lb. woman can’t sneak for anything. And she forgets (or pretends to forget) to take her medication at least once a week and then overexaggerates her symptoms for sympathy. The last time she did it she rolled around on the floor and pretended like she didn’t know who anyone was until someone told her she needed to go home if she was that affected.
Also, she has a crush on me. And a crush on my brother. And a crush on our exceedingly gay manager. And a crush on half the stock team (except, of course, the black/brown guys). And she thinks she’s sexy and suave. I’m a bigger person so I can’t say much but like, the woman genuinely looks like a pig. She also hates women and thinks she’s better than all of them, so she won’t listen if a woman gives her directions.
She’s basically a female neckbeard, right down to the fedoras—she wears a fedora into the store sometimes and then throws a fit when she can’t wear it on the floor. This would all be…Well, not normal, but at least a little more understandable if she were in her teens, but she’s almost 30 years old.
23. Fractionally Dumb
A girl in math class didn’t understand fractions. We got down to this because the teacher was explaining something else pretty simple that she didn’t understand. So, broke it down and figured out she didn’t get fractions. Well, that’s a little odd, but with a minute of explanation, she should get it. Nope. Teacher asked, “What is larger, 1/2 or 1/3?” The girl said three is more than two so 1/3 is larger.
Teacher drew two circles on the board, divided one in two and the other in three parts. “Which is bigger?” Girl gave the same answer. Teacher erased both circles, grabbed two pieces of paper, ripped one in half, one in thirds. Held up a piece of both “Which one is larger?” Girl pointed out the 1/3 piece. “Forget that there are more pieces” and he tossed out the rest, holding up the initial two pieces again. “Just look at the size. Which one is larger?” Girl pointed out the smaller one again.
Defeated, teacher lowered his arms and walked back to his desk. “Please take no offense in this…but are you familiar with the words and concepts of ‘smaller’ and ‘larger’?” He asked, as this class turned more Sesame Street-y by the second. The girl said she did. Teacher pointed outside. “See those trees? Which is larger, right or left?” “Left,” girl said, and she was right. The left tree was about five meters taller. “Then which piece of paper is larger?” Holding them up again.
Girl pointed out the smaller piece and the teacher walked out of the classroom.
24. Five-Ring Circus
I worked in a resort hotel, high end, I waited tables in the fine dining restaurant. It was pretty common for people to propose there, so much so that I had a system for the whole thing. One guy came in and wanted to do the ring in the champagne thing, and I talked him into doing a dessert alternative that doesn’t result in a sticky ring and champagne on the floor.
Anyway, long story short. I bring the ring, she says, “Darnit, I’ve told you before I’m not marrying you.” He flips, she’s super calm about it and basically treats him like a child having a tantrum, which to his credit he was not screaming or anything, just very upset. He left, she ate the dessert, eventually, he came back and paid, and they left together.
25. Age Before Manners
I guess you could call him my step-grandpa? My mom’s weird husband brought his weird dad (part of it is autism, part of it is he’s an old man who’s never been challenged) to Olive Garden. First, he just sort of announces his drink order to the hostess while she’s doing menus. Easy mistake to make, thinking the hostess is the waitress.
Except his drink order is “I NEED a tall glass OF SKIM MILK.” Both the hostess and then later the waitress had to explain to him why they don’t just have a gallon of skim milk lying around. This made him so angry he said it was stupid that they had “the wrong cows.” So, I’m thinking, “Well, that was hell on earth. I guess old people forget not all restaurants are Denny’s, and autistic people have important habits and routines.”
I begin to relax, because at least he has water now. NOPE. As you know, Olive Garden brings many things to the table: drinks, soups, salads, bread, refills, cheese graters, and then more bread. Our waitress was new. So, she had a hard time carrying so many things on one tray, she took a few trips. When she showed up with a big salad bowl and a bunch of salad plates, he was furious that she forgot his soup.
When she showed up with the soups and breadsticks, he freaked out that she should have brought two baskets (except Jesus Christ, she DID bring two baskets.) I swear to god, at one point when the waitress poured water in his glass, I heard him try to go “No! I ordered milk,” but it was either quiet enough that the waitress didn’t hear, or stupid enough that she ran away.
The worst part of all this is that this 70-year-old man was allowed to adopt a 10-year-old girl. By the time they were 72 and 12, he had turned her into a total pariah. She had a major mustache that no one talked to her about, she didn’t wash, wore the same basketball clothes until they smelled, and she didn’t see anything wrong or unusual about her father making the waitress cry real tears.
So that was the night I cringed for like, two hours straight.
26. A True Believer
In a literature class, this girl asks, “So, all those Greek Gods and Goddesses, what happened to them?” The professor, confused, replies: “You mean in the story?” She continues, “No, like, WHAT HAPPENED to them?” The professor says, “I…I’m not sure I understand what you’re asking…” Finally, the girl asks, “Like, why are they not around anymore? Did they all die?”
The whole class was just stunned silence. The professor gave her a very vague answer like, “Well that’s open to your own interpretation.” I could tell she was trying not to sound condescending. She handled that way better than I would’ve.
27. You Crack Me Up, Old Man
Oh, this just happened yesterday! First class of summer semester in grad school, we were going around introducing ourselves. Professor wanted a typical “what do you do for fun” kind of answer, and this 50-year-old IT guy just deadpan says, “I love smoking crack.” Clearly, it was a joke, but it did NOT land, everyone else in the room just stared at him until he said he was kidding.
28. Too Young to Talk?
Saw a really young couple, likely 13 or 14, come in to the restaurant that I work at and not say anything to each other. Neither could look each other in the eye, they were so shy. They ordered their food barely above a whisper. Occasional cringe faces were made at the food they were staring at. They were having a very awkward time.
It was painful for them, as well as me.
29. A Recipe for Incompetence
I went to culinary school; it was me and three other girls in our dorm room. Filled with embarrassment for one of my roommates as another roommate desperately tried to explain to her that Hamburger Helper doesn’t have any beef in it, you have to buy the ground beef separately. She just did not understand. I have a billion stories about stuff she said/did.
She really was so ignorant and clueless about the wildest things. Which always baffled me because she came from a very affluent family with three siblings attending one of the biggest colleges in our state. Every single story makes me embarrassed for her.
30. It’s Gump!
Years ago, in a screenwriting class, we had the pleasure of having Budd Schulberg come to speak to our class because his son was also a student there. If you are not familiar with him, he wrote the screenplays for On The Waterfront and A Face in the Crowd, as well as a book called What Makes Sammy Run?, which is widely regarded as one of the best novels written about Hollywood.
He was talking about being a studio scriptwriter during the golden age of Hollywood, working for the studio moguls, working with the legends, and other topics that had me completely enthralled. He talked about a scene where he had two actors sitting on a bench, and a kid in the class says, “You mean Forrest Gump?” He said no and tried to return to the story.
The kid kept interrupting and asking about Forrest Gump and the bench. Keep in mind he was talking about a script written 40 years before Gump came out. Then he talked about On the Waterfront and the character Brando played, a former prizefighter. He talked about writing that famous “I could have been a contender” line. That kid asked him if it was for Mike Tyson.
At the time we snickered at this kid’s stupidity, but in hindsight, it was pretty insulting to make fun of one of Hollywood’s greatest writers.
31. Punch-Dial Drunk Love
My friend got drunk and usually, I am able to stop her in time when she tries to do something embarrassing. I was at the party with her and she said she had to go to the bathroom. I waited for her outside so I could drive her home but got distracted when my brother’s best friend (also drunk) started vomiting in the bushes next to me.
After a little while, I went back in the house to find my friend. Assuming she was still in the bathroom, I knocked on the door. I heard her muffled voice through the door and things like, “I’ve thought about this for a while…We should really give this a try,” and other things that were barely intelligible because she was just THAT drunk.
I barged in to stop her from doing whatever the hell it was she was up to only to find her on the phone. I took the phone from her and looked at the caller ID. It was our professor’s name. At 2 am she had drunk dialed our young, attractive creative writing teacher and told him she was in love with him (she was not).
The next day she had to sit through that class (very hungover) and she didn’t even care! She actually thought it was hilarious. Luckily, he was cool and just laughed it off when she apologized later. In short, my friend drunk dialed our professor, confessed her undying love for him, and had to sit through his class for an entire semester.
32. The Real Michael Scott
In my boyfriend’s speech communication class a guy got up to give his speech. It was obvious he didn’t have one prepared. He started with, “All right; ladies raise your hand if you are single.” “So the reason you ladies are single is you need to lower your standards.” He then called a super athletic, good looking classmate to the front and said, “You keep going for these guys when you should be going for” and proceeds to call the super-obese guy in the class to the front.
I can’t make this stuff up.
33. Hell on Wheels
Someone I was dating and I were ordering at Culver’s drive-thru. She was talking to her mom over the car’s Bluetooth and then all of a sudden, her and her mother started cursing and yelling at each other. Well, if you don’t know, at Culver’s the whole shop can hear you if you’re at the drive-thru. The manager came barreling out with a red face telling her, “You have to leave now! This is a family establishment as people don’t want to hear your profanity!”
That only angered her more and she started going off on this manager. I thought maybe I could be the voice of reason. I was wrong. I say, “Hey let’s just go somewhere else. We don’t need them spitting in our food.” I personally don’t think they would’ve, but she’s a germaphobe to the max and I was just trying to convince her to leave.
She left alright….and I just stood there with the manager feeling so embarrassed about her anger issues and then getting kicked out of the car.
34. You Can’t Bank on Love
Mid-20s-aged couple on a date. First date I think but I’m not sure. It seems a bit awkward but they make small talk throughout dinner. When it’s time to pay, the guy asks for separate checks. Girl looks surprised. He pulls out his card, pays, and then goes to the washroom. I run the girl’s card (she already looks nervous) and it gets declined. We try again, it is declined again.
I ask her if she needs a moment to figure it out (check her online banking or whatever) and she says yes. Guy comes back. She runs her card again (declined) and he sits stone-faced while she is getting more and more anxious. I walk away again, and when I come back the guy ends up paying for it. He wasn’t thrilled. It was super awkward for all of us, but I cringed so hard when it was obvious that she had just EXPECTED him to pay for her.
35. What Planet Was She On??
Teacher here. I once had a girl in my class who thought that there were people living on Venus, and that we just couldn’t talk to them because they didn’t have access to phones.
36. Birth… Day… Wait a Minute…
I was on a family vacation with my cousins and grandparents, as we would often do when we were all still kids. My oldest cousin, who was 12 at the time, interrupted the various conversations in the van so that she could share the miraculous revelation she had just come upon. When we asked her what it was, she said, with the straightest face you can imagine, “I was born…on my birthday!”
Needless to say, laughter and ridicule erupted, and to this day we tease her about it.
37. Language Not Included
I met someone who genuinely thought that her adopted grandbaby from Korea would grow up automatically knowing Korean and have a Korean accent.
38. Let’s Get Ready to Rumble…Eventually…
My college did a free “Field Day” event, where they hosted rides and games and other stuff during the springtime. They had a big sumo wrestling ring where you put on the fat suits. I was sitting on a nearby bench watching people, it was a pretty fun time just watching people bumble around. Then this guy comes up, and he probably weighs… 450, 500lbs.
They start trying to fit him into the sumo suit, and it’s pretty clear right away that the suit is just not going to zip up on him. They tried for like 10 full minutes to get that suit on him. It might not sound like a long time, but it felt like 40 years when you have that many people just standing around watching as they try to fit a fat guy into an even fatter guy suit.
39. Paper Trail
I once had to explain to a colleague that she did not have to print and file every single email she received. I couldn’t believe it. She claimed she was concerned about making sure we had written records in case the computers stopped working. She was almost 70 when I told this to her and she had been doing it her whole career since email was introduced.
Literally every single email got printed. If there was an addition to an ongoing thread, she would print the whole damn thread again for every new email. I’m pretty sure this woman is responsible for at least one entire forest of tree loss. Nobody thought it was weird that her department was spending the most on toner and paper.
She was also head of the department, so maybe her subordinates were scared to say anything.
40. Nikelear Strike
So this was September/October 2016. Me and some friends are eating lunch and joking about nuclear war for whatever reason. Our other friend says, not as a joke, that a nuclear conflict would be good. So, I ask why, and he says (paraphrasing) that it would be good because it would cause all the Nike stores in the states to move to Canada (where we live), which means we wouldn’t have to pay as much for Nike products.
Now, up until this point, we were just joking around, but this guy was completely serious. We tried explaining to him that that probably isn’t how it would work but he just didn’t believe us. I was embarrassed for him, but mostly, it was just really bizarre.
41. The Big Toilet in the Sky
My friend thought the holes of the airplane toilets were an opening to the sky. She insisted that her pee went straight out of the plane and evaporated in the air, same with poop. “It’s true! I saw the clouds, too,” she’d say. Worst part of this is that I told my mom later that day and she had the same reasoning. Had to google it just to make sure I wasn’t crazy.
42. Dinner With a No-Hit Wonder
I work at a dinner theater. We usually do proposals where we set up a “random draw” where the “winner” comes up on the stage to win their prize and are then surprised by their partner, who proposes. It’s usually sweet and makes everybody in the room all fuzzy and warm. This one guy wanted to take it further, and requested to perform a song—he brought his own music and everything.
We’re pretty easy-going at this job, so we agree to let him do it. We do the fake draw, the woman comes up on stage in front of a room of 400 people, and the music starts to play. Apparently, this guy was a little nervous, and he compensated by having a few drinks. So what follows is a slurred performance of a song written by this guy that seemed to focus on how he was sorry for cheating on this woman with her sister, and at the end of it, he gets down on one knee and proposes.
Usually, this gets a round of applause, encouraging the person to say yes, but not after that train wreck of a performance. The poor woman was just holding her face the entire time and starts shaking her head and says, “No, what’s wrong with you?” She storms off and leaves him and our stage manager on stage to a bunch of murmuring from the audience.
The only thing our stage manager can think of to say on mic is, “Well, that’s that.” The guy ended up staying for the rest of the show and had many more drinks. That was years ago, and it still remains one of the cringiest things I’ve ever seen.
43. Gettin’ Freaky
I interviewed a job candidate who came in and immediately said how hot my administrative assistant was—but then, it got worse. He asked if she was single or “Open to freaky Fridays.”
44. At Least Everyone Was Understanding
Back over the summer, my wife and I had a cookout and, as we do sometimes, we invited some of the neighbors, including a family who had just moved in a few weeks before. As we’re all hanging out, my wife noticed the wife of the new family was constantly on the phone, so she asked her if everything was okay and if she needed help.
The woman explained that her father had suffered a heart attack a few nights before and that her mother was just keeping her “in the loop.” She then said they were also looking into legal action of some kind because her father had several broken ribs after the heart attack, and that someone must have been “too rough” on him.
At that point, my wife said, “I don’t think it’s that they were too rough on him. If they had to perform CPR, it’s highly likely that is when his ribs got broken. It’s unfortunate but, statistically, broken or cracked ribs happen about 30-40% of the time.” The woman looked at my wife and said, “I don’t need your opinion or some factoid you picked up while surfing the Internet.”
My wife kind of shrugged and said, “Actually, I didn’t read that on the Internet. It’s a fact that I learned when I was doing my training to become a paramedic, and they told us it would happen. It still scared the heck out of me the first time it happened, though…and I still whisper ‘I’m sorry’ when it happens to this day 15+ years later.”
After confirming with several other people there that my wife is, indeed, a paramedic with over 15 years of experience and knew what she was talking about, she apologized for her “snippy” answer and said she was “just stressed out.”
45. Toddler at Heart
EMT here. I once responded to a call about a girl who decided those toddler swings, with the seat that you stick their legs through like a little basket so they can’t fall out, was made for a teenage girl. She got stuck and lost blood flow to her legs. We had to cut her down and get her to a hospital to have it safely removed, due to it basically becoming a tourniquet on both her legs.
I thought back to all the times I messed around in the park with my friends as a teen and thanked my lucky stars that it hadn’t been me.
46. What Goes Around, Comes Around on Your Outfit
Riding home on the express commuter bus a few years ago, about a 45-minute ride. Everyone on the bus was professionals after a long day, so it’s very quiet, as opposed to a city bus. We’re just finally pulling into the station when I feel something splatter all over me. The lady behind me has thrown up rather violently, and because she was trying to hold it in, it shot over herself, me, the guy next to me and the guy next to her.
I understood what was happening and the first thing that I thought was, “Oh god, I bet she feels terrible.” I snapped open my work bag and handed her some thick napkins I keep with me, then cleaned myself off. One of those moments where I really felt like an adult, thinking about another person first.
47. The Origins of a Dessert
Not exactly an expert, but I overheard my Italian-American co-worker telling another co-worker that tiramisu is Japanese. His explanation was pretty in-depth. According to him, the Japanese invented it, which is why it has the phonetic structure that it does (he even pronounced it with a Japanese accent, Ti-Ra-Mi-Su).
Nonetheless, he said, the French had perfected it, creating the modern version most people are familiar with. I’m also Italian-American, though. Tiramisu is Italian for “pick me up.” I didn’t have the heart to destroy him in front of our other co-worker, but I laugh quietly to myself now whenever someone mentions tiramisu.
48. Tapped the Glass Too Soon
When I was waitressing in college, I witnessed the single most embarrassing thing to happen to a person to date. Right in the middle of their dinner (and in the middle of our Friday night dinner rush), this poor guy stands up, taps his wine glass to get everyone’s attention, and then proceeds to tell EVERYONE what a fantastic person his girlfriend is, how much he loves her, and how lucky he is to have her in his life.
The whole time this is happening, she is just sitting there watching him with the most boring look on her face. It was so weird. Kind of like, “Yeah, tell me something I don’t know.” Then the poor guy pulls out a ring, gets on one knee, and asks her to marry him. She gives him the most disgusted look imaginable and says, “THIS is the ring you expect me to say yes to? Are you stupid? Could you be any cheaper?”
Then she gets up and walks out, leaving the poor guy just kneeling there. I didn’t charge him for the meal.
49. Not Your Private Arcade
Was at a friend’s graduation ceremony with my dad and a few friends. My dad started playing a video on his phone with the volume at max and everyone heard (literally all eyes were on him). I had to tell him his video was so loud everyone was looking. He stopped the video but didn’t think it was a big deal. My friends and I who were sitting right next to him were cringing. Later I found out my dad is actually deaf in one ear, which explained a lot over the years looking back.
50. A Crucial Mishearing
I had to explain to someone that gonorrhea is not a country, it’s an STD. A student walked into my history class and said: “My mother’s boyfriend is from gonorrhea!” I asked her to repeat herself thinking I had heard things wrong…but she said the exact same thing. We had just finished a unit on Ghana. She thought we did a unit on the country of gonorrhea.
I only had one question: Was the boyfriend was from Ghana, or did she hear them talking about an STD? I never found out the answer, but I’ve never forgotten how awkward it felt to hear her say that out loud.
51. A One-Man Flash Mob
I was in a class with about 50 other people when this really quiet guy stood up and started to play “Gangnam Style” out of his phone and started doing the dance with a wide grin on his face. Nobody laughed, and so he sat down after about 10 seconds of singing and dancing, and the lecturer proceeded to carry on with the lecture.
52. The Rank Smell of Rejection
A guy got stood up. He then drank a magnum bottle of red wine (8 glasses of wine) and ate three apps out of depression. His date called him, and he started cussing her out. He asked for more wine and then I had to cut him off. So he got up and tried to run out of the restaurant with a bottle he grabbed from a rack. An off-duty cop tackled him in the lobby, but then it somehow got worse: he pooped his pants in front of everyone waiting for a table.
He lied there screaming with the guy holding him down until the cops arrived and arrested him. This is my fondest memory of being a bartender at Olive Garden.
53. All in All, He’s Just Another Brick in the Wall
In middle school, a kid decided to don his karate wear and break a brick for the talent show. This intense music starts playing, and he comes out. Bows his head and…HIYAA! Hits the brick. It doesn’t break. Tries a couple more times. It remains unperturbed. He stomps off the stage in tears. I’m sure to console him people told him, “No one will remember this in 10 years!” It’s been more than 10 years. I still remember him as the kid who couldn’t break the brick.
I worked at McDonald’s back in high school, and one time this older guy goes into the bathroom and somehow locks himself in. The cops and fire department start rolling in. It’s a small town, so anytime there’s any stupid call, everyone shows up. They couldn’t get the door open with an ax either.
So finally, one of them comes in with a ladder and I watch them have an argument over who gets to climb through the roof. Eventually, the skinnier one climbs through the ceiling panels, drops into the bathroom, and unlocks the door for him. It was pure insanity and I loved every second of it. I’ve got a picture of the guy halfway into the ceiling buried in my photos somewhere.
55. Drop Out While You’re Behind
An integral part of my architecture education was what we called either critiques or juries. Basically, you’d present your work in front of a group of your classmates and professors to which questions could be asked and suggestions are offered. It was an incredibly valuable part of our education, as getting and offering feedback really encouraged more critical thought about what we were doing.
Unfortunately, it also meant that if you produced bad work, you’d get torn to pieces. Anyway, come our final jury presentations for the semester, this one guy pins up his presentation materials and physical model and gives his presentation. It was bad. Seriously bad. Aside from only taking up a quarter of his allotted time, it looked like his presentation materials were half-finished after a night of fervent scrambling to get the work done.
There just wasn’t enough to even start to ask questions or give suggestions to him. So, everyone, trying to think of at least something productive to say, kept completely silent. It was probably only 15 seconds, but it was the absolute most awkward silence of my life. Eventually, one of the professors spoke up and said something along the lines of, “If this is the kind of work that you think is acceptable, you probably shouldn’t look at continuing in this program.”
To which the guy just replied, “Sorry” and walked out. He didn’t show up the next year. So yeah, I have never felt as awkward as that, even in situations where I’m the subject of the awkwardness…
56. A Gentleman’s Dishonor
This was my freshman year of college in 2006. One of my gen ed class requirements was a minority studies class, and the only one left was Women’s Studies. I figured it would be a perfectly okay class, and it honestly was. The problem was this guy in the class named Carter. Carter was the precursor to the modern-day “Ladies, I must apologize for my gender/look at me I’m such a good ally to women” guys, and every time he raised his hand, you could see a lot of people in the room cringe.
He had said something dumb, and the professor had moved onto a new topic when he raised his hand again. He then said, “I just wanna apologize again for what my gender does to women.” I feel like everyone in the class was staring a hole through their desk because of how utterly embarrassing this guy was. The professor said, “Okay, um if that’s all you wanted to say, let’s move on…”
Oh lord, does thinking about that still makes me cringe.
57. Not-So Pitch Perfect
This happened in my high school theater class. As a final project, we (and a partner, if we wanted), were to choose a song/monologue/dialogue to perform. I had a dear friend, Emma, with a brave heart. She chose the song “All That Jazz” from the musical Chicago, which is a hard song even for seasoned performers.
In Emma’s sixteen years of life, no one had told her she was tone-deaf, nor had she figured it out for herself. You could feel how uncomfortable everyone was when Emma started to sing. Luckily, we weren’t a bunch of bullies and politely tried to sit through it. We were quite close-knit, and mainly just proud to see our friends perform.
Everyone had chosen their favorites and were so excited. So, we were painfully letting Emma sing her way through the song, until…cue Ms. Ellen. She was hired as a front office person. She answered the phone, took care of attendance and kids whose parents called them in sick, etc. It was her dream, however, to be in the performing arts. So, stupidly, our theater teacher took on Ms. Ellen as an assistant director.
None of us liked her, or this idea, but I still can’t believe what she did that day. After the first verse, Ms. Ellen began to sing the correct(-ish) pitch over Emma. I was horrified. She immediately lost all confidence she had and hurried her way through the rest of the song. The second-hand embarrassment was so tangible it was heartbreaking.
58. A Narrow Mind for an International Trip
Airline pilot here. The captain and I had a guy from another airline riding in the jumpseat between us in the cockpit of a US airline jet. The captain was a bit of a blowhard loudmouth and decided to make a comment when he saw an Air India plane: “You know what I hate most about Indian women is that big red dot on their forehead.”
The jumpseater said, “My wife is Indian,” and produced a photo from his wallet of his family including his Indian wife with the bhindi on her forehead. The captain only made it worse while he squirmed by asking some trash like, “Is she from Eastern India or Southern India, because I’m referring to the ones from….”
My mind was cringing so horribly I blanked out on the rest of the conversation.
59. They Come in All Shapes and Sizes
I once had a student ask me “What are those pyramid-shaped things in Egypt called again?” I have never seen a class laugh that hard before in my life.
60. Unleash the Karen
When I went to the pool with my family, my aunt forgot my cousin’s activity access card. Basically, in our town you get this one kind of ID card that allows you to get books at the library, prove you live in the town, and in this case, go to the pool for free all summer, otherwise you paid 10$. My aunt, by the way, is usually the chillest person ever.
I assume she’s gonna pay the fee and so I take my 10-year-old cousin toward the female side of the changing rooms. Then, all of a sudden, I heard a deafening screaming. “HEY. YOU ARE NOT GOING ANYWHERE /insert cousin name here/ UNTIL I FIX THIS WITH THIS WITCH.” I turn around. My aunt starts yelling Karen-style at this poor summer worker who must be about 14. She’s screaming that she always comes to THIS pool and it’s UNACCEPTABLE to make her pay when they ALWAYS have the card.
My cousin had to stay and WATCH THROUGH THE GATES because she couldn’t go in and my aunt just took the car and left. I paid so she could come in with us instead of, y’know, crying her eyes out because her mom can’t be darned to pay $10.00. She came back huffing with the card and nearly threw it at the employee before even realizing her daughter in the pool. She didn’t even look for her.
I wanted to die.
61. Bound in Holy Awkwardness
Recently went to a wedding where the groom had five or six different groomsmen, and they all gave a speech. First few were pretty good and funny. The last guy that went tried way too hard to make it funny. He started off with some lame cliché joke about how the bachelor party was crazy and that they’d never talk about it again.
He actually paused and waited for laughter and not a single person laughed out of over 150. Then his hands started shaking, and he kept losing his place. I think he eventually gave up after about two minutes of torture and just said, “To the bride and groom!” It was horrific.
62. A Fairy Tale Romance
A student once asked, “Are mermaids real?” Before I even had the chance to answer, she aggressively blurted out, “I don’t believe in dinosaurs.” She was 16 years old.
63. In a Galaxy Far, Far Away…This Still Isn’t Cool
When I was in the seventh grade in Texas History class, we had an in-class assignment in groups of three that required us to read a passage from the textbook and then summarize it in a skit for the class. I was grouped with a good friend, who we can call Karen, and a girl who was known for being really socially awkward who we will call Janice.
Janice was that type of socially awkward that tried really, really hard to be “cool”, but failed miserably while wearing a Naruto headband every single day. Our passage was about cattle herding, and for some reason, Janice got it into her head that it would be hilarious to hum the Star Wars theme song, but instead of regular humming, moo it.
She wanted to moo the Star Wars theme song at the end of the skit. She tried to convince us, but Karen and I did not want to get destroyed by our classmates, so we refused. When it was our turn, we completed our skit and started to sit back down, and Janice looks at us and screams “PLEASE?!” and we both just shook our heads.
She burst into tears and explained that she wanted to do something cool for the performance, but we refused, so could she please do it on her own? The teacher told her to go ahead. Janice, still sobbing, stood in front of the class and moo-ed the entire Star Wars theme song, but the tune was unrecognizable since she was sniffing and gasping in between moos. So, we all just kind of sat there for a solid five minutes, watching this girl in a Naruto headband bawl and moo.
64. Nearly Fatal Mistake
In high school, I worked at a local hardware store. We also refilled propane tanks for gas grills. After a summer or two of doing 10 or more tanks a day you get good at guesstimating how full a tank is just by picking it up. One particularly hot day a customer comes in and sets his tank down next to me and asks for a fill-up.
I pick up the tank and inform him that the tank is full and does not need a fill-up. He looks pretty agitated already with this short exchange and says that he checked that it was empty and would I just fill it up. To this, I inquired how he checked. There are several ways to check, one being by the weight of the tank, another is the thermal strip on the side (which his tank did not have). The other is to pour hot water down the side and feel where it gets cold.
His reply gave me chills—this blithering idiot lucky to be alive. He said he checked it by holding his cigarette lighter in front of the valve and opening it. To this I replied: “You ought to write to your congressman and representative, because they saved your life today. This tank has an OPD safety valve on it that prevents the gas from coming out without anything attached.”
He walked out without another word and with a very red face.
65. Kids Say the Darndest Things
I had to bring my six-year-old son in for stitches on the back of his head. The emergency room doctor was from the Caribbean and he had pretty heavy accent. My son, who has Asperger’s and a history of being very blunt, told him to “Speak English.”
66. Director’s Cut Commentary
My mom went through this phase where she would talk out loud during movies, specifically about whatever is going on in the movie. She was also terrible at paying attention to what was going on, so often times what she was explaining was totally incorrect. In addition, she would try to talk over the movie. Mom would occasionally have to yell to make sure that she was being heard over the action scenes.
Imagine, if you will, watching the aftermath of the stampede scene from The Lion King and the person next to you in the theater yelling out “SIMBA IS SAD BECAUSE HER DAD DIED!”
67. Abled-Bodied and Able to Be Rude
My friend chatting up a girl in a wheelchair. He didn’t intend to be patronizing but he really, really was. Like telling her how hot she was in this amazed tone of voice as if no girl in a wheelchair could ever be a hottie. He was trying so hard to ignore the wheelchair that it just became super obvious that was what he was doing. I cringed so hard I nearly snapped my neck.
68. It Runs In the Family
I was at a friend’s brother’s 21st birthday party and was standing around talking with some other guys. On the driveway, a bunch of girls were dancing to the music. It was a really chill night. But it was about to get extremely un-chill. The guy next to me said to the guy on his other side “How about the rack on that blonde chick?” The other guy replied, “That’s my daughter.” The first guy mumbled something and left at a brisk walk.
69. Ready, Aim, Fire
The number of cashiers who my father demanded the manager fire because they were too slow, rang us up wrong, etc., including one they actually did. I’ll never forget that girl taking her Home Depot apron off and walking away sobbing. To his credit (I guess?), my dad seemed surprised that it actually worked. He must have felt at least some level of guilt, and never did it again.
70. So Much for the Language of Love
My sister was on a first date with some guy she met online and was nervous, so she had my significant other and I meet up with them. The guy was super braggy about being able to speak German, not knowing that my S.O. was raised there and speaks it fluently. So, my S.O. tries to start a conversation with him in German. The guy apparently only spoke a few words of German and left embarrassed and without any chance of a second date. My S.O. still feels a little guilty about it.
71. No Laughing Matter
It wasn’t me, it was my neighbor. My neighbor is morbidly obese and my mom is Korean, and they joke with each other about it. My neighbor makes racist comments to my mom, she makes fun of my neighbor’s weight. Good or bad, it’s just part of their friendship. They often did it in public too, but it was always obvious when they were standing next to each other that it was an inside joke.
At one point, my neighbor was out with her husband (they’re both white). She was at a check-out counter when she made a fatal error. She blithely remarked about all the darn Koreans taking over the region. The check-out lady just stares at her. Then the husband leaned over and said, “It’s not as funny when your friend isn’t standing next to you.”
Cue my horrified neighbor desperately trying to explain that she wasn’t a racist, that it’s an inside joke. “My friend is Korean!” which of course just made her look worse. My mom lost it when she heard the story.
72. There’s Got to Be a Better Way to Say “Occupied!”
I was on a train going between London and Manchester (UK) and went to use the bathroom. The toilet at the end of the carriage was disabled-accessible, so it had a wide curved door that automatically opened at a steady and slow pace—about 20-30 seconds to complete, uninterruptible, retracting in a semi-circle to allow wheelchair access to the carriage.
If you’ve traveled on these trains before, you’ll know that to close the door you enter the stall, push a button to close the door, then when it’s finished closing, you press another to lock it. Someone had not told this to the lady in the loo. Just as I arrived, another person coming from the other direction pushed the outside button to open the door and it started its inevitable arc.
For at least 30 excruciating seconds, the button pusher, myself—and eventually everyone sitting in the packed commuter carriage beyond who was facing in our direction—got to see the woman bend up from the seat, reach and hop to the other side of the cubicle and desperately pummel the door-close/lock buttons inside. Pants around the ankles the whole time.
White bottom flashing. At a merciless pace, the door opened fully, contemplated its life and then closed on the pitiful image within. The button pusher and I looked at each other, said nothing and went back to our seats.
73. Good Grief
My mother and I were out walking and we came across an older couple we knew from the local church. Their eldest son had died the previous year from an inoperable brain tumor, and their younger son just moved out for university. Mum starts with, “Must be nice to have the house to yourself! More time for Church!”
The conversation devolves from there. She ignores all hints to drop the subject, including the mother stating they hadn’t been back to the church since their son died. The couple were obviously horrified. I couldn’t end the convo quick enough. Afterward, my mother told me I was just being immature and had no conception of what “polite adult conversation” was like.
74. The Holidays Aren’t for Nerds
A local radio station I listened to hosted some kind of Christmas charity event, where the DJs stood outside some kind of children’s’ charity drive and talked about it/talked to the people giving donations. They had been playing music in between asking people their names and talking about how much they had given stuff like: “Thanks to Dave from Cityville for the $300, say hi Dave!”
Dave: “Uh hi. You’re welcome. Happy holidays.” The cringe begins when a guy named Josh comes in to give some money to the charity. DJ: “Wow, Josh has given us $3,000, the most generous donation of the day!” Josh: “Yeah, haha, I did, so how much do you have now?” DJ: “Thanks again Josh, and I think that puts us at $10,000!”
Josh: “No no no, I mean after what I gave you how much do you have” DJ: “We have $10,000 in donations, Josh.” Josh: “No I mean, what number did my donation put you over?” At this point I’ve gone from confusion to realizing what Josh is trying to get the DJ to say, I’m actually facepalming for him. DJ “Well, before you donated we had about…$8,000?”
Josh: “No no… that’s not what I mean” DJ: “I don’t…quite know what you’re getting at Josh” Josh: “Get it? now you have, over $9,000!” DJ: “Um.,.What?” Josh: “Get it? after what I gave you, you have over $9,000!”. DJ: “Yeah…I don’t get it.” Josh: “Like there’s this show called Dragonball Z, and the guy in it…he says ‘Over 9,000!’ Hahaha.”
DJ: “Ohhh right, right. Yeah, alright then.” Basically, a guy donated thousands of dollars to charity over the radio just to get the DJ to say, “We have over 9,000.” I’m pretty sure she didn’t get the joke, and then he tried to explain it to her. I don’t remember a lot of the details or the exact amount but I’m pretty sure the guy donated in the thousands.
75. This Won’t Be on the Midterm
This poor girl walked into my lecture by mistake about halfway through. This particular professor really enjoys talking to all of his students and was super engaging even with 400+ students in his class. When the girl walked in, my professor stopped teaching, looked at the girl and asked if she was in the class.
She said she was and began walking towards the front where the open seats were. This is a fairly large lecture hall and all 200 students (approx. how many actually show up to class) were now forced to watch this poor girl walk towards a seat because the professor didn’t continue talking and just stared at her.
She got close to the front and I think the pressure of the whole room got to her and she said, “actually no I’m not,” and turned around and we all had to watch this poor girl climb back up the stairs and out of the hall. I was literally watching my worst nightmare.
76. Listen to Your Wing Man, Buddy
I always get this when I watch guys hit on girls unsuccessfully. One particularly painful example was a good friend of mine, who is not the best when it comes to flirting, and he had just come out of a long-term relationship so safe to say, he was rusty. At any rate, he makes a beeline toward this girl. I try to intervene and assure him that it will not work.
She was seeing someone, and her friend had told me that my friend, currently making moves toward her, weirded her out a little. I pleaded and pleaded with him to just refrain from doing it, but he was having none of it, as he thought I just wanted to take a stab myself. Anyway, I watch helplessly as he moves towards her, slides up and attempts to hold her hand.
She looks mildly scared, so he says to her in a fairly loud voice, “Don’t worry, I’ll hold you.” At this point, I have to look the other way as I am actually dying of embarrassment for him. She then slowly starts moving away looking quite fearful and then briskly walks outside. He comes back over and asks if he should go for her friend instead.
77. What a Crappy Story
I am a registered nurse in a hospital emergency room and all of these these stories vividly remind me of the time when I was caring for this 12-year-old girl because her mom had brought her in for constipation. This mom was really over the top with her worrying, but it is her kid after all, so I did my best to cut her some slack.
So I give the girl an enema and ask her to try to hold it for approximately 20 mins if she can, then I leave the bedside to go and check on another patient in the meantime. Out of the corner of my eye just a few moments later, I see the girl doing the “Buttcheeks Clenched Sprint” for the bathroom, with her mom trailing closely behind her. Then, I hear some wild shrieking coming from the bathroom.
As it turned out, the enema was enormously successful, and this petite 12-year-old girl had produced a poop the size of my arm. The mom saw this, freaked out, fished the monster turd out of the toilet, and began to chase the doctor around the department, insisting that he take a look at the size and examine it immediately. She then began screaming that this anaconda-like poop must have caused some internal damage or something.
The poor daughter began sobbing in the bathroom—not because of the pain, but mostly from the embarrassment. Meanwhile, the doctor continued trying to get the hell away from the mom and her giant object. Eventually, I was asked to chase down the mom with an empty bedpan and insist that she put the turd in there instead of in her bare hands.
78. Fun Isn’t Always Accessible
I worked at the entrance gate for a theme park. Our season pass holders used a biometric scan of their right index finger to verify their identity. One day, a little girl walks up with her family, who only spoke Spanish, scans her pass and places her left finger on the scanner. My co-worker says, “Can you use your right finger sweetie?”
Then, her mother raises the girl’s right arm to show me she doesn’t actually have a right hand. Seemed to be due to a birth defect rather than a horrific accident. However, her left finger keeps getting rejected, so my co-worker had to call a lead over to override the old scan and re-do it. He then proceeds to say the same thing to the girl, followed by her mother raising the arm again.
It was definitely more awkward for all of us than the family, but it gets worse. About three months later it happened again, the same little girl. Absolutely mortifying.
79. At Least They’re a Happy Family
Sleeping over my friend’s house in seventh grade. I was trying to sleep on the floor, however, his parents decided to have very loud, wall-rattling sex. I laid there trying to fall asleep for about 15 minutes when a loud shriek hinted that it was over…I kinda laughed a little and my friend, who I thought was sleeping, just says “I am so sorry.”
We awkwardly laughed about it and then went to bed.
80. Silly Rabbit, Tricks Are for Kids
I was 15 or 16 and teaching the 2- and 3-year-olds at church. It was Easter, and one little boy comes in crying up a storm. Nothing that my friend and I do can console him. About halfway through he stops and just sniffles. At the end when the parents come and pick them up, he sees his dad and starts crying again, telling his dad that he doesn’t want anything to do with him. His mom comes and gets him, and my friend and I tell her about her son.
She was trying SO HARD not to laugh and told us why. The boy’s dad hit a rabbit on the way to church this morning, and the boy started to cry, thinking it was the Easter Bunny.
81. It Wasn’t Her Brightest Moment
I was 14 years old. My best friend—who was really only my best friend because I was a quiet autistic submissive type who would go along with whatever she, a dominant personality, said—was trying to fit in with the crowd of loud, funny “popular” kids. The only catch? Her personality just didn’t mesh with them, and she’s not that witty of a person.
She’d been cracking “jokes” and remarks in almost every class all week and so far, a pity chuckle was the best response she’d gotten. One day, we’re all in registration class waiting on our tutor to come in and take the roll call before we head off to class, and she thinks it would be super hilarious to get up and switch off the light.
She struts over, flicks it off, and as she’s walking back to her seat one of the language teachers walk in. He asked, “Did you just turn off the light?” She replied “Yeah.” He looked confused and just asked why. She responds, with the biggest grin, “Because it was bright,” and glances back at the class waiting for someone to laugh.
No laughter came. Everyone either looked confused, annoyed or, like me, scared as to what the teacher would reply. I sank down into my seat. The teacher looked uncomfortable, said “Well, yeah, that’s the point,” and left.
82. Marked in Absentia
My friend is a school principal, and he went to a wine festival and on his way home (slightly drunk). On the train, he runs into the parents of a boy he used to teach. They get to talking this, and that when my family friends asks how the boy is, the parents just look shocked and say “He passed away last year…you were at the funeral…you spoke.”
He apologized profusely, but I think that’s the most awkward story I’ve ever heard.
83. Not-So Secret Santa
My mum has done plenty of embarrassing things over the years, however the thing that immediately jumps out at me the most would have to be what happened to my sister. She had been dating this guy for a year or two on and off. Now, normally his ethnic background would not be important, but for this particular story it is. He’s Black and my family is English, so we’re all pretty much paper white. This was all back when my sister and I were in high school many years ago.
It was Christmas, so he and some family friends were invited over and everything was going great until it the time came for opening gifts. My mum, who thinks she’s hilarious, decided to give my sister (who was still a virgin at the time) a deck of cards filled with “positions to try.” Remember, this was also in front of our close family friends, not just the boyfriend himself.
She was already mortified by that alone, but the worst was still yet to come. Her boyfriend opens up his gift and it has a little card in it, along with a box of glow in the dark condoms. Mum: “Do you like the present? It’s so that she can find you in the dark!” Everyone: …Laughs nervously, while secretly wondering what on earth just happened…
84. A Woman of Few Words
My family was on a holiday trip to Dubai. Me and my mom went shopping by ourselves. Neither of us could speak Arabic, and my mom’s English is not that great, so I expected that I would have to do most of the talking, but what I didn’t expect was for her to completely ignore every single store staff. They would come up to her and talk directly to her and she would not even glance at them, just continue what she was doing and ignore them.
Also, she would interrupt my conversations with them whenever she felt like it. It felt pretty embarrassing at the time.
85. The Seven Seas of Regret
Stuck on a cruise ship for three days after my friend proposed to his girlfriend on the first freaking day and she said no. That same first night she made out with some random guy in the hot tub. I’m honestly not sure how devastated my friend actually was, but it was intensified by the fact that he’d drink himself stupid daily by 2 pm, which would lead to him going to beg her to get back with him.
At one point, she was sitting on the new guy’s lap at the bar and he grabbed her hand and “confessed his love for her” for what must have been the fifth time in two days. It was a constant battle of trying to pull him away and convince him to either go to sleep or come with us to another part of the ship. He is a good friend, so I felt terrible for him, ‘cause that was super awful on her part and tried to help him all he would allow, but it was awful to watch.
By the end of the cruise, the entire boat it seemed like knew what had happened. When I tried to bring it up with my girlfriend (who was on the cruise with me as well) days after we got home, she straight up refused to talk about it, saying that was painful enough at the time so we never need to speak of it.
86. Protecting Her from the Dangers of Verse
A 15-year-old genius girl arrived on our small liberal arts college campus. Her parents made her check-in by phone every time she got back from classes, randomly called during the evening to make sure she was still there, had the RA spying on her every move, and picked her up Friday at 2 PM. She said that dad paid the phone bill so he could see every call she made (this was before cell phones or the internet).
She loved poetry. We had a poetry slam on Wednesday nights at the student union cafe. She wanted to go, but they feared she would become too passionate in public. She took a risk and went anyway; they happened to call five minutes before she got back, and then kept calling until she answered. She told them she’d been in the bathroom, but then they started calling her friends (they’d made her highlight names in a campus student directory) and in just a few minutes they got a well-meaning fellow student to admit she was at the poetry night.
Her mom and dad showed up before midnight to move her back home. We never saw her again. Poor girl has no shot with parents like them.
87. Back on the Single’s Market
I was once traveling through Europe with a group of around 10 folks. We stopped in Paris one night and went out. We had a lovely dinner and then everyone was sticking about for drinks after. There was an old man who was sat alone at the table next to us. One of my friends asked him if he wanted to sit with us, and he seemed quite happy about that.
A few hours of talking, and the man had told this whole story about how his wife had passed away last year; she was the love of his life and they had planned to go traveling the world together, but her illness took her before they could go, and he was now traveling around because it was one of the last things she had said to him.
He goes around to all the places that they had said they would visit together, and he buys postcards to bring home and put in a wee area where he keeps the photos of his wife back at home. Now, the whole time, this guy was pretty much speaking uninterrupted, we were just listening to this beautiful story.
Everyone was a little bit drunk, but out of nowhere—after he had finished his story, told us all about his wife, shed a few tears—one of my friends absolutely blitzed, after a moment of silence goes: “So! What’s a good-looking man like yourself doing all on your own?!” The old guy kind of looks at us and says “Well, if I could be with my wife I would be.”
The friend replies with “Ah, c’mon, you gotta get out there you know? You should go talk to her” pointing at a waitress. We were horrified and are just like “Nooo, stop talking” because he had somehow completely blanked out and forgotten this whole heartbreaking conversation with this lovely old man.
And I get up and start to get him up to take him back to where we were staying and he, while moving is just like “you only live once” and keeps saying things like that while we walk away. The next day he was mortified and had no idea of the encounter and didn’t even remember meeting the guy.
88. Give Me the Plans or Else!
I worked at a science museum that had a hands-on area for kids. The aim of the game was for the child to solve a problem by themselves. Like “can you get x to do y.” They make something, test it, and figure out how to make it better. One day, a woman comes in practically dragging her five-year-old son. She sits him down beside me and starts poking me on the shoulder as I’m talking to another family.
“Tell my son what to do,” she says, standing over him. I tell the family to hold on a sec, as I explain the challenge to the newcomer. The whole point is to work autonomously, so it was alright, and I was used to working with a few rude/pushy parents, so I wasn’t surprised. I tell the kid the prompt, tell him he had a wide range of materials…
But no. The woman wants me to tell him every step of the process. “Tell him the answer! Tell him the answer!” she says repeatedly, grabbing his hands to make him fold paper, or reaching for my own. I start getting mad. “Ma’am, the goal here is to learn the scientific method. Make a hypothesis, test it, make conclusions and try again.”
“But you already KNOW the answer,” she says, “Tell my son! Or I’m calling your manager!” I don’t even have a manager. In the meantime, the poor kid is looking so embarrassed. Every time he tries to start something for himself, his mom reaches for his hands and tells him to wait for me to tell him what to do. The woman was so afraid of him failing when the whole point was to learn from one’s mistakes.
I’m so worried about how he’ll deal with mistakes growing up, with her around.
89. Pick On Someone My Size
Last year I taught fifth grade. I had a student for one block a day that was a little mentally unstable. She developed a crush on another girl and began writing her a ton of creepy notes. The school was handling it but apparently, the second girl’s mother didn’t think that was enough, so they drove to the first girls bus stop in the morning and started yelling and threatening her.
They basically had her cornered when the bus driver showed up and had to pry this raging mom away from the student.
90. Not a Doctorate in AV Equipment
Bear with me here. I do classroom tech support at a state university. I’m near the top of a fairly tall ladder of operators, who each do their own troubleshooting to try to fix an issue before passing it on to the next level. Got a call the other day for a “projector not turning on” (most common service call by far). It was for a private department at the law school on campus, meaning that their own IT/tech support had given up before setting up a service ticket (costs money) to have us check it out.
All levels of support beneath me passed it on up, until it was my problem. I showed up in the room—professor and around 20 young, intelligent-looking law students. The projector was powered on. I pointed that out to the professor. She replied, “But it won’t show my desktop.” I walked over to her computer and saw that IT WAS POWERED OFF.
I turned on her computer for her, watched the projector screen light up with her desktop, looked her in the eye and said, “Should work now.” Then I turned and looked at all the students and left. Freaking room full of academic millennials and who I assume is a very intelligent professor, and nobody thought maybe she should turn on her laptop? To say nothing of the half-dozen technicians who all gave up on the issue before I got involved.
91. A Class of Her Own
There is a girl in my class who is beyond help at this point. Her best moments: “I don’t want to donate my eyes because I don’t want people to see what I’ve seen.” “Gingers can’t be American.” “Yay! I got a D in French.” I just want to clarify the French grade, though. I don’t want to seem like I think I’m better than anyone because of grades.
I wrote this one down because she interrupted other people’s learning and shouted this out in the middle of the lesson. Honestly, as long as anyone tries in their test it’s fine, but she was on her phone most of the time.
92. It Was a Match Made in Hell
In terms of real life, a buddy of mine was talking to this girl we all knew, and they’d been getting pretty flirty. So, the decision was made to invite her camping with us in the hopes one of them would make a move. Flash forward to that night and our buddy did seemingly everything he could to screw it up—spilled beer on her, stuck his finger in her mouth for no reason while she had a look of what the heck is going on here.
Finally, somehow, she still didn’t hate him and toward the end of the night, he tried to kiss her and headbutted her pretty damn hard because he moved in too fast. After this, they had a talk because this girl was apparently the crown princess of second chances, and he threw up on her. Obviously, this was God’s way of intervening.