Relationships

What Was Your Most Embarrassing Moment?

dog hiding under sofa

When I was 13, the most mortifying thing happened…

It was December, the final day before the holiday break. To celebrate the occasion, the last class period was dedicated to a winter dance, a particularly low-budget affair, with a few errant, floor-grazing balloons and a lone bag of Doritos emptied into a punch bowl. Because this dance took place during the day, the windows of the gymnasium were covered with poster board to block out the light, lending the whole scene a horror movie vibe.

Nevertheless, I was excited. I wore my very favorite dress, a maroon velvet number from the dELIA*s catalog, paired with black platform Mary Janes. My “boyfriend” and I, whose relationship until that point was based on title alone, danced to the theme song from Titanic, awkwardly swaying to and fro under the watchful eye of our math teacher. When the final bell rang and we were dismissed, he walked me down the school’s front steps, over to the curb where the school buses idled, a line of massive yellow caterpillars waiting to drive us home.

I had never kissed anyone at this point, though most of my friends had, along with seemingly every character from the books and movies I loved. So while it wasn’t the last thing on my mind, I certainly did not expect my in-title-only boyfriend to plant one on me before I ascended the school bus steps. But that is what happened.

Meanwhile, from her elevated perch, my bus driver had a bird’s-eye view of the whole thing, and she was not amused. The moment this boy made contact with my face, the driver sat on the horn — a blaring panic button I can still hear to this day. The din lasted long enough to a) jolt me out of my skin, b) send my boyfriend running, and c) capture the attention of every human being within a one-mile radius.

And that is the story of my first kiss.

In a way, it was only fitting. In those days, squarely on the cusp of teenager-hood, my favorite thing was to read the “most embarrassing moments” columns in teen magazines. I wasn’t yet allowed to buy them, so whenever I could get my hands on a copy of YM or Teen, flipping to those confessionals gave me the biggest thrill. There was always a story about someone getting their period — at the prom, wearing a white skirt, at the prom while wearing a white skirt — or discovering the many things that can go wrong while kissing with braces.

What is it about embarrassing stories that so endears us to one another? They’re welcome reminders of the sillier side of our humanity, reassurances that, regardless of age or experience, feeling awkward is refreshingly universal. In the moment, you may feel like the only person to ever have felt that way, but somehow, on some level, you are never alone.

What’s your most embarrassing moment? Please tell us!

P.S. Awkward dating stories and the five words that changed my relationship.

(Photo by Erin Drago/Stocksy.)

  1. Conor says...

    Basically I was home alone for the week because my family and my grandparents were out of town. I didn’t have my spare key it was in my grandparent’s mailbox because they housesat earlier in the week and I was supposed to pick it up. It was about 7 pm and it just got dark and I just got out of the shower but I didn’t have a towel in there. I checked the inside towel rack and there wasn’t any there either. So I’m still dripping and I remembered we have a towel rack outside and I figured it was dark and it was a step around the corner in the backyard. So I carefully walked into my backyard naked in the dark but there weren’t any towels outside and when I got back to the back door it locked itself. So I was locked outside with no clothes and my spare key wasn’t home. So when I didn’t find anything to break a window with I tried knocking on a couple doors but my neighbors were all asleep by then. I really didn’t want to be outside naked during the day and the only way in was to get my spare key from my grandparent’s mailbox. I basically just checked the kitchen window at the oven until I saw it was about midnight and I figured I had no other options. So I grabbed a traffic cone that was in front of my house and ran through neighborhoods and down main streets to get my key at their house and then I had to run back. So long story short I had one of those nightmares where you’re naked in public and it is just as bad as it is in the dream.

    • Emi says...

      Oh my goodness I’m dying 😂😂

  2. Erin says...

    At my first real job out of college I was frequently in the position of writing to prominent scientists, who to science geeks like me are like rock stars. One time, I was asked to contact an especially well-known scientist. As I was waiting for a bit of extra information from my boss that I needed to include in the email, I decided to compose a draft of the email so that I could get the tone right. I also wanted to make sure I was not misrepresenting this person’s research, so as a placeholder I wrote something like, “because of your expertise in blah blah blah,” intending to read a bit deeper about her research to fill in later. The next day when my boss finally gave me the last information I needed to send the email, I filled in all of the missing blanks in my draft…except the ‘blah blah blah’. I hit send and then immediately read the email back to myself and realized my error, but it was too late to recall it… all I could do is issue another hasty email trying to explain and apologizing. The scientist replied to the request in the first email, never acknowledging what had happened…I was mortified, although I have to imagine now that she probably got a good chuckle out of it.

  3. alex says...

    So back in 2013, I dated this guy for like a year. One of the first times I was ever over at his house, he jumped in the shower and I waited around in the kitchen. Well, suddenly I have to poop. Like NOW. There was no way in hell I was gonna knock on the door and be like, “YO I’m groundhoggin’, get tf out of the shower.” I barely knew him.
    Now, I consider myself to be extraordinarily resourceful in times of desperation and this incident was no exception.
    I scan the kitchen and see a sizable stock pot perched on top of the cupboards. It’s my only hope; like, I’m sweating by this point. I grab that bad boy and decide I’m gonna take a cosmic shit in it. I do this dude a solid by lining it with a Superstore bag, OK, I’m not that primitive.

    I’m going to interject here & implore you to imagine the intense stress of not only having to shit like your life depends on it, but also the sheer pressure of the time constraint I was under. What if, dude comes out of bathroom – which was attached to the kitchen, I might add – and sees an essential stranger in his house taking a crap in his stock pot? What if?

    So anyway, I’m doing my human best to shit with the speed of light. You’d have thought it was the first dump I’d ever had in all my then 20-something years, given the sheer size. I should mention that it’s the middle of winter. I tie the bag and panic for a moment about where in the fabulous fuck I’m going to dispose of this poop.
    I bust open the kitchen back door and channel my inner Babe Ruth – I yeet that poo across the yard and into the alley, where it slams into the neighbors fence and rests peacefully on the snow bank, along with any shred of dignity I had left.
    I scrubbed that stock pot with the hottest water science has to offer and put it back on the shelf like nothing ever happened.
    Guy emerges moments later from the shower, none-the-wiser.

  4. sasha says...

    Back in Feb 2007, I was 19 and living in small town Brockville, ON. I ate a sausage n egg Mcmuffin from McDonalds for breakfast. Felt nauseous for a bit and it went away, so I decided to go to the library down the block from my apartment to use the internet. I’m on MSN talking to a friend, and suddenly, I slap my hand over my mouth and barf comes up with such force that it goes thru my fingers & onto the computer screen. I tell my friend I’ll BRB, lock my session, and run to my right, towards the bathrooms.
    I have to run through the reference book aisle, which I sewer in puke – I skid onto my knees like AC/DC at the help desk, wipe my face with a newspaper, and continue running to the bathrooms. As i’m fumbling for the light, i’m barfing on the mirror and the wall. I went Ramsey frickin’ Bolton on that bathroom. I get myself together as much as humanly possible, and head toward my computer. On the way, a library worker stops me and she says, gesturing to the vomit on the floor, “can you at least clean up the chunks?!?”. I said, “No, I think I have food poisoning, I gotta go!” and I go back to the computer, tell my friend i’m dying and log off.
    Once home, i’m literally crawling on my hands n knees to the kitchen, heaving so hard my vision is going black. Around 10 pm, my very old, very Italian landlady (who lived on the ground floor of the apts), took me to the hospital. They had to hold my pigtail-wearin’ ass down to give me a shot of Gravol (which didn’t work, FYI), and I fell asleep. I woke up and no one was around, so I decided to just walk the fuck home in -25 weather in the middle of the night. I don’t remember what I did with my clothes, cuz I walked home in a hospital gown, ya’ll. It wasn’t too far from my house, thank god. I didn’t have a cell phone at the time, so I did what I had to do.
    The next day, some dude was over visiting the girl next door and opened the shared bathroom door on me in the middle of some mind-bending diarrhea.

  5. Chantsy says...

    I was in labour with my third child. I had managed to book it all the way across the hospital parking lot and climbed three flights of stairs at 8cm, unbeknownst to me, at the time after my husband parked on the wrong side of the building (he had one job…!). Arriving in L and D I speedily made my way through triage during contractions, was placed in a gown followed by a bed and was in a massive hurry to get checked for dilation before another contraction came on. The nurse was quick, told me, congratulations you’re about to have your baby! Get dressed and we’ll get you in a room. I hastily got my underwear up and leaped out of the bed, pulled open the privacy curtain only to see a row full of five or six nurses staring at me. I thought they must be amazed to see this lady, almost fully dilated still standing but no, they were staring because I had managed to tuck the whole front of my underwear into my dressing gown!! One of them said, excuse me miss, you’ll want to fix your gown before going into the hall. Floor, swallow me please.

  6. Kayleigh Collins says...

    When I was in my early 20’s I moved to London and to celebrate I went out to meet friends in Camden. It was a beautiful sunny day, Arctic Monkeys was on my iPod and I was feeling myself! I was an independent woman bossing life.
    As I was walking down the street I noticed a few people staring but thought, who could blame them, I looked great! (Oh to be young!) I stopped to wait at the lights and a lady driving a bus rolled down the window and started talking to me, As I took out my earphones out I heard her shout “Your knickers are out!!!” I suddenly realised that EVERYONE was shouting out of their cars or honking their horns. My cross body bag had ridden my dress all the way up to my waist. I was mortified!
    Such a humbling experience when I so obviously needed it haha

  7. lynn says...

    Well this happened to a co-worker, but I cringed for her. She sent an email to her staff that was supposed to read “I’m taking a sick day”… instead she wrote “I taking a d*ck day”… Ugh!!! We can laugh about it now, but in the moment it was sooooo embarrassing.

  8. Emma says...

    I was a senior in college and went to a party at the “football house” (a house that some of the seniors on the football team rented for the year) with some of my friends. Now, mind you, I was not invited to this party; some of my friends were invited and insisted that I go with them. I proceeded to get so drunk that my friends took me outside so I could be sick (because apparently I had tried to vomit in the kitchen sink in front of everyone), and while I was squatting down puking off the back deck, apparently the back of my shorts RIPPED straight down the middle seam, and I was wearing a thong, so my entire butt was out. The best part? I was so inebriated that I didn’t even realize until one of my friends told me that my shorts had ripped down the entire back. Also, I was wearing a crop top so there was no hiding the ripped pants. After spending nearly an hour vomiting outside and in the bathroom at the house, I then had to walk out of the house, in front of everyone at the party (including a boy I had a giant crush on, who’s now the starting quarterback for an unnamed NFL team) with the back of my shorts ripped straight down the middle (and with my shirt covered in a lot of puke).

  9. Jennie says...

    I’ve been sitting here laughing & reading these stories to my husband & have to add mine:

    About 10 years ago, I used to have a membership to the YMCA. I mainly swam or used the gym equipment and I ALWAYS forgot something I needed- workout shoes, socks, etc. This one particular day, I forgot my shirt at home. I was working out on the way to my job at a non profit & didn’t want to wear my work shirt or skip my workout. The Y had a women’s only gym so while I wouldn’t typically do this, I figured just this once I would work out in just my sports bra. I still felt somewhat self conscious as I walked through the gym and climbed onto the treadmill. I put on my music & decided to just focus on my workout. About 20 minutes in, I was getting really into my music and my run, and for some god forsaken reason, I decided to close my eyes (??!). Moments later, I could feel myself slipping off the end of the treadmill, and like a cartoon villain I scrambled desperately to stay upright…on a treadmill…for what seemed like 3 minutes but was probably actually 10 seconds. I ended up, as you can probably guess, falling in a very dramatic flailing of limbs off the end of the treadmill. People stopped their workouts to see if I was ok, and I brushed it off and tried to nonchalantly leave the gym while quietly dying inside.

  10. Cookie says...

    I am always one that arrives early to appointments and my job interview was no different. I arrived into the company’s lobby about 10 minutes early, sat down, and waited for someone to arrive to help me. Eventually my would-be-boss arrived and asked if he could help me. My would-be-boss smiled and said, “Yes, you are very early.” and I sort of laughed it off saying that I like to be prompt, to which he responded, “You are an entire week early.” I was so embarrassed and dumbfounded. I quickly looked at the email that my recruiter had sent and yep, a week early. I apologized profusely and said I’d come back the following week. My would-be-boss laughed and said that he’d love to meet with me for a “quick chat”. I definitely made an impression because I got the job. He still has never left me forget it.

  11. Erin says...

    Oh boy. Where to start…

    A few years ago, I was doing this thing where I did 10 squats before and after peeing every time I went to the bathroom at work. It was a really easy way to get in some solid leg/butt exercise. So I do my 10 squats before peeing, then I pee. Then, prior to pulling up my pants, I start another 10 squats. Only this time I’m way too close to the toilet, and I smack my butt on the porcelain, pitch forward, hit my forehead on the stall door, my face slides down the door, and I end up with the top half of my body splayed outside the stall and in the sink/mirror area, and the bottom half of my body (bare-assed) in the stall next to me. Fortunately no one else was in the bathroom at the time, but my heart was set to explode as I writhed and wriggled my way out of that undignified position before someone else came in. Once I got back to my desk, I couldn’t stop laughing at how nuts I must have looked.

  12. Becca says...

    In my early 20s, I backpacked around the country with my boyfriend. We were staying in a hostel that had a single stall bathroom in the hallway. We had gone out to dinner, but the meal didn’t quite agree with me. I was trying to rush us back to our room as discreetly as possible so I could use the bathroom. We said hello to another traveler in the hallway and then I went to use the bathroom, planning to meet my boyfriend back in our room which was thankfully located much farther down the hall.

    I ended up having explosive diarrhea and unleashed a series of the loudest and most aggressive farts in my life for what seemed to go on forever. When I was done, I opened the door only to be utterly horrified that my boyfriend was standing RIGHT THERE still chatting with the other traveler. I was completely mortified because they absolutely heard every decibel of that bathroom session and I couldn’t even try to pretend it came from someone else since it was a single stall. We all just sort of silently stared at each other for a moment not quite knowing what to say.

  13. Emmie says...

    Right after college, I commuted to and from work by subway, about a half hour door-to-door. One evening, I had a first date planned with an acquaintance from college. I was a little late leaving work, and though I knew I had to pee, I figured it made sense to get home where I could relieve myself and change for my date rather than waste time walking upstairs to the bathroom at work before I left. As you, kind reader, no doubt have predicted, but I was not smart enough to consider as a possibility: my train was stalled on the tracks for well over an hour. I made a valiant effort to SPRINT from the train station to my apartment to make it in time, but alas. Just as I turned the corner on to my street, I could not hold it any longer. Thankfully, I was wearing black pants, but I distinctly remember the squeaky noise my shoes made as I approached my door, where my date stood waiting. I made a pathetic excuse (some combination of the subway being late and having the stomach flu because I didn’t think I could ask him to wait while I showered without explaining the entire scenario!) and we never spoke again. As embarrassing as it was, that night was important in two ways: 1) I made the conscious decision to laugh, rather than mope, when I finally got into dry clothes and felt grown-up for choosing happiness that night; and 2) I learned to ALWAYS pee before you leave!

    • So it was a s-pee-ritual lesson :)

  14. Kim says...

    I was in college, in Texas, sitting at a red light, driving my enormous Chevy Caprice white station wagon (15 years old, a hand-me-down gift from my Grandma, who I adore, so I could have my very own college car). The term “shag wag” would be appropriate to describe this couch on wheels. At the red light a pick-up pulls up in the lane next to me – and the driver is full on hot Texan cowboy. He leaned out his window and said “You’re smoking!” At first, I thought I heard wrong – so I full on ignored him. When I didn’t acknowledge his comment, he leaned out and reiterated: “You’re smoking!” This time I thought, well, I’ll take the compliment! In my best flirty girl voice (keep in mind, I was a math major from Chicago) I said: “Thanks!” And then he goes: “No, your CAR, it’s smoking!” I whipped my head around and sure enough, large white plumes of exhaust were coming from my tail pipe. I was mortified! Thankfully, the light turned green that next moment. He drove off and, completely red faced, I drove into the nearest parking lot and called my dad. :)

  15. Rose says...

    I sometimes just peel off my jeans and knickers in one go and then put on my jeans again the next day. One day I was walking to the metro stop, past a particular point that’s usually very busy. I felt something drop from the leg of my jeans and looked back: it was my underwear from the day before showing itself in all its glory to the outside world on the pavement. I was mortified but so glad there was no one there at that moment. I had a good chuckle and stuffed it in my purse.

  16. Gaby says...

    My husband and I were at a restaurant for our anniversary dinner. The waitress asked if it was a special occasion and I proudly said it was our anniversary. A few mins later, an opera singer stopped by someone else’s table and sang a happy anniversary song. It was VERY loud and, for some reason, very uncomfortable. When our waitress returned, I whispered, “if the reason you asked about a special occasion is bc that singing lady, we don’t want that.” She reiterated acknowledging NO singing lady. A few minutes later, I realized that SHE was the singing lady! We couldn’t get the check and get out of there fast enough!

  17. Sheri says...

    Oh my lord, I just tried to read this out loud to my husband and couldn’t get through it. Thank you for the laugh!

  18. Annie says...

    I was at a conference with one of my most respected mentors (read international oncologist superstar). We were chatting during the break session and I was busting to go to the toilet but didn’t want to stop our conversation. When the break was over I ran straight into the toilet. While I was in the cubicle I heard guys talking outside. Thought… that’s weird – those guys have come into the ladies toilet. Didn’t take long for the Penny to drop. Then I made the ridiculous move to text my mentor to ask for help to shield me out of there. Absolutely mortified.

  19. Oh, man. My (now) husband is from South America and when we started dating, I didn’t speak any Spanish. After nearly a year of being together, I was so excited to finally meet his parents in person but neither of them spoke much English. My husband gave me “lessons” in the months leading up to our trip so that we could at least piece together a conversation. We finally met and were getting to know each other when my husband mentioned that I had been working on my Spanish and that his parents should try to speak Spanish to me so I could practice. I immediately got tongue-tied and said, “Estoy embarazada!” (thinking it meant, “I’m embarrassed!”). His parents stared at me for a minute and then BURST out laughing, like, can’t breathe kind of laughing. Turns out that “embarazada” actually means “pregnant”.

    I’ve never been so EMBARAZADA in my entire life.

  20. hanna says...

    In middle school English class, we sat in groups of four desks to create table formations, and we had those desks that were attached to the chairs by a metal bar. I sat directly facing my crush of two years. One afternoon I leaned over the metal bar connecting my chair to my desk in order to grab my books from the floor. As I did so, the whole desk toppled over, taking me with it onto the ground.

  21. Molly says...

    When I was 13, I was flying alone to visit my best friend for Spring Break. As this was the mid-90’s, my Dad walked me to my gate and waited with me until I could board the plane. I used to spend an hour blow drying my naturally curly hair straight with a round brush (ah, the days before flat irons) and my Dad started messing with my hair. I said, “Dad! You’re ruining my blow job!” While I naively pretended like he might not know what I was talking about, he made some joke about Monica Lewinsky. I was mortified and couldn’t get on the plane fast enough!

  22. Capucine says...

    I was on a swim team at 19, and at our first meet of the season I dove off the starting block…and the armhole of my swimsuit moved to the middle of my chest, freeing my right boob, and I swam the rest of the 50 yards of freestyle with my boob out. Fastest time of the season! It certainly put the ‘free’ back in freestyle, and made it breaststroke at the same time! In truth, my coach ordered the competition suits down a size as per usual for racing, but my DDs didn’t play by that rule, as I told him was likely. Suffice it to say, point made.

  23. E says...

    A few weeks ago I had a one-on-one Zoom meeting with a colleague, and during the meeting I started feeling super sick (I was on my period). Knowing it was just cramps that would probably fade away, I tried my best to just wait it out and keep a smile on for the Zoom call. Eventually, I got feel really crappy and thought it would be better if I could move around or lie down, but I was about halfway through the call and it would have been awkward to end it. So I turned off my screen and blamed it on “internet issues.” I lay on the ground for the next fifteen minutes of the call, chiming in with a few random comments while my colleague talked. Then, I started to feel even worse and knew I was about to throw up, so I muted myself and threw up a few times. Whenever I wasn’t throwing up, I unmuted and made some comment to show that I was following the conversation. I don’t know if the colleague ever figured out that something was going on, or if my excuse for internet issues was believable. I would be embarrassed if he knew the he spent an hour on Zoom with a person throwing up, but I’m strangely proud of myself for managing such a bizarre situation with at least a little bit of composure.

    • Capucine says...

      Barf and get back up again. I’ve been on that period train.

      A lovely woman called Alexandra Pope in England creates meaningful connection to period suffering that dignified all the barfing I’ve done. Look up ‘Red School’, it is a lovely moment of being seen!

  24. Sarah says...

    I was a few days into a new job in a small, formal but friendly company during the winter, and everybody but the boss had caught a cold that was going around. As the team chatted during a coffee break, he jokingly said that he was feeling left out and so the conversation moved on to ways one might catch a cold should you be trying to do so – normal things like heading out without a coat, etc came up and the conversation had pretty much come to a close when for some reason I offered him my coffee cup and said: “Perhaps you’d like to lick my rim?”.

    The words hung in the air for what seemed like an eternity…and then we all turned around and went back to work – me, utterly mortified at what my mouth had vocalized before my brain could edit it for accidental obscenities!

  25. Nicole A says...

    Not sure about MOST embarrassing but something embarrassing that happened lately: I am working from home for a payroll company and I was emailing a rep in a hurry (this is our busiest time of year, crazy enough, even in a pandemic) and instead of “Bobby” I accidentally typed “Boobie.” I may never recover.

    • Jo says...

      Oh, I am so sorry this happened to you, but you have made me laugh on a really crappy day, so thank you! :)

    • Anne says...

      LOL! This happens to me all the time… for some reason my phone auto-corrects “Anne” (my first name) to “Babe.” I have absolutely no idea why it does that and I have signed far too many work emails:

      Thanks so much,
      Babe

      It’s mortifying.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      hahaha

  26. Aimee says...

    I was home from college for the summer and my boyfriend’s parents took us to a VERY fancy dinner in NYC where we ate 5 pound lobsters and drank aperitifs, wine and after dinner sambuca with our coffees. (Mario Puzo was sitting at the table next to us, which shows you how old I am!) We drove home to our suburban town where I was staying the night at my boyfriend’s house.

    He and I both ran upstairs to use the bathroom and change into our pajamas while his parents sat out by the pool smoking and having another drink. He called his and his brother’s bathroom so I used his parents en suite bathroom. I took off the little black dress I was wearing and threw it on the floor next to my shorts and t-shirt that I was going to sleep in and pooped what one would poop after a five pound lobster and lots of alcohol dinner.

    I flushed the toilet and moved over to wash my hands before putting on my pajamas. The toilet overflowed and flooded the bathroom. I was standing naked in flowing toilet poop water with all of my clothes now in it. The toilet flooded their bathroom and flowed under the door into their cream carpeted bedroom. I had to yell for my boyfriend who gagged and couldn’t stop laughing and ask him for some of his clothes and cleaning supplies. He was not the type to help cleaning the house, so of course, he went outside to the pool and said “Mom, where do you keep the mop? Aimee’s shit all over your room!”

    They had to replace the carpet.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      OMG hahahaha, your story wins!

  27. Vané says...

    17 years ago my now husband made a love declaration at the airport as I was leaving the country for a month. We then proceeded to talk/write every day and felllllll in love. I couldn’t wait for our reunion.

    Except…. a few days before flying home, I felt like I had a yeast infection. Not having really ever had one for sure, I didn’t know what to do. I was staying with my grand parents and didn’t want to tell them about my lady concerns. So I googled « YI home remedies ». Suddenly I found myself placing raw garlic and spooning plain yogurt into my vajay with a tiny silver spoon.

    The ludicrousness of what I was doing hit full on the next morning at which point I began extracting garlic bits from the cave depths of my body. Figured I needed medical attention and told my grand parents I was « heading out ». Walked 25 min to the village dr office and very anxiously awaited my apt with the old man dr (who also knew my grand parents). Was so so sooo nervous that he was gonna inspect me and find leftover garlic and yogurt and I’d need to explain myself. Thank goddess he just listened to my two symptoms and immediately prescribed meds that I bought at the pharmacy across the street and took immediately. To this day, I’m not sure I actually had a YI.

  28. Kirsten says...

    I love your story so much, AND I’m still swimming in nostalgia from the mention of dELIA’s and YM!!!! I remember spending an hour going through the dELIA’s catalog when it came in the mail, circling clothes I wanted and would never be able to get (hello, waitress dress that resembled Marisa Tomei’s in Untamed Heart). And we can’t forget Sassy mag! I have several humiliating stories from the 90’s, but my hair/makeup/fashion was probably the worst story of all. Brown lip liner with a frosty lipstick?

  29. Jennifer says...

    I want to say thank you for this post and these comments. I just read them all at the of a very long, trying week in our current COVID reality, and laughed on my couch in a way I haven’t in weeks.

  30. Alexa says...

    I had moved abroad for a period of time for work and expected to buy or find some free second hand furniture online. However, the prices for second hand furniture were pretty steep. So I moved into my apartment and figured I could round up some furniture little by little. Not long after I moved in, there was a disassembled dining table in the hallway close to my apartment unit. I asked around to a few people on my floor that I had met if anyone knew who it belonged to or why it was there. People said that often furniture was abandoned because the building charged fees to move furniture in and out of the elevator so if it was in the hall, I should expect someone left it upon moving out. So I took it and assembled it in my apartment.

    A few months later, the guy who lives directly next door to me knocked on my door to ask me something. As he stood in my doorway, he said “I think that’s my table”. As it turned out, he had removed it from his apartment and disassembled it so as to move it to another family member’s unit to set up to celebrate Eid. And I had taken it before he moved it. He said it has remained quite a mystery since the building security guard had never seen anyone leave the building with it. I was mortified to have unwittingly stolen his furniture as he prepared for a holiday.

    • Erin says...

      Oh my god I am crying/laughing.

  31. Rosie says...

    At my high school there was a girl with the same first name as me and a last name that rhymed with mine. At graduation I heard my name called while they were announcing academic awards and I was thrilled, so I hopped up and walked onto the stage trailed closely behind the girl who had the similar name. Yeah. I climbed on stage to accept an award that was for someone else. I only realized when my English teacher grabbed me by the elbow at the top of the stairs and dragged me away from the podium hissing at me to “be cool” but everyone had seen me get up, squeeze past other students, walk down the aisle and up the stairs. I still don’t know how I held it together but I put on my poker face and walked back to my seat and waited to cry until I got home. What a way to end high school.

    • Gaby says...

      That was mortifying!

  32. Jen says...

    I am meeting my future MIL & FIL for first time. It’s dinner and I am telling a story but completely forget the word “blow dart.” So I mime it, saying “You know….this……. a blow job. No, blow dart.” Yup, I said it. Looking back the charade of a “blow dart” probably didn’t help either.

  33. Violeta says...

    I was in San Francisco as a naive 19 year old college student in search of a summer job. Applied for a job as sales associate at Gap. I wanted to wear a shirt and skirt and look somewhat put together. After a few days getting to know the San Fran ‘summer’ I decided I’d need a little extra layer to keep me from permanent goosebumps so I wore my incredibly loud Lycra fluorescent Andy wharhol biking shorts but scrunched up high on my legs hidden. No problem as I sat in the group interview and filled out paperwork. But when I had to get up to ‘sell’ to a customer in a role play, the shorts slowly crept down my legs to become a complete scream. Not quite the preppy look they were looking for. I didn’t get the job, for the best!

  34. Kelly says...

    Hmmm. I’ve got two but I’ll go with this one…..

    I was in grad school, living with my parents to save money, and had just finished a paper late at night. Super tired but wired, I decided an orgasm was just what I needed to help me fall asleep. For some reason (?), I brought a toy downstairs and took care of business on the living room couch. The next thing I know, it’s morning and my poor dad is walking through the living room, seeing his darling daughter asleep on the couch with her HUGE PURPLE DILDO WITH BALLS AND VEINS on the coffee table next to her. He did not talk to me or look me in the eye for several days. My poor dad.

  35. Roxy Wise says...

    In college I worked at the Olive Garden as a server. I would come home after a shift smelling like salad dressing. When I would get home I’d peel it all off and wad the uniform into a ball. One day I got a call from the manager begging me to come in because there was a huge lunch crowd for secretary day. I threw my dirty uniform on and when I got to the restaurant, there were already 4 tables ready to order. After the first tables order I stepped back to go to the next one. Something was dragging on my shoe. I looked down and realized my underware from before had come out of the pant sleeve. Every patron at those surrounding tables saw my bright blue panties on the floor. I died. I’m writing this from the beyond.

  36. Heather says...

    it was my post high school graduation party, a deck full of people celebrating . I was chatting with a boy I hadn’t seen in years–he was on the deck, I was on the other side of the sliding door inside…then the whole deck collapsed! I don’t know what I was thinking, but I turned around and ran out the front door dying of embarrassment. No one was hurt, and my Dad now has a huge deck with a pool in its place!

  37. Abigail says...

    After graduating college, I was working a cool but low-paying job, so I supplemented my income by dog-sitting. I was staying at a couple’s house, watching their delightful Great Dane, Roxy. I woke up late one morning, and rushed to let Roxy out. I stepped out of the house, onto the screened in porch, and let Roxy out into the fenced in yard to go to the bathroom. What I didn’t do was keep the door to the house ajar, so I locked myself out of the house wearing only my pajamas – a cropped t-shirt and a thong. The homeowners told me before leaving town that their next door neighbor had a spare key, but I had to quickly improvise a way to cover up. One of the homeowners was an at-home hair stylist, and there happened to be a cape on the screened in porch. So I put the cape on, snapped it around my neck, and walked over to the neighbors’ house at 6:30 AM with my bum covered just enough to request the key. I made no mention of why I was wearing a plastic cape around my neck. Why I didn’t just wrap the cape around my waist as a makeshift skirt, I will never know.

    • LBD says...

      Can’t. Stop. Laughing.
      Thanks for sharing!

    • VVeronika says...

      OMG I’m dying over this :-)

  38. Lori says...

    When I was around 6 or 7 years of age, I was really into gymnastics. But one thing that bugged me was how “bunchy” my underwear would look under my leotard. One practice I decided I would try going commando. Unfortunately, it was also the same day I selected a leotard with a snap crotch. Here I am all proud doing my splits when BOING – the snaps pop all the way open and my leotard pulls up to my waist, leaving me completely exposed. Lesson learned – LOL!

    • CS says...

      OMG I am laughing so hard! Thank you for sharing!

    • Amanda says...

      I had a somewhat similar moment around the same age. Sitting “criss cross applesauce” at the carpet area in my first grade classroom, listening to a story, wearing my favorite leggings only to look down and realize there was a hole the size of a small apple in the crotch. I snapped my legs straight forward and rolled off to the side(as if my teacher wouldn’t have noticed an entire child rolling away from the group.) She asked me what I was doing and I just laid there, not sure how to explain myself.

  39. Allyson says...

    I got caught in a classic blunder. In 7th grade science class, I wrote a boy named Brandon a note saying I liked him and wanted to go to a movie with him. Mr. King, our gruff but strangely humorous teacher, intercepted the note and read it out loud to the whole class. I was shocked into pure statue form. My obnoxious cousin Tyler was in the same class and I swear, like inches form my face, was screaming “OH MY GOD HOW ARE YOU NOT EMBARRASSED RIGHT NOW!?” I guess I played it off but I did want to die at the moment.

  40. K says...

    I had a huge crush on a grocery store produce stocker in grad school. I swear it made me swipe on mascara with my sweats to grab another pint of Ben and Jerry’s. He would sometimes move out my way so I could seductively grab a box of spring greens but that was the extent of our interactions. One day he was working the checkout and wouldn’t stop grinning at me and my stomach was fluttering and I was really proud of myself! I swaggered on back to my car where I glanced in the mirror and saw the biggest chunk of broccoli? Cole slaw? Mushroom? Stuck smack dab in the middle of my teeth! That’s when I started shopping at sprouts.

  41. Jenny says...

    I was driving to the airport when I had the most sudden urge to go to the bathroom–that horrible gut-clenching urge. I practically skidded off the road to a gas station and made a b-line for the toilet. Post-decimation, I bought a pack of gum because the restroom was for “customers only.” The teenage-boy clerk rang me up and said, “Do you have gas?” In my already-mortified state, I felt shock and horror and replied, “No, I have diarrhea.” Turns out he meant gas for the car.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      hahahahaha

    • The huge laugh I just let out!!!

    • Mary H. says...

      Wow, this made me laugh out loud!

    • Danielle says...

      Reading this comment was the best way to start the weekend.

    • Bonnie says...

      I laughed so hard I had tears running town my face. I probably would have said “um, that’s not a very appropriate question!” but good for you for staying on topic, ha ha.

    • Violeta says...

      Worth it for the heartiest laughs that this brings to anyone who reads this :)))))

    • Amanda says...

      LOL

  42. Tiffani says...

    I grew up in a strange Christian sect and I have a very boisterous father who loves to do the robot at parties. I remember watching him doing it at a church gathering when I was 11 or so and deciding that I was just going to have to decide not to be embarrassed about things or I would be embarrassed by the oddness of my religion and by my dad all. the. time. and I’d be miserable. So I am not easily embarrassed.
    However, in my senior year of high school, I was sitting in biology class, chatting with the girl sitting next to me. It was only a few weeks into the semester and she and I didn’t know each other well, but were becoming friends. I also had a cold and my nose had been running on and off all day. She said something funny- I can’t remember what-and when I laughed a ball of snot shot out of my nose. To make matters worse, after a day of blowing my nose constantly, I was out of tissues and there was nothing else at hand to wipe it away, so I just had to sniff it back up. I was mortified. She and I just stared at each other in silence for what felt like an eternity to me. Then she started to laugh, and I started to laugh and we’ve been best friends for over 20 years.

    • Sarz says...

      Cute! Maybe embarrassment is an effective bonding agent. :-P

  43. Michaela says...

    I’m going to try not to delve too deeply in my memory bank lest I come up with something truly mortifying that will haunt me for the next week, but I do have a fresh one: last winter, my city got a rare snowfall. The kind where everyone stays home, things nearly shut down because the infrastructure isn’t really made for two feet of snow (lol), and all of the shovels sell out everywhere. My husband and I lived in an apartment building nestled into a hill at that time, so there were lots of stairs at the front entrance and a steep hill to get around to the back entrance.

    We took turns trying to keep up with the shoveling so our mail carriers could safely access the building, and we noticed none of our neighbors were shoveling, so we tried to clear snow on the common sidewalks and parking lot as well. But the snow just kept falling, we only had a short shovel that we kept in our car for emergencies, and it was starting to feel futile to keep things relatively clear. While I was outside shoveling for the fifth time, bundled up and sweaty, trying to just keep one walkway clear amongst increasingly deep drifts in our parking lot, feeling grumpy and tired and a bit like Sisyphus, a neighbor came outside for a smoke break and greeted me. “Thank you for shoveling,” he said. “Well,” I said with a sad sigh, feeling like I wasn’t making much of a dent, “I can’t do all of it.”

    Took me three days to realize I sounded like I was guilt tripping him for not doing any of the shoveling, when all I meant was that I wasn’t able to clear everything. And he has a visible disability, so I probably sounded like even more of a jerk. I still cringe!

    • mado says...

      I identify so much with your first sentence.

    • Gaby says...

      I do these things all the time and people must think I’m a B, when I’m really just socially awkward. Eek!

  44. Lyndsay says...

    I was 29, and interviewing for my, at the time, dream job. It was at a tech company that was rapidly growing and when I showed up at their office, they let me know that all the meeting rooms were full and we’d have to move across the street into their new building to find a space for the interview. We had to walk maybe 50 feet to get to the other building, and I was walking in between my two interviewers. As we were walking and making small talk, I felt something wet land on my face. I should point out that it was crystal clear blue sky day and so I quickly realized what had happened and froze in place. My interviewers carried on for a few steps before stopping when they turned and asked “Is everything ok?” to which I had to reply “a bird just pooped on my face.” They looked horrified, and also as if they were trying to hold back their laughter. I had to head inside, find the washroom (which meant I had to walk through the office to get there), wash up and then I just carried on with my interview! I got the job on the end, and the story became urban legend as the office grew. I’ll never forget when a new employee came to me one day telling me the story of the girl who pooped on during an interview and I got to her that yes it was true, and I knew so because it was me!

    • Andrea says...

      In Italian lore, a bird pooping on you is VERY auspicious! It probably got you the job!

    • beth says...

      haha- I fainted at a job interview once (I was pregnant and anemic and didn’t know either of those things at the time), and still got the job!

  45. Kate says...

    I’ve got a WHOPPER.

    At 15 I was on a mountain climbing trip in Wyoming with a group of friends and some seriously cool young adult guides (looking back as an adult, I would NEVER have the patience to lead a group of teenagers into the mountains…) and I got serious altitude sickness our second day after ascending so quickly. We had an 8 mile hike that day, so the group divvied up my pack and went on ahead. I slowly brought up the rear, retching along the way. By the time I made it to camp, it had already been set up, so I blissfully passed out on a rock (we were so high up, we were past the tree line). I woke up two hours later feeling much better, but a bit sunburned on my cheeks, since I had completely forgotten to put on sunscreen in my sickly stupor. I didn’t think much of it, but the next morning I woke up…and couldn’t open my eyes. When I went to touch them, I hit my cheek about an inch before I was expecting to hit it. Feeling my face, which was painfully hot to the touch, it became very clear: I had, indeed, been ridiculously sunburned, and my dehydrated body at an unfamiliar altitude had responded by bringing all the water in my body to my face. It. Was. Huge. Angry red, and swollen beyond recognition. Panicking, I escaped my tent and ran to the nearest tree to do my morning business, nearly hyperventilating as I considered how I was going to face the rest of my friends (which, of course, included my then-crush). As I was doing my business, I heard a hissing noise. Looking around, I saw a chipmunk in the tree, staring right at me and making noises no chipmunk had the business to make. Much to my surprise, he flung himself from his perch and landed right on my foot, launching me into a screaming fit that led me to flee in escape as fast as I could…with my pants around my ankles. I stopped abruptly when I heard someone say, “woah.” Looking up, I realized my mistake: I had run headfirst, pantless, into a camp of boy scouts. Mortified, I tried to quickly recover and escape, telling no one of my shame. BUT! Later that morning after we had packed up camp, we had to hike out through the boy scout’s camp, and they all pointed and said “that’s her! The one with the face!” and I had to explain to my friends, who were already in stitches over the status of my incredibly swollen face, of the greatest shame any teenage girl has ever known. I have never felt such utter mortification! It’s cured me of shame for life.

    • Juliette says...

      This story is so great and it keeps getting better! Thank you for sharing. The chipmunk!!! My day is made!

    • M says...

      This was so epic. I’m in tears!

    • Bonny says...

      “It’s cured me of shame for life.” – Wise words right there.

    • AB says...

      I am just crying. The chipmunk lol the chipmunk!!! My friends and I had a saying in high school in order to deal with these things- if humor outweighs personal loss, then it’s a worthwhile situation!

    • Anon says...

      Well, when I read ‘the chipmunk’ I laughed so abruptly that spittle landed all over my phone. Which is not only a first, but rather embarrassing in itself, I would say.

    • Michelle says...

      Is your second name Griswald?! LOL this was hilarious. 😂😂

  46. Helen says...

    In grad school, I went one night to a library I’d never been to at my university, in a building I had also never been inside.

    On my way up the steps to the main door, I saw that a girl in front of me had pulled open one of the large heavy doors and was hesitating before walking through. I thought she was politely holding it open for me, so I sped up and walked quickly – smack into the very clean glass secondary door that was the real reason she had not walked through yet herself. Blood was instantly pouring from my nose. The girl just stared at me with her hands over her mouth saying, over and over, “Oh, God!”

    I was mortified so I told her, with blood running into my mouth and onto my shirt, that I was fine and she could go. I then spent about twenty minutes wandering the halls of this building I’d never been inside of, bleeding profusely and crying in shock, searching for a bathroom.

    I explained repeatedly over the next few weeks (including to a nurse who couldn’t stop laughing) that the bruising on my face really was from walking into a glass door.

  47. Abbe says...

    I was walking my daughter into preschool and as we’re going up the stairway, a tall-ish, bigger dad is coming down the stairs.

    As we pass him, my very outgoing four-year-old daughter looks at him and goes “Whoo, that’s a big guy.”

    And what do I say, in my nanosecond mother window of opportunity to minimize any awkwardness? “Yep, nice and big.”

    • Jess says...

      Hahahaha omg Abbe I keep thinking of this and laughing out loud. Thanks :)

    • Sarah says...

      okay this one has me cackling at my desk.

    • Lisa says...

      That made me laugh so hard I spit out my water. I needed that laugh. Thank you, Abbe.

    • Kaitlin says...

      This just gets funnier each time I think about it. I’m crying. Just so so relatable.

    • Caroline says...

      Abbe, I cannot stop laughing at this one. It’s hilarious.

  48. Amanda says...

    My embarrassing story is more of a string of embarrassing stories…

    I got my period really young (I was ten!) and was super self-conscious to tell any of my friends at school. One day, I had my period, but insisted on wearing a light purple tracksuit to school. I also forgot my “secret pad bag” at home that morning. My wonderful mother though, noticed I forgot the pad bag at home and dropped it off at the school’s front desk. Our front desk administrator saw two of my classmates in the hallway, and gave them the bag to bring to me. These two classmates happened to be two of the absolute meanest girls in school, so naturally, they opened the bag.

    They bring the bag to me and are laughing uncontrollably in front of the whole class. The class now wants to know what’s in the bag, so they open it and dump it on the ground. Everyone starts laughing at me, so I immediately lie and say they were my older sister’s pads and my mom brought the wrong bag! The teacher confiscates the bag and locks it in a drawer. I now have no pads, am too embarrassed to admit I have my period, and am wearing a lilac tracksuit…

    Needless to say, I get my period allover the lilac tracksuit, and because I made a big hoohah about not having my period, everyone starts to say that I shit my pants! I then have to go to the office and say I shit my pants, and my wonderful mother had to leave work to come pick me up from school!

    I am so glad today’s generation is growing up with less period shame! I’m not sure why I thought it would be less embarrassing to be covered in my own shit than to say I had my period lol

    • Oh, Amanda. Period shame is the worst. I also had my first period at 10. One day I was taking too long in the bathroom at school and as I was changing my enormous pad, I looked up to see my teacher peering over the top of the stall door. I screamed and she said, “I was just making sure you weren’t smoking!” I was TEN. As if being considered for smoking wasn’t awful enough, I had to live the rest of my elementary years with the shame that she saw me during the most personal of moments. (Mrs. Mann, I’m talking to YOU). Come to think of it, she should’ve been the one feeling ashamed.

    • Amanda says...

      I’m also so, so glad that people are starting to challenge period shame. I remember being MORTIFIED to acknowledge that I got my period, so much so that I hid it for like a year and lied to my doctor about it.

      My husband and I have talked about how important it is that we raise our son to think of periods as just a normal bodily function, so that he never contributes to the shame that young women feel around their bodies. I find it so odd when men can’t talk about periods, even men who have had children!

    • Neha says...

      I got mine really young too, same with boobs growing in. I hid it, and lied to everyone, and wore extremely tight sports bras right up into junior high. The other girls were merciless about it (if you read this and recognize my name and wonder if it was the Neha you knew…yes. Yes, it was), and I was so deeply ashamed, it breaks my heart to think about it now as an adult.

    • SW says...

      I want to hug all of you that commented here.

  49. Jess says...

    THE DELIA’S CATALOG! AHHH. This story was about you but I swear it could have been me. Hilarious. Love your stories, Caroline.

  50. JR says...

    In my first year of university, I partied quite a bit (drinking is legal at 18 in Montreal!). One morning, after a particularly wild night, I went down to the dorm cafeteria. As I was in line for French toast I felt the room start to spin… so, clutching the walls, I made my way back to a seat to lay my head on a table. Next thing I knew, a cafeteria worker was beside me and I was lying on the floor, having fainted off the seat. The worst part – I was wearing short pajama shorts with NO UNDERWEAR. There were many, many people staring at me, and I am 100% sure many of them saw my nether regions. Needless to say, I never let myself get that hungover again!!!

  51. Amanda says...

    The day after Christmas, a group of us decided to do movie night at our grandparent’s house. My cousin had a ton of DVDs that she had purchased abroad. She picked one that someone had told her was “a good family movie.”

    Well it turns out that they meant the movie was a good movie ABOUT a family. It was The Squid and the Whale. Which is a beautiful movie, but there is a fair amount of graphic language and several scenes in which one of the young characters masturbates in public, and we were sitting there watching it with my young cousins and my *extremely conservative* grandpa. No one knew what to do once we realized that this wasn’t a great movie for the whole family, until my grandpa got visibly disgusted during a masturbation scene and shut the whole TV off. Then we just sat there, awkwardly and silently, for what was probably 30 seconds but felt like one million years, until someone changed the subject and we all decided to pretend it never happened. We have never spoken of this again, over 10 years later.

    • Laura says...

      Oh my goodness, I’m cringing for you!

    • Kelli says...

      This actually brings to mind my similar (repressed until now!) embarrassing move-watching-with-grandparents memory! Once, home visiting my family from college, I suggested we all watch Garden State, a movie that I had already seen and LOVED, and knew my parents and grandparents and sister would love too. My grandma has macular degeneration and can’t read small print, so my grandpa always had the job of reading any subtitles to her. No big deal, right? WELL. I had completely forgotten the (out of the blue) peeping tom scene when they’re spying on a couple having sex in a hotel room, and they’re whispering to each other (quietly enough that the movie includes subtitles), until suddenly it was too late and I’m sitting there, mortified, listening to my grandpa read to my grandma the phrase “he’s about to cum!” Kudos to grandpa for sticking in there and faithfully reading it to grandma- heaven forbid she not know what was going on!

    • Amanda says...

      @Kelli I’m cringing for your whole family, but I also kind of love that your grandpa still read the subtitles for her!

    • Lori says...

      My mom told me recently that she was at her boyfriend’s house for a family event. They crowd was planning on watching some home videos. Unfortunately, the video mistakenly turned out to be someone’s personal porno. To make matters worse, the “stars” were easily recognizable… and IN THAT VERY ROOM! LOL!

    • Caroline Pierce says...

      Amanda, I also unknowingly watched the Squid and the Whale with family. I watched it with my Dad, alone, when I was in High School.

      That masturbation scene in the library will haunt me forever. My Dad tried to smooth over the situation by saying, “What a weirdo…” and then we just sat there, grit our teeth, and waited for the scene to end.

  52. Vanessa says...

    Once a month (pre-covid) I volunteer to do visuals at my church. Job is basically to click next on slides as the preacher moves along his or her sermon. This particular preacher incorporated a short YouTube video (a clip from Slumdog Millionaire) in his slides, which ran from YouTube. I forgot to close the browser window/pause YouTube as I switched back to PowerPoint, and somewhere further along the sermon, the screen flipped back to YouTube, which was now playing some sort of half naked romping scene from some rom-com (to mortified to remember which). There was a collective gasp and some laughter from the congregation, who watched a fair bit of the racy stuff because I was too frozen in shock to do damage control.

  53. schylar says...

    A combination of going to a conservative christian school and having non-progressive parents, I was *always* behind on all things birds and the bees-related in my youth. One day in my 10th grade literature class, the word “hymen” was spoken out loud while we were all reading parts of a novel. I immediately raised my hands and innocently asked what a hymen was. Laughter ensued. I knew then that it must be sexual in nature. My (male) teacher said it’d be best if I asked my parents or friends. Did the same thing in my 6th grade literature class with “cock.” Will I ever learn?

  54. Olivia says...

    My oldest son had his kindergarten class over for his 6th birthday (sans parents). At one point, all of the little girls disappeared into our bedroom, and came back out wearing all of my underwear and bras. They’d bypassed the “everyday”/ old maternity underwear drawer and found the “special occasions” section. I tried to be casual while quickly getting everything off of them. When the time parents showed up, I mentioned that the kids had “played dress up” in case they brought it up. I thought I’d gotten everything back and averted crisis, but I had not. For the next few days, stuffed in my son’s cubby at kindergarten, I received little baggies, balled up pieces of foil, and other discrete packages containing thongs, thigh-high stockings, etc.. I can only imagine the conversations these parents must’ve had when they discovered these particular clothing items stowed away on their tiny children, but I appreciate the lengths they went to to make sure everything was returned discretely!

    • Katie says...

      Olivia, this is the best story I’ve ever heard.

    • Amanda says...

      Oh this is fantastic. Kudos to those other parents for making sure everything made its way back to you.

    • Stephanie says...

      Omg I cannot stop laughing/crying. This story is amazing. But those parents are the ones who should be embarrassed – what kind of manners are they teaching their kids to let them go through their host’s drawers?!

  55. Maria Anagnostopoulou says...

    There were the days near Easter 1994, I was preparing to go for a mountain trip with my husband and I went out for some last shopping when I saw him suddenly holding in his arms another woman in a outside cafe. He was supposed to be at his office at that time. I felt so embarassed I didnt know what to do. We just were there and stared at each other stupidly. I run and he run after me. After a big fight at home I learned that he was with this woman more than 8 years together and I never guessed a thing. We were together from university time. Although he didnt want to go away and get a divorce, I put him out of the house and after 4 years I got the divorce.

    • angela says...

      Horrendous! So glad you got the divorce! You deserve a much better man.

    • Alice says...

      I think your (ex)husband is the one who should be embarrassed by this, NOT you!!!!

    • I agree with Alice; he’s the one who should have been embarrassed. And good for you for getting the divorce. You deserve so much better.

  56. Tara says...

    This is a diva cup horror story, beware. I was 22, working as an AmeriCorps member in East Oakland as an HIV Counselor. This was my first month and I spent most days telling folks they were HIV positive and I had no health insurance and living in the Bay Area. My friend had told me about the Diva cup and I thought why not, I AM A FEMINST and this will save money. This day of our lord I rose at 6 am, re read those diva cup instructions, caught BART, put on my favorite gap jeans (2008), and put that diva cup in like the career woman I was.

    The clinic was in max capacity so our “Health Education” department was a trailer. The bathroom was a sliding pocket door in the middle of the trailer that was the size on outhouse. I felt my diva cup getting heavy, they said it would last ALL DAY. I go into the worlds tiniest bathroom. There are hundreds of AIDS day ribbons filling this bathroom. Just in case you forget where you are.

    I take my diva up cup, ripe with blood that I have only seen come out of one’s veins. It was violent looking. DO YOU DUMP THIS IN THE TOLIET? SO MUCH BLOOD. My hands are full of my feminist blood and it’s so slippery I drop the FULL diva cup of period blood all over the fucking floor. It’s everywhere. This bath of blood fills this tiny bathroom. I turn the water one and furiously start cleaning/sobbing quietly. Praise be for hospital level disinfectant, that 10/1 bleach ratio is life. I wrapped up my diva cup in paper tissue after cleaning my bathroom like a murderer. I will never wear a diva up again. There should be a special category of embarrassing shit that happens at work from ages 18-30, where you alone suffer. Thanks for the laughs xoxoxo

    • Judy Nelson Lewis says...

      I literally gasped out loud reading this!

    • Hannah says...

      Tara- please tell me you are writing regularly in some capacity because your retelling of your most embarrassing story is brilliant!

    • Meghan says...

      Hahaha! Tara, this is amazing – “my hands are full of my feminist blood”

    • R says...

      Diva cups are awesome, but there are always risks…. my near-miss embarrassing moment also involved a Diva cup. I had been using it for a few years and thought I had mastered how to get it out cleanly, but no. I was living in Guatemala for a few months before college and was on a weekend trip to go surfing in El Salvador. Our van had to stop at the border, and while our driver ran off with our passports at the border check, my friends and I went to use the bathroom. This was one of the bathrooms where you pay a woman to pour water in the toilet tank and for the toilet paper; very limited privacy. There were also armed guards everywhere, which made things a bit more tense (I didn’t learn until later it was not the safest border crossing). So I was in there trying to stay calm and empty my Diva cup… similarly feeling very feminist at my freedom to deal with my period in all circumstances! I carefully removed the Diva cup, and then after letting go of one side with my thumb, it sprayed blood… all over my shirt. This was Central America, so I was wearing a small tank top with nothing to pull on top, and nowhere to hide. So I thought fast and tied up the bottom of my tank top like a middle schooler, which covered up the majority of the blood, and walked out past the bathroom monitor and the armed guards back to my van. I’m pretty sure I pulled off my new look all through the bus ride to the hostel, then quickly made up some excuse to change shirts and threw away that tank top immediately. I’m not sure what the hostel staff would have thought when they found it, but I have to say I’m pretty proud I pulled that off and toed the line of what could have been the worst embarrassing moment.

    • Jen says...

      I have an oddly placed cervix. I have tried three different brands of cup and every time they get turned sideways. SIDEWAYS! The most excruciating thing short of childbirth. And yet, the worst part about it is being berated as a bad feminist for still using tampons.

    • KJ says...

      I also tried a diva cup, probably 16 years ago when they just came up.

      The blood bath was not worth it! Never again.

    • Anon says...

      I am so sorry to hear that you had such a horrible experience.
      I have never used a Diva Cup so I can’t comment on it, but I used a “Keeper” (which was one of the original menstrual cups) for more than a decade. It was made of real rubber and was reusable. Honestly, it was a fantastic product for me.

      I NEVER wore it to work on my heavier days because I knew I would need to empty it every couple of hours, and I knew that work was not the place for that. I DID wear it to work on my lighter days, and it was amazing because I didn’t have to worry about a thing all day. On light days, I wore it anywhere and everywhere. On heavy days, I would only wear it for shorter outings and errands. I always wore it in the evenings and weekends, at home.

      Summary: I would recommend a good menstrual cup (much better for the environment, you save a ton of money, and they are WAY more comfortable and probably healthier than pads.) BUT please do NOT wear it on heavier days when you have to be at work for hours. Also, when you first buy it, wear it at home for a few cycles so that you get to understand how it works best for you and your body. It really is a product that you learn how to use and it is very individual. Lastly, on heavier days some women need to wear a panty liner with it when you leave the house. In my opinion, it is worth a try but get to know the product first!!!

    • Anon says...

      One last thing I forgot to mention! My periods last a ling time (2 heavy days and then 6 increasingly light days). So for someone like me, it revolutionized my period! I felt so free once I entered my third day and could just slip on the Keeper.

    • Jess says...

      Tara who mows her lawn, is that you? Your comments are seriously the best. :)

    • Jesse, it’s ME!!! xoxoxo @tpilsley

  57. Julie says...

    I was 9 when I went on a summer camp. We went on a daytrip to the beach. On the long walk back through an open field with no trees or bushes in sight, I realised I had to go number 2. I didn’t find the courage in me to stop the whole group to then proceed to do my business in plain sight of everyone. So I held it in… until I couldn’t anymore. I can still feel the dread I felt in that moment. We still had a long way to walk at that point and I just wanted to cry but couldn’t because I didn’t want to draw attention to myself.
    When we arrived on the campground I ran to a toilet but of course everyone had to go after that long walk, so just when I wanted to clean up people started banging on the door telling me to hurry up. I froze and…pulled up me pants again. I then went to my room but as soon as I entered people started saying; “oh wow, the toilets must be clogged, it stinks in here!” This is the moment I started to sob involuntarily. I ran out to a camp counselor and told her what happened. She helped me clean up and to my relieve told the rest of the group I just felt sick.
    Most embarrasing thing ever, my kids love it when I tell them this story though.

  58. malissa says...

    My cringe-worthy moment that come to mind almost on a weekly rotating basis when I can’t sleep at 3:00 am: At my 10 year high school reunion, I had not seen my old, long-term/HS/college boyfriend in all the years since we had broken up for good. We chatted, along with his fiancee (who was on my middle school cheerleading team, of course — #midwest), during dinner when I was sober. But at the AFTER party, I continued to drink way too much and was on the dance floor in no time, making out with my 6th grade boyfriend, and it probably did look as though I was trying to make a show if it. The last time I saw him was when I was drunkenly tottering out and I think I shouted, “Let’s stay in touch!!” Can I have a do-over?

    • Laura says...

      Oh my gosh – high school reunions! At my 10 year reunion, there was an open bar. I got drunk enough that I think I remember tripping and falling over a big speaker on the ground. And then I was looking at photos a couple of days later and was like, why is there a photo of someone holding a piece of paper that’s on fire? Wait a second, that looks like *my* hand. I must have been holding a piece of paper too close to one of the candles on the tables and it caught on fire. I still have no actually memory of it happening though.

  59. E says...

    It was eighth grade. It was a “free dress” day at my uniform-wearing school, so I remember wearing my favourite outfit which included white jeans. I thought it was the cutest outfit. I wasn’t expecting my period, and as the day went on, I realised with a sinking feeling that… I had been bleeding into my jeans. With horror, I realized there were a few spots visible on the outside of my jeans.
    Even worse, *other people had noticed*. When I went to my cubby at the end of the day, there was a big fat menstrual pad that some kind soul had put in my cubby – but which I found absolutely mortifying. I quickly threw it into another student’s cubby. Several minutes later, the other student found the menstrual pad, and, in confusion, she burst out crying. Someone had to explain to her that it wasn’t meant for her – it was meant for me. I remember her starting to laugh, and saying, “Oh, I get it”, while staring directly at me.

  60. Karina says...

    Lots of embarrassing moments but I will add the first one. I was 4 or 5 and in kindergarden. My parents were always in a rush in the morning as they both had to get to work and they dropped me off on the way. It was around midday when we were all in the playground and I was hanging upside down on a climbing frame. Little did I know that I had forgotten to change from my short pyjama bottoms which were decorated with rows and rows of ruffles at the back. They we’re out there for all to see. Mortifying! It only took one boy to shout “look at her frilly bottom” and I was known as frilly bottoms for the rest of the year! I never wore those shorts again and I cannot wear anything with ruffles or frills to this day. I guess my fashion sense took a turn for the better that day ;)

  61. Agnes says...

    So usually I push all and any embarrassing memories into a dark corner in the attic of my mind and never think of them again (hello denial, my old friend) but this one I remember. I was in grade 4 (around 9 years old) and my best friend and I used to pretend we were married to 2 boys in our class. We also had imaginary dogs that we ‘walked’ on the playground at recess. Basically to say we created a whole fantasy world of our own, and it was fun. So. Cut to 26 years later. The exact same friend forces me to join Facebook while standing over me. Within the same hour, the boy I was ‘married’ to becomes my first friend request. I hesitated but chatted to him, saying that he never would guess who I was with (the friend from grade 4). He proceeds to tell me his marriage is in trouble and also that my little sister TOLD HIM I pretended I was married to him!!! TOTAL EMBARRASSMENT 26 years later and friend request DENIED.

  62. Hi says...

    Early on when I was still just beginning to date my boyfriend, I shat myself while on a hike with him but managed to hide it. I was wearing one of those Nike shorts with the extra built in underwear, and the shit just stayed there!!! This happened at the beginning of a 2 hour hike and I just made excuses about how I wanted to walk behind him because I also had my dog with me. When he’d ask about a smell I’d say it was probably my dog.

    We are still together (!!!) and when I finally told him about this many years after the fact and he was so sweet about it “I would have still kept seeing you of course!” That it made me love him even more <3.

    • Nadine says...

      omg this is funny. thank you for sharing! and that *is* so sweet!

    • C says...

      2 hrs!!! You poor thing.

  63. Sarah says...

    When I was in seventh grade a friend came over for a sleepover and borrowed a sleeping bag. After getting in she reached down and pulled out a pair of my Dad’s old tattered tighty-whities, which he had discarded at the foot of the sleeping bag on a recent camping trip so he could sleep in the nude.

  64. A says...

    An ex-boyfriend and I visited his mother in her new 1 bed/bath apartment in DC. I was functioning on approximately 5000 oz of coffee and exactly zero sleep. Our relationship was already strained. Between the stress, the flight, the antibiotics I happened to be on, and the horrid decision to have fish at dinner — I capital W *wrecked* her toilet but thought I’d handled it well. Of course it was a door right off the main living area. He was in a terse mood so I used that to suggest a walk. No sooner had the door latched behind us did he turn as ask, “Uh, are you OK?”
    “I think so, why?”
    “It, uh, smelled pretty bad in there.”
    We get back from our walk and his mother has emptied an entire can of Glade spray … which triggered an asthma attack for me. I still want to disappear every time I think of it.

  65. LM says...

    In college, we had an all day sorority date party and a few friends and I met up with our dates early to chug beers and drink mimosas before the hour long bus ride to the location of the party. I realized I had to pee from all of the beer about five minutes into the bus ride, as I was sitting next to my date on the yellow school bus transporting us. I held it for as long as I possibly could, constantly tapping my feet, shifting into various positions and trying not to think about it. My friends even yelled up to the bus driver, asking him to pull over—to which he declined (we were on the highway), and finally….I could hold it no longer and peed on the green vinyl seat next to my date. Thank god this was the late 90’s and the oversized sweater look was in because honestly, to this day, I think he had no idea….

  66. Meg says...

    My 70 year old male boss… in the most casual, public, and matter of fact way… stopped by my desk once and asked if our admin would have time to help him with a hand job that afternoon. 😳 I was horrified and literally sat there staring in disbelief. It took me a minute before I realized he meant a MANUAL DATA ENTRY job. We both nearly actually died of embarrassment haha.

  67. jdp says...

    i was 11, and doing “the robot” on stage at the summer camp talent show seemed like a good idea at the time. the song was beat it by michael jackson. after my “performance” i confidently returned to my seat on the camp auditorium floor, wondering why so many of the adult counselors were crying and laughing at the same time.

    • DLS says...

      Hahahaha, this is too stellar. Thanks for making me laugh out loud.

  68. Sonja says...

    This isn’t my story per se, but it’s a family tale that gets told at least once a year.

    My mom is a professor at a big state university and back when I was little she had taught a giant Psych:101 course with hundreds of students. I was sick one day and couldn’t go to preschool so she set me up with some toys in the corner near her desk. She turned on her mic and walked to the podium to begin the lecture.

    Halfway through the class she realized that none of her students were paying attention. She turned around to find that 4 year old me had commandeered the chalk board and drawn a giant horse picture, complete with a MASSIVE, You-Can’t-Miss-It erect penis.

    Given that psychology is the study of human behavior, it was probably a great talking point. :)

  69. A says...

    dELIA*s!!!

    One of my more embarrassing moments also took place the day before winter break. I was in 6th grade and the 6th-8th graders from my tiny school were all squished into one classroom to watch Merry Christmas, Charlie Brown. I was somehow sitting front and center next to a particularly cool 8th grader, and I got my first period. I think most of this memory has been blacked out because I have no recollection of which teacher helped me, whether the cool girl or anyone else noticed, etc. I just vividly remember looking down at my school chair after the movie when we were all moving back to our own classrooms and noticing it was COVERED in blood. 😱
    (Although my 6th grade self was mortified, I’m not embarrassed by this anymore – it just makes me sad for all of us that this moment isn’t universally celebrated. Trying now to raise two period positive little girls. :)

    • Mollie says...

      I would love Cup of Jo to do a post on being a period positive parent! I definitely want to do this for my future daughter (I’m currently pregnant with a girl) but I don’t really know how as this was not my childhood at all.

    • Kerry says...

      I’m also trying to raise a period positive little girl, although it all started by accident. When she was five, she walked in on me (because kids have no chill when it comes to bathroom privacy, especially with moms) taking out a tampon, and was horrified by this bloody thing she had seen come out of me. So I went ahead and explained about periods in the simplest terms possible. And she just replied, “Oh, ok.” So now when I mention that I’m on my period, she knows exactly what I’m talking about it.

      I really hope the days are gone where moms don’t explain about periods or buy any of the necessary items until the child happens to start theirs one day. (Or was that just my mom?)

    • beth says...

      @Kerry: hmmm, my mom bought a packet of pads, left them on my bed, and said nothing. I used Are You There God, It’s Me Margaret as my (guessing) guide!

  70. Charlene says...

    I was 24 and flying alone. At that time it was still novel experience for me and I was very aware of wanting to appear a sophisticated solo jet setter. I had the window seat and an attractive guy sat next to me. I kept my headphones on and made eye contact and kept trying to look cool as I thumbed my magazine. We were taxing the runway when he wordlessly offered me some gum. I accepted and put the wrapper in the pocket of the seat in front of me. A few minutes later as we were taking off I notice his outstretched hand out of the corner of my eye. It immediately occurs to me that he might be afraid of flying and we were about to have a moment. I took his hand and held it, squeezed it even in reassurance. Then to my horror, he withdrew his hand, removed his headphones and said to me “I was just going to take your gum wrapper”. I tried to recover with a “oh right, yeah” as I fished the wrapper out and gave it to him. And then I sat mortified for the next three hours trying to not make any contact with him as possible.

  71. Carrie says...

    OMG – thank you everyone! I spent the last hour reading these and laughing until I cried. What a freeing thing to just laugh, especially during this moment in history. Thank you all for sharing.

  72. Charlene says...

    I was 24 and flying alone. At that time it was still novel experience for me and I was very aware of wanting to appear a sophisticated solo jet setter. I had the window seat and an attractive guy sat next to me. I kept my headphones on and made eye contact and kept trying to look cool as I thumbed my magazine. We were taxing the runway when he wordlessly offered me some gum. I accepted to put the wrapper in the pocket of the seat in front of me. A few minutes later as we were taking off I notice his outstretched hand out of the corner of my eye. It immediately occurs to me that he might be afraid of flying and we were about to have a moment. I took his hand and held it, squeezed it even in reassurance. Then to my horror, he withdrew his hand, removed his headphones and said to me “I was just going to take your gum wrapper”. I sat mortified for the next three hours trying to not make any contact with him as possible.