Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Most Mortifying Moments

While I'm in the process of sorting out my plans for next year, I've been chatting to one of my old lecturers who was also my masters supervisor a few years back. He is a wonderful person, inspirational lecturer and a great psychologist. One of the people who make me want to be a clinical psychologist. His office is also the scene of what is probably my worst embarrassing moment on campus. And I had a few.

The day I, with a giant racket, fell down the steps in my undergraduate academic building is right up there as well. I landed on my ass with my books scattered around me and one of my shoes lying a few steps below. Naturally, I wasn’t alone in the stairwell when that happened... (There are always witnesses when I do something utterly stupid!) There were tons of nice people picking up my stuff and bringing me my shoe, asking if I'm ok, did I get hurt? To which I replied: "No, I’m fine. I landed on my butt so I didn't feel a thing." Sigh. Now, it is true that my butt is pretty padded, but did I really have to say it??

Talking about butts... I studied at Stellenbosch. Most of Stellenbosch University's academic buildings are scattered around a big garden/square called the "Rooi Plein" (aka Red Square). Due to the general acoustics (empty space surrounded by high buildings) sounds on the Rooi Plein tend to eco. So the day my little brother walked past me on the Rooi Plein, slapped me on the ass (loudly - it echoed), and just laughed and kept walking as people stopped to stare, was also SLIGHTLY mortifying. Apparently I had a tendency to be in my own little world when walking around campus. You can't exactly blame me - It's really nice in there! Anyway, I would pass people (friends from school, res, class, lecturers, my students, roommates...) on campus without noticing them. I could even walk past my own brother without seeing him. Which I did. Multiple times. Which is why, when he saw we were going to walk right past each other and I was completely lost in thought - again, he decided to catch my attention... Admittedly, he probably underestimated the volume of the sound his little pat on my backside was going to create. I still owe you for that one lil bru.

Back to my most embarrassing blond moment. No, I’m not blond so I don't even have an excuse. At least this story doesn't involve my ass...

On the morning in question, I had an appointment with my supervisor, so I got dressed all neat and studenty. That particular year, the very feminine look was really in. Everything was pastels and flowers and blouses and related girly stuff. So I put on my flowery, pastel, girly blouse and a skirt and skipped of to my boyfriend’s residence. Thereafter I was supposed to go to the library to search databases and print articles before my appointment at 12. The boyfriend said no, stay here and work from my PC. So I sat myself down and did my searches while he went to class. At about 10, my work was done-ish and his bed was starting to look really inviting. In order to not crease my frilly girly blouse, I put on one of his t-shirts, got in bed and promptly fell asleep. The boyfriend got back to his room and decided this mid-morning nap thing looked really inviting and joined the club. At about 11:45 I awoke to someone softly snoring in my ear and realized I was very late. Plus I was on the very opposite end of campus to where I was supposed to be.

I jumped out of bed, yanked my girly button-down blouse over my head, combed my fingers through my hair in front of the minute guys-residence mirror, applied some lip-gloss and asked the very sleepy boyfriend: "How do I look?" Who replied: "Fine, fine, very pretty. Now run." Which I did. Past all the mens' residences, through the little student shopping mall, over the Rooi Plein... and all in peak lunch-hour student/pedestrian traffic. Just past 12 I flew into my lecturer's office, apologized profusely and plopped down in a chair with my notebook in my lap. As I was looking down at the mentioned notebook a though crossed my mind: Where is my buttons? Hmm... The blouse's thin cotton material basically looks the same on both sides, but a lack of buttons, the presence of seams and a washing-instructions label are still a pretty good indication that you are wearing your top inside out.

Trying to cover my surprise, I flipped the notebook up and clutched it to my chest while trying to subtly flip my hair over my shoulders. Goodness knows whether he noticed anything. I was out of his office as soon as I could find an excuse! Keeping in mind the label at the back of my shirt, I backed out of the office, shook his hand at the door and then just kept backing down the hallway while making small talk. The staff's toilets were just around the corner from his office, so I backed around the corner…

I have found that, when in doubt, blame the boyfriend! Outside, I phoned him. "Jan!* I had my top on inside out! And you said I look fine." The snorts of laughter from the other side isn't doing anything for my bruised ego. "Jannie*, It isn't funny. I just walked across campus AND sat through the whole meeting with my top on inside out!" Increased laughter. "Okay, it’s a little funny, but it isn't funny to me right now!" He finally calms down enough to speak: "Ag shame my skat, I'm really sorry. I honestly didn't notice." I am slightly mollified. "Did Dr. ***** notice you were inside out?" I can hear he wants to laugh. "I don't know! He always laughs at me so much that I couldn't figure out if he noticed or whether he's just laughing at me anyway." At that point the boyfriend forgets he is supposed to be sympathetic and completely loses it again.

You know that saying: What doesn't kill you makes you stronger? Right. This just taught me to check the mirror twice before leaving the house.


  1. Some very funny moments there :)

    When I was in primary I once went to school with my pyjama top under my blaser :P

  2. Haha...we all have our moments!