The socially awkward moment...
Well, last night I was out at a function, and a woman - whom I had never met - had her fly undone. It was obviously undone, dreadfully, embarrassingly undone. I noticed it from the other side of the room - kind of undone.
What did I do? Well, I am very ashamed to admit, I did absolutely nothing. I was paralysed by embarrassment for her. Please let me say that, ordinarily, I am not backwards in coming forwards. Normally, I would tell a lady that her dress is in her knickers, and would always point out that bit of parsley in your teeth - so why on earth couldn't I say something to this woman?
Well, thinking back on it there were three main reasons for my doing nothing.
First and foremost, she was a gruff, rough sort of a woman who might just as easily have twisted off my head and used it as a teething toy for her baby.
Secondly, she was also a very large woman, and drawing attention to her open fly would also have drawn attention to her ample stomach.
Thirdly, she was a newcomer at this function and I didn't want to point out her fly was undone and socially cripple her in a crowd of strangers.
Really there couldn't have been a more awkward moment. I seriously felt damned if I did - and damned if I didn't - because I really feel I should have said something.
Anyway, this whole situation got me thinking about socially awkward moments, how they are created and how often they are used in writing.
As recent experience has told, the awkward moment doesn't need much to give it rise.
I have created a formula for it.
Social pressure + normal/polite behaviour = awkward moment
potentially embarrassing situation
I am currently reading (for the 100th time) French Relations, by Fiona Walker. I love it, it's a great bit of chic lit. The main character Tash French is a very socially awkward woman - and yesterday's incident would have fitted well with the book.
French Relations, is filled with some really awkward stares, hairy bikini lines, and women who cry and look ugly.
I really do enjoy the socially awkward scenes in novels and try to put a few in mine. They're funny and just about everyone can relate!
Having said all that, I next time, I won't fold to my socially inhibited embarrassment and will tell them their fly is down!