Please help us welcome Nicola E. Sheridan.
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Foot-in-Mouth Syndrome:[fʊt-ɪn-maʊɵ sɪndrəʊm] a socially crippling condition in which the sufferer regularly says inappropriate things at inappropriate times and causes offense or unintended embarrassment to themselves or others.
Embarrassing situations, they happen all the time and I personally love to read about them. They make me laugh and as long as they haven't happened to me, I find them highly entertaining. One of most common causes of embarrassment is due to 'foot-in-mouth syndrome. I'm sure you've all met someone who has it, or you may have it yourself. Sometimes an inappropriate word or thought slips out and causes offense or embarrassment and you're left thinking "Why on earth did I say that?!"
I'm fairly lucky and can quite honestly say I do not suffer this condition. However, I know several people who do.
I have a female relation, who for the sake of this blog I will call *Gloria. Gloria is a wonderful person. She's caring, kind, creative and an all round good woman. However, Gloria has a dreadful case of 'foot-in-mouth'.
One amusing example of Gloria's foot-in-mouth, was actually at my house. We were having a mother's day lunch with everyone coming. My sister-in-law unexpectedly invited a single friend to join us, as she had nowhere else to be on this particular Mother's Day.
When *Lisa entered, the family was surprised. No one other than my sister-in-law had ever met her before, but it didn't matter. I like to think we're a welcoming family, and if she had nowhere else to be, she was more than welcome to join us.
Lisa was a very large girl, to this day I have never seen breasts larger than hers. She loved cats, and even had one on her t-shirt. The lunch was delicious and food and conversation flowed freely. After we'd eaten, I noticed with some trepidation Gloria deep in conversation with Lisa. Apparently they were having a discussion about being 'single'. Soon however, Lisa decided it was time to leave. As I walked Lisa out, Gloria followed, along with several other family members. As we all called our farewells to our new friend, Gloria shouts out above all "Good-bye, Lisa, enjoy your solitary life!"
What?! Did she really just say that to this motherless, lonely, cat-loving single lady?
"Gloria!" I hiss, as Lisa hurries into the car with a worried glance back. We smile cheerfully, hoping she doesn't think we are rude freaks out to torment her.
"What?" Gloria replies, still waving and smiling benignly as Lisa roared out of our lives forever.
To this day, Gloria swears she said nothing wrong. "She likes being single!" Gloria still insists.
There are many types of foot-in-mouth and Gloria's is always unintentional, which makes it funny. However, I have another friend whose foot-in-mouth syndrome is at times quite intentional. This makes for insanely awkward situations, which sometimes result in amusing but permanent changes of opinion.
Here's an example. My friend *Nova, was chiding her husband about their non-existent sex life - in front of me and two other friends. Why you'd do this is still beyond me, but there you have it.
Imagine the scene if you will:
We're all sitting around the coffee table and Nova is enthusiastically, but bitterly lamenting her lack of rumpy-pumpy.
"I could be in my sexy lingerie, doing a lap dance and he'll roll over and tell me to go to sleep." Nova complains.
*Jose looks stony faced, crosses his muscular arms and stares into his coffee. "I'm tired," he grunts. "I work hard."
My other two friends give weak embarrassed laughs.
I am struck mute. I'd always presumed Jose to be a red hot-latin-lover sort, and now all I can imagine is a tiny dysfunctional penis and a man as frigid as England. Unfortunate isn't it? Yet, Nova doesn't stop there, oh no. She waxes lyrical about her high, but neglected libido, and praises the Lord for her secret (now not so secret) drawer of 'goodies' that satisfy her because her husband (still sitting there) apparently won't. It was one of the most cringe-worthy conversations I've ever had the misfortune of being involved in.
Had Nova decided to have this conversation away from Jose, it could have been funny and although I'd still have left the conversation thinking Jose harbours a soggy jellybean in his jocks, we wouldn't of had the awkwardness. In hindsight, I wondered why Jose didn't defend his masculinity, his libido, anything. A grunt explaining his tiredness wasn't sufficient! Perhaps he couldn't defend himself without looking like a bastard. I don't know. What I do know however is that I will not sit opposite Jose and Nova around a coffee table again. Not without a light and witty response poised on my lips at any rate.
A witty response is the only remedy for an awkward situation (other than running screaming). If you, like me, find yourself regularly in the presence of an awkward moment due to your friends 'foot-in-mouth' syndrome, the only real cure is a sound repertoire of witty rebukes and comments. Alas, retrieving said witty rebuke is notoriously difficult during a time of awkwardness. So while the awkward moment ticks by in complete lip chewing silence, here are a few easy comments to remember:
"OK then... Someday, we'll look back on this moment, laugh nervously and change the subject..."
"Hmm, you've got a point there, keep your hat on and it won't show."
"Be careful, that halo may slip and choke you..."
"That's a bit rich from someone who collects Metallica figurines."
"The next time you speak to me, I'm going to have to insist you do not eat shit sandwiches."
*names and relationships have been changed to protect the embarrassed.
Thanks for having me ladies, and remember, everyone is someone else's weirdo, and if you don't have anything nice to say about somebody... come and sit with me!
Nicola E. Sheridan is a West Australian author of paranormal/fantasy romance with a humorous/quirky edge.
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