notquiteold

Nancy Roman

How To Embarrass A Teenager

In honor of my brother’s birthday, here’s a old post from 2011 – since how better to honor a sibling’s birthday than with the most embarrassing anecdote ever:

 

HOW TO EMBARRASS A TEENAGER

 

I don’t have kids of my own, and perhaps it takes a hell of a lot more these days to make a kid blush, but here’s the most cringe-worthy event of my teenage life (apologies to my sweet – and very manly –  little brother):  

I must have been about sixteen. I was on my way downtown for a little shopping.  Yes, we had a downtown.  No malls yet. And it was certainly a “little” shopping because I never had much more than two dollars in my pocket at any time during those years.

My little brother was about to start Little League.

My mother, always a lady, asked me to do her a big favor.

“Your brother needs something in order to play baseball.  Stop in at the men’s store and buy …”  she lowered her voice to a whisper, although we were alone in the kitchen…”an athletic supporter.”

I begged her not to make me do it, even a good size bribe didn’t make me feel any better, but my brother needed it for the next day, and I couldn’t make her change her mind.

So I reluctantly dragged myself to the unfamiliar store. Since they didn’t sell girly things, music, or snacks, I had rarely entered that dreary place.

I looked around.  I didn’t see anything that looked like what my mother had described. I figured it came in a little box, like a Playtex bra, and I thought maybe even Playtex would be a good name for a jockstrap.  But they weren’t anywhere.

I had to ask the salesman. I put on my nonchalant face.

“Excuse me,” I said to the tall gray-haired man in the ugly sportscoat. “My brother needs…” and I dropped my voice discreetly like my mother had done,… an athletic supporter.”

“Sure,” he said, and he went to a stack of drawers behind the counter.  “What size?”

And I said:  “I don’t know.  He’s only ten.  How big could he be?”

And just to make sure my humiliation was complete, I even demonstrated with a lovely little gesture!

And the tears began to flow.  HIS, not mine. The old guy was crying and choking and quivering pretty much from head to toe…

As he was falling to the floor, he explained: “WAIST SIZE!”

Thanks, Mom.

53 Comments

  1. I’m sure your brother deserved it. If not that day, then surely some other time!

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  2. Funny the first time I read it: funny still. Hope your brother has a wonderful birthday!

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    • It seems really funny now. I was mortified at the time.

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  3. Deb

    Hilarious! I also have the distinct feeling that I would have done exactly the same thing at the time.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think lots of girls would respond the same way. Maybe even a few boys – though they would have held their fingers a LOT further apart.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Bwahaha! I’m gonna have to share this with Anthony.

    (Also, just bought the book. I might actually have time to read coming up!)

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  5. Oh my! Absolutely hilarious!

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  6. Hysterical! My eyes are still watering. Brilliant.

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  7. Ray G

    Dontcha wish you had a video of that?!! Wish I was there!

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    • I don’t need a video… I will remember the apoplectic look on the salesman’s face forever.

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  8. Holy crap, that’s awesome! Although a little unnerving that you were privy to certain, um, details about your brother.

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    • I didn’t know.. but I thought I could make a pretty good guess.

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  9. OMG! I just emulated the salesman – staggered away holding my stomach, and I’m still wiping away tears of laughter! How utterly humiliating for you as a teenager; but that salesman probably dined out on the story for the rest of his natural life. Absolutely hilarious!

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  10. I’m pretty sure I would not have known to consider waist size when purchasing that type of product. Hilarious.

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  11. I can understand how you’d be mortified at 16, but those most embarrassing situations make the best stories as we get older. Happy hap happiest of birthdays to your brother!

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    • Yes, and you NEVER forget them so you can tell those stories forever.

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  12. Ha, a good one. The guy from the store is probably still telling that story. I just finished reading your book and really enjoyed it.

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    • Thanks! I’m sure the salesman got a lot of mileage from that story. I’ll never know because I NEVER entered that establishment again. I’m glad you enjoyed the book. If you are so inclined, I would love it if you would consider posting a review on Amazon and/or Goodreads.

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  13. I can hardly write a comment, I am laughing so hard! That is hilarious!! Hope your brother has a wonderful birthday and I am certain he is still trying to see the humor in this one! But, it is stinkin hilarious!!!!!! DAF

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    • It was WAY more embarrassing for me than for him. But I hope I’m embarrassing him now.

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  14. Hahahahah… I cannot resist laughing. It’s just like someone sprayed N²O in my nose. Hahahahah! Bdw Happy b’day to your brother.

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  15. Karron

    Oh. My. Word.

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  16. Oh Lord, I am crying down the inside of my leg and wiping coffee off my screen. That is the best. I am nearly certain you must have done something that caused your mother to send you into that store for the jock strap! Something, come on think on it.

    What a fabulous story.

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    • My mother had to whisper “Athletic Supporter” to ME – when we were in the kitchen ALONE. She just could not do it.

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  17. Embarrassment overload. Oh my. 😀 😀 😀 I cannot imagine because I don’t have a brother.

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    • I had older sisters who I was obsessed with being like. I thought of my little brother more like a household pet – cute, and part of the family, but not the same species. I paid no attention to boys’ needs. What’s a jock strap?

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  18. That is hysterical! I can just see you with wide eyed innocence saying, “How big could he be?” and making the gesture. I bet it was a long time before you ever told your brother that story.

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    • He may have learned about it for the first time when I originally posted this story.

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  19. Hilarious – but not so funny for you or your brother!

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  20. I understand that you never went back into that store, but what about your brother? Did he have to go there? In our town, there was only one store, and they knew all of us, so if this had happened, they all would have known the brother, too! Happy Birthday to him. Does he have a story to get back at you?

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    • Oh, Thank God the town was big enough that they didn’t know me. My brother did not have to live down that particular reputation.

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  21. First, it boggles my mind that your mother asked you to do that. Second, I’m amazed you were brave enough to do it. Third, if someone asked me that “Size?” question TODAY, I’d probably have assumed the same thing you did! What do I know about athletic supporters? What an experience! Hilarious in retrospect, though.

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    • It gave me a good story I can tell for the rest of my life.

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  22. Oh dear! That is fantastic, I’m reading this at just past 8 am waiting for the phones to start ringing at work and it has lifted my mood greatly, thanks!

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  23. HAHAHAHAHA I literally laughed out loud at my desk!!! AWESOME!!

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  24. Hahaha! Great story!

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  25. Those embarrassing moments stay with us all our lives. Still can’t really cope with embarrassment now.

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    • I get over it a lot easier now. I figure that everyone is older and their memory is shorter….

      Like

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