Pulling a wedgie out in public. Putting sanitary pads or tampons in the grocery cart (I always quickly covered them up with a cereal box or whatever was in there and could never understand why Mom thought that was so weird). Scratching your nose in a purely innocent Jerry Seinfeld-esque manner but having someone confuse it with a pick (It was a scratch!).
As adults we eventually get over them, or learn how to maneuver around them. I’m more tolerant of wedgies now, so the urgent need to pull has been replaced by a quick search for a bathroom to do it in private. Not only do I not hide the box of tampons when I go to the store, I sometimes will just boldly hold it in my hands from the shelf to the checkout if it’s the only thing I’m buying. As for the nose, I still worry someone will think I’m picking, so I try to leave that alone in public as much as humanly possible.
But there’s one thing – that one mortifying, horrendous, incredibly embarrassing thing – that will forever be unacceptable for females to do in public. The one thing I am mortified of doing in front of my boyfriend, the man I’ve been dating for 18 months.
The audible fart.
There, I said it. And I not only said it, I did it. But not in a grocery store or department store or crowded room where it could be blamed on anyone else. Oh, no. I did it in grand look-at-me-I-just-made-THAT-sound fashion. In a small room during physical therapy. Just me and my pretty good looking male physical therapist.
It wasn’t planned, it wasn’t intentional – it wasn’t even one of those where you know something bad is coming because you feel the bubbles in your stomach moving all around. This one was completely and totally unannounced.
It was a good morning, a great morning. I got to work early, had my bagel and banana for breakfast along with my half pot of coffee (don’t judge me – it was early). I got a few things done before I needed to leave for my 8:30 a.m. PT appointment – one of the benefits of working in a hospital is that every one of your health care needs are virtually at your doorstep.
Got to PT and had to wait a bit; still, nothing wrong, nothing seemed out of the ordinary. Went into the patient room and we talked about the improvement in my knee, the therapist apologized for being late and even told me I was the highlight of his day when I suggested I reschedule to put his schedule back in order.
He had me get up on the table and lie on my back so I could bend my knee – no problem. Much improvement. Then he told to roll over onto my side so he could test my hip strength – again, no problem. I rolled back onto my back and we did a few more exercises and then … he reached for my hand to help me sit up.
I sat up, swung my leg off the bed and … it happened.
I could have said it was my shoe on the vinyl. I could have pretended nothing happened. I could have done a lot of things. What I did to, however, was throw my hand up to my mouth, exclaim, “Oh my God, I’m so sorry,” and move over to my chair. I could feel the heat of humiliation rise up my neck and spill over my face.
And then it was out there. My appointment wasn’t over. I had to sit in my chair, five feet from where he was sitting in his chair, and have a serious discussion about my knee.
I have no idea what he said. When he was explaining the next steps in exercise, I was thinking, “Dear God, is he sitting there in a green cloud and just being too nice to say anything?” When he started pointing to the sheet of instructions, my thoughts were, “He’s very subtly using the paper as a fan to get some fresh air.” When he got up to show me out, I though, “OH GOD, the cloud has floated to the top of the room and now he’s standing in it!”
I couldn’t get out of there fast enough. And the only thought that crossed my mind the entire walk back to my office?
“Why couldn’t I have just gotten caught buying a box of tampons?”