Metatalktail Hour: Parental Shame March 11, 2017 4:11 PM   Subscribe

Good Saturday Evening, MetaFilter! In honor of the Korea expert on the BBC and his adorable children, what is the worst way you ever embarrassed your parents, or your children ever embarrassed you? In the alternative, what's the most interesting thing that happened to you this week?

Remember, they're conversation starters, not conversation limiters, so you can talk about any sociable/personal/sharing thing on your mind -- we're here to kibbitz! Except politics, the bouncers hate politics.

If you have ideas for Metatalktail conversation starters for future weeks, memail or e-mail me, I have a list going. :)
posted by Eyebrows McGee to MetaFilter-Related at 4:11 PM (120 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

When I was five, my family stopped over in England en route to Greece (where we were going to live for a year). As part of our sight-seeing, we took in the Science Museum, where they had a really interesting exhibit that explained all about how babies are made. And, being a budding professor, I then proceeded to lecture my parents about it in the cab. In considerable detail. My parents tell me that the cab driver was trying not to die of laughter; I think they may have preferred death, period. (Theirs or mine is unclear at this date.)

Incidentally, I went back on one of my research trips, about three decades later, and was somewhat startled to see that it was pretty much the same exhibit. I think they've finally updated some of it.
posted by thomas j wise at 4:30 PM on March 11 [9 favorites]


When I was in 1st or 2nd grade, right at learning-to-pack-your-own-lunch age, I was already a huge drama queen. I had packed only like, chips and an apple, you know, because I was a dumb kid and too lazy to make a sandwich. A teacher walked by to ask where the rest of my lunch was, and I, exaggerating, said, "There's no food at my house." I MEANT there's no "good food" e.g., Ruffles, Dunkaroos, Little Debbies, etc., which I had a hell of a time explaining to my parents when the school called them, concerned I was being starved.
posted by masquesoporfavor at 4:33 PM on March 11 [3 favorites]


My mom recently told me the most embarrassed I ever made her was when she and my dad were out to dinner with a colleague, a very fancy dinner, and they had just been bragging about what great kids they had, when the maitre d' came over and was like "Madame, your daughter on the phone" and I (who was babysitting either 2 or 3 of my younger siblings ... probably just 2, by the time I had 3 I was much more forceful and didn't need parental backup) had called to complain bitterly that my siblings were WILDLY MISBEHAVING and I have only the vaguest recollection of this but there was probably a lot of yelling and crying on my end and my parents wanted to die.

My children most embarrassed me when we were in (the back corner of) Target and a guy next to us muttered "Jesus Christ" about something or other. My kids overheard, and the 3-year-old said, "Jesus Chwist!" and the 18-month-old echoed, "JESUS CHWIST!" I tried to distract them with shopping, but they thought this was just too much fun so they repeated "Jesus Chwist!" "JESUS CHWIST!" and got louder and louder each time. "Guys, cut it out or we're leaving without treats," I warned. They got louder because people were staring more the louder they got. I started booking it towards the front, abandoning merchandise, while my kids shouted "Jesus Chwist!" "JESUS CHWIST!" over and over and over. About halfway there they realized I was making good on my threat and we were leaving with no toys and treats, and they both burst into noisy wails and the older one started shouting, "STOP IT, MOMMY, YOU'RE HURTING ME!" by which he meant, "you're hurting my feelings," but you can't really stop to explain that to judgmental strangers while shame-hustling out of the store. Anyway, we abandoned our full cart and I fled the store with one sobbing child under each arm, both still shouting a combination of "JESUS CHWIST!" and "STOP IT MOMMY YOU'RE HURTING ME!" SO GREAT.

This week's Feast was pork chops in a dijon sauce, apples (cooked in the pork chop pan), corn niblets, spinach salad (with mandarin orange slices, shredded swiss, bacon bits, toasted almond slices, and honey-mustard dressing), and rolls. The kids keep wanting pork chops because there are pork chops on MineCraft. I have nothing against pork chops but maybe don't need to eat them as often as MineCraft suggests.

I did nothing interesting this week!
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) at 4:35 PM on March 11 [68 favorites]


*I* was a model child, so I'll gossip about my younger brother instead. I was really into ballet, and my parents took us all to see "The Nutcracker" every year when I was little. My brother must have been three or four this particular year, and we had really good seats, right up near the front, for the Chicago Ballet's performance. My brother did not like ballet, even ballets with giant dancing rats. He sat through the first half fairly quietly, though, and everyone fawned over how good he was being at intermission. Then the lights went back down, the curtain came back up, the Snowflakes started to dance, and my brother, from right near the front of the stage, yelled, "OH NO, NOT AGAIN!!!!!"
posted by lazuli at 4:37 PM on March 11 [52 favorites]


Can't think of any embarrassing stories at the moment.

Tonight we had dinner with my sister & her family. She broke her arm last week, so I got to sign her cast! It was the first time I ever got to sign a cast so I was excited about that.
posted by yoga at 4:57 PM on March 11


I was a perfect angel who never embarrassed my parents in any way.

Some good things happened this week: I started doing ESL tutoring, which was a bit nerve-wracking but went better than I thought it would. I am house-hunting.

Some bad things, possibly related to the good things: I am in a complete anxiety spiral. If I actually buy a house, I am pretty sure that I will literally asphyxiate from anxiety, because I haven't been able to breathe properly since I started looking.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 5:00 PM on March 11


Nothing especially interesting happened to me this week, but I did finish my taxes this morning. It looks like my refund is going to more than cover my credit card debt so hey good news.

And because I love my furry monster, here is a picture of my cat licking his own butt.
posted by janepanic at 5:04 PM on March 11 [3 favorites]


Toilet training my kid, went to a restaurant for lunch, take kid to toilet, we exit toilet and kid yells I DID A WEE WEE!! to the whole restaurant. Actually it was pretty funny.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 5:10 PM on March 11 [3 favorites]


Oh! I was once at a restaurant with my brother, sister-in-law and nephew, who was about three. He had to go to the bathroom, and I needed to go, too, so I took him. So we're making our way to the bathroom, and in the middle of the restaurant, he yells: "I have to go peepee with my penis! And you have to go peepee, too, but you don't have a penis, Aunt Aribitrary, because you're a girl! You have a BAGINA!" Yup. I briefly considered whether I should explain that girls don't actually pee with their vaginas, but I decided that anatomy lesson could wait.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 5:22 PM on March 11 [18 favorites]


a really interesting exhibit that explained all about how babies are made. [...] about three decades later, and was somewhat startled to see that it was pretty much the same exhibit. I think they've finally updated some of it.

wait

the old way of making them isn't current anymore? is this an England-specific update or have I been embarassing myself for years
posted by queenofbithynia at 5:24 PM on March 11 [41 favorites]


My brother, not me: a paternal great-grandfather was a hobbyist woodworker and made a beautiful chess table for each of his sons' homes. My grandmother had it on display in her formal living room (ivory carpet, champagne furniture, etc.) with porcelain chess pieces she bought in West Germany.

There was a family party at my grandparents' house with out of town relatives, etc. It may have been for my youngest brother's christening, actually. My mother had me, an angelic 4 year old, my 19 month old brother and a new baby. She lost track of Middle Brother amongst all the relatives, and when she found him, he was in the living room playing with the chess set. Not ideal but no harm, no foul.

My mom got closer to grab him and to look for breakage. That's when she noticed he had emptied the contents of his diaper onto the chess table. The chess pieces were covered in poo, including inside some of the pieces.

My mother had to run a dirty baby to the bathroom through a room full of my dad's relatives, some she had only met 3-4 times (she had only been married into the family for 6 years or so), then explain to her in-laws that her feral toddler smashed his own shit all over a family heirloom.

My grandparents did not stop loving her or my brother after that, miraculously. ;)
posted by tippy at 5:26 PM on March 11 [7 favorites]


I think I embarrassed my parents by cutting my hair & getting a career. & me, I am unembarrasable as far as the kids go. When Erin was 3 she would loudly walk up to anyone in the world & announce "HI, I'M ERIN, WHAT'S YOUR NAME?" & it was a tad worrisome, but seemed to bother the odd stranger more than it bugged me. When we went to Garden of the Gods last January, there were lots of people walking their dogs & she stopped Every. Single. Person. With a dog & said "HI CAN I PET YOUR PUPPY?" & I got a little rolly-eyed, because good lord, you're 24 woman, but her & the puppies were having such a good time, I really had to just go with it. She was also wearing a kitty hat with eyes & ears. This is an engineer. Who is 4. Hell, I love that kid & her dopey animal hats.

The most interesting thing that happened this week was I played Siberian Kahtru at a gig Wednesday night & no one made a verifiable blunder. It was actually pretty damn marvelous. I got kinda goose-bumpy at the little harpsichord-bass duet bit in the middle of the bridge section (half of that song is bridges upon bridges - it's structurally unsound) & all 10 people inside the Carousel Lounge other than us enjoyed it too.
posted by Devils Rancher at 5:27 PM on March 11 [6 favorites]


While packing up for a car-camping trip with my 3 and 4 year old daughters; I let them sit and watch My Little Ponies while I was finishing up, it was the episode where the ponies fall into quicksand. I paid little attention, but noticed the content, as I asked them to turn it off, we were ready to go.

I went down near Moab, to cross the Paria River, and see an old settlement of dugout stone houses, on the far side of the river, which is shallow, and runs in many courses in the wider part of the plateau before entering its narrows. It is about a half mile across, it seemed, and coming back, one of the girls stepped in some quicksand, and asked what that was and I stupidly said, "Oh it is just some quicksand." Wild panic ensued, so I sat them on a log, and explained how you cross, and avoid quicksand, blah, blah, blah when one of their little legs sank again, up against the log, where we were sitting.

Then there was no calming them, and I had to put one on one hip flying style, and the other on the other, and cross the river with them screaming all the way. They were better once we hit the dry desert. I was quietly laughing while carrying them, the absurdity of that stupid cartoon, reaching out to slap me up the back of my head, out in the middle of nowhere.
posted by Oyéah at 5:39 PM on March 11 [12 favorites]


"a really interesting exhibit that explained all about how babies are made"

Heh. My oldest is very gregarious. In kindergarten, his class had recess with a fifth-grade class. Mostly they ignored each other, but my kid was like "OH HELLO POTENTIAL FRIENDS WHO ARE TWICE MY HEIGHT." So they told him about sex. So he comes home one day and is having dinner at the kitchen counter, my husband supervising, and from the other room I hear him ask, "Dad, do you have a pipe that you use to give mom babies?"

And my husband -- this is 100% true -- panics and starts explaining sewer pipes. I shouted from the other room, "ARE YOU SERIOUSLY TELLING HIM ABOUT SEWERS?" I sat him down with my book (From Conception to Birth, a gorgeous coffee table book that turns prenatal scans into art, and includes scans of conception) and explained how babies are made and at the end I was like, "Do you have any questions or anything you want to tell me?" and he goes, "THAT'S AMAZING!" like he's in Anchorman.

That's when she noticed he had emptied the contents of his diaper onto the chess table. The chess pieces were covered in poo, including inside some of the pieces.

We call this general phenomenon "Poopcasso." As in, "He took off his diaper and went all Poopcasso on the wall ..."

posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) at 5:49 PM on March 11 [19 favorites]


So, BITD when my brother was an infant, mom took us to the aquarium. We're at the dolphin tank, and she leans over to get a better look, when suddenly the burp rag on her shoulder slides off and into the tank.

Someone noticed, and they decided that they had to send a diver in to get it out quickly, because I guess the dolphins will play with whatever fun thing winds up in the tank, and it was a choking hazard? Or maybe just not very sanitary. Iunno, this was decades ago.

Mom decides the best thing to do is slip away quietly; it's being handled, but there's no reason for us to be around to be mortified about it. But six year old me insisted - very loudly, I'm told - on staying to watch the diver get "YOUR DIAPER OUT FROM WHERE THE DOLPHINS ARE".
posted by spaceman_spiff at 5:58 PM on March 11 [2 favorites]


My most amusing story about being embarrassed by my parents is probably our history of shitty cars. Most of them were salvaged for free or cost under $500 in 90's money. For a time we had a '76 Cadillac (aqua, 4 doors, ashtrays that eventually I filled with chewed gum, sorry mom and dad) that had to have its horn disassembled because condensation on the contacts would freeze at 3AM and cause the horn to honk unceasingly. (This is pretty much how we learned that LA gets cold enough to freeze at night.)

For a long time we had a brown candy-van with a grate over the back window and a grate between the driver and passenger seat in the front. I rode on a pillow in the back and clung to the grate when there were turns. The van was actually pretty rad because we could put a mattress back there and go camping in relative luxury. I spent much of the day of the Northridge earthquake back there because dad had to go to work, and he was worried about leaving us at home. It is also the only vehicle we ever had access to with air conditioning and heat. Cars with climate control still amaze me. Power windows, too-- I mean, talk about luxury!

Just in time for high school, the caddy and the van were replaced by an '83 T-bird which was a beigey-puke-yellow and had mismatched taillights (the '84 taillight cover fits on the '83 but doesn't match; that's the kind of thing you learn when your parents get a fix-it ticket) and which had a power steering fluid leak onto something hot, so it billowed smoke basically all the time. (If your car smokes, people will pull up alongside and shout HEY YOUR CAR IS SMOKING, so helpful!) It also had a Darwin fish and a bumper sticker reading ISIS ISIS RA RA RA (my mom was a neopagan, long story), our two dogs with their heads out the window that worked, a piece of plastic with a hole cut in it for the window that didn't work, and a bunch of random throw pillows. The radio station would swing back and forth between pre-sets when we turned sharply-- and I went to school on top of a hill with a single, winding road. So we'd get a bit of jazz from the station all the way down in the 80's somewhere, and a bit of KPFK at 90.7 on the right, and if we turned a harder right, we'd get the classical station at 105 something. The one and only time we picked up a friend of mine from school, the entire plastic housing of the door-handle area came off in her hand. The T-bird gave its life for us nobly when it was T-boned by a forklift in a 4-way intersection (the sun was in the guy's eyes, he didn't mean it.)

Now this made me clearly the coolest kid in school, and what really cemented that position was the matte mint-green-and-rust '62 Dodge pickup covered in bullet dents and pockmarks from its time as a broke-down "shootin' car" in an orchard in Yolo County. It came with my stepfather and he loved it and it broke his heart when we had to sell it, but long before that happened, I had to get picked up from high school in it. The Dodge's engine block was held in with a stout chain, and periodically it needed its fluids topped up, but which fluid at which time was always kind of a guessing game. It was loud as hell, too, which was kind of cool in a motorcycle kind of way, but it also rattled (more so when the lumber rack was attached.) The back was rarely used for hauling, so the tree over our driveway shed and small tree sprouts would come up in the spring because of course we never shoveled it out. There was a big old dent from a .357 on the top-- a dent and not a hole, they do not make cars like they used to-- and the best of all, the starter/electricals were tricky. It would die on hills, but the reverse movement of the wheels would start it back up again. Convenient! In the parking lot of the high school, we'd all have to get out and run to start the truck, and hop back in, wave to nuns taking walks and/or popular girls, and drive away like some kind of pack of Okies.

My parents were doing the best they could, but damn. Recently, I spent a lot of time riding around with my sister in her car before she moved away, and we both looked at each other one day after devouring some delicious takeout burgers, and I said, "You know, it really is remarkable. Here we are, riding around in a car younger than both of us, that has heat and a/c and a radio and no major problems, which you bought with your own money. Did you ever think you'd see this day?"
posted by blnkfrnk at 5:59 PM on March 11 [34 favorites]


I had tried on a new clove-scented spray just before rushing my (insanely chatty) little girl to karate, where there was indoor and outdoor seating. As soon as she saw and greeted the teacher, she announced very loudly that her mom would be sitting outside this time because she was worried her scent would be too strong.

I'm pretty sure I've mentioned it here before: when I was tiny, my dad taught me that Coke was "booze," and every time my mom went shopping and we passed the beverages, I would yell "BOOZE!!!!" at the top of my lungs. This was in Utah. She got all sorts of horrified and indignant looks.
posted by moira at 6:02 PM on March 11 [2 favorites]


what is the worst way you ever embarrassed your parents

I dunno, pick a day.

I'm guessing the worst was when we were going through airport security in the early 90s when pogs we still popular. My brother had two big tubes in his backpack and I made some joke about them being a bomb. That ended just about as well as you'd guess.

The other incident I can think of was shortly after we moved to Germany. I was prone to migraines when I was a kid, and we spent the day going around getting our new life set up, spending lots of hours in stuffy offices getting bank accounts open and whatnot. I felt awful at the end of the day, and we went to a restaurant for dinner where I ended up projectile vomiting all over the table.
posted by backseatpilot at 6:03 PM on March 11 [1 favorite]


When I was 3, my parents took me to Chicago to see relatives. I was a rural child, so this trip was the first time I saw an escalator. Right at my eye level was a big red button with the text "To Stop Escalator Press Button". So of course I did. (Yes I could read when I was 3). A couple of years later my mom was taking my temperature and I managed to bite a glass thermometer in half. Had to go to the emergency room to get my stomach pumped.
posted by Daily Alice at 6:08 PM on March 11 [3 favorites]


Oh,I think my brother's shining moment was when we were staying at our grandparents' one time. We were playing Monopoly and he was losing badly. He got very upset, loudly exclaimed that we were cheating him and he was going to call the police, and stormed out of the room. A couple minutes later there was a phone call - it was 911 calling back to see if everything was ok. My brother had called them and immediately hung up when someone answered.

My parents like to regularly embarrass me by telling the same stories repeatedly to friends and relations about my many failings. While that's an ongoing humiliation, the worst single instance had to be when my first girlfriend gave me a hickey and I didn't notice it. My parents gave me hell when I got home and my father chased me around the house with his camera so he could immortalize the moment.
posted by backseatpilot at 6:12 PM on March 11 [5 favorites]


"When I was tiny, my dad taught me that Coke was "booze," and every time my mom went shopping and we passed the beverages, I would yell "BOOZE!!!!" at the top of my lungs. "

When I was little, grocery stores where we lived (outside Chicago!) didn't open until 11 a.m. or later on Sunday, and only one of them sold booze on Sunday. We used to go there after church and my mom would see friends of hers and shout at the top of her lungs, "MRS. SMITH! ARE YOU BUYING WINE AT ELEVEN IN THE MORNING ON A SUNDAY?" I mean OBVIOUSLY my mom was buying wine TOO at 11 a.m. on a Sunday which is why she was in the only grocery store liquor section that sold it, but that was not the point, the point was my mom was willing to shout people's names at the top of her lungs to point out their liquor-buying ways EVEN THOUGH it was not even something culturally disapproved of, she just thought it was hilarious.

When we sent shopping for my first training bra, she sang the Jaws theme song the entire time. Just to fuck with me. As one does.

(That is when I learned you cannot actually die from willing yourself to die.)
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) at 6:14 PM on March 11 [8 favorites]


When I was little (maybe around age 3), my mom would always go inside the bank to deposit checks or get cash or whatever - this was the mid 80s, I'm not sure how popular ATMs were. She'd give me some deposit slips to draw on while she filled out the actual deposit slip, and she said they were checks.

So one day I'm in the bank with my dad, and I say "daddy I want some sex!" What? "daddy I want sex!!!! DADDY GIVE ME SEX I WANT SEX!!"

As my dad tells the story, I was very loud. He finally figured out what I was trying to say and apparently then used his loudest voice to say 'OH OKAY [insectosaurus], YOU WANT CHECKS! LET ME GET YOU SOME CHECKS!"
posted by insectosaurus at 6:14 PM on March 11 [13 favorites]


My brother had a pencil drawing of a panda in an all-school art show when he was maybe 6 or 7. Our mom looked at it closely and discovered that the panda had a tiny penis with the word "weinerman" written next to it in little tiny letters. The art teacher had missed this entirely, and I think she was honestly more embarrassed than our mom was.

Penis panda is still framed and hanging in my mom's office. My brother is in his late 20's.
posted by ActionPopulated at 6:19 PM on March 11 [44 favorites]


In other news, my baby [who isn't old enough to embarrass me yet] is learning how to cruise (aka walk while holding on to the coffee table / couch / anything that is the appropriate height). She has discovered that she can now cruise herself over to all sorts of exciting grownup things like REMOTES and MAGAZINES and COASTERS and grab them off the table. Whenever she sucessfully obtains said items she cackles with glee. It's so cute that I don't even mind that she hid the remote in her toy bin earlier today.
posted by insectosaurus at 6:22 PM on March 11 [7 favorites]


When I was in jr high, we took one of my friends with us once when we went to buy our Christmas tree. My dad had a metal whistle in his pocket ( he was a principal and used it on the playground) and he thought it would be hilarious to tweet the whistle whenever he saw a tree he liked. My friend thought it was hysterical. My mom and I were less amused.
On the Jaws theme-- I went to see the movie Jaws with my mom and one of her friends--again, I was probably in jr high. When we got back home that night, when I went into the bathroom and lifted the toilet lid, there was a rubber shark floating in the water.
No one ever admitted to it...
posted by bookmammal at 6:24 PM on March 11 [1 favorite]


I was a rural child, so this trip was the first time I saw an escalator. Right at my eye level was a big red button with the text "To Stop Escalator Press Button". So of course I did.

A couple years ago, my friend's kid, aged around 5, came over with her to my apartment. He lived with his parents in the suburbs, and I guess didn't know anyone who lived in an apartment building. When we went into the lobby of my building his eyes got really big --"you have an elevator IN YOUR HOUSE?????"
posted by insectosaurus at 6:25 PM on March 11 [5 favorites]


Catholic church--the Carmel Mission, to be precise, with much of the mass in Latin. Young Joseph, age 5? 6?, is understandably bored. Noticing the desiccated carcass of a fly on the pew next to me wobbling in the breeze, I became transfixed. It moved so easily, so gracefully, at the slightest of stimulus!

I leaned in and gave it a puff of breath. It tumbled a few inches.

I did it again. It went further.

I sat up and blew straight down from above. This time, its motion was less predictable--it spun in place and then moved toward the back of the pew, rising up a few inches in the air before settling.

Fascinated, I continued my experiment.

I didn't hear the priest when he called out to me--"You, little boy! Stop that!", I was informed later--but by God I heard my mother's whisper-shout, "JOSEPH YOU STOP THAT THIS INSTANT!"

We never went back to that church.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 6:26 PM on March 11 [2 favorites]


When our son was a wee bairn he had a female friend about the same age who couldn't say "push"—it came out more like "beat." Naturally, our son picked it up. So we're in a grocery store and they're sitting in the cart getting bored while I look at canned goods or something so they start yelling "Push me!" only it comes out "Beat me!" so I have two toddlers imploring me to abuse them in the middle of Safeway.

The same little girl also pronounced "tr" as "f" and she's in the car one day with my very proper mother-in-law and she sees a fire engine so she yells "Fire fuck! Fire fuck!" and I thought MIL was going to die laughing.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 6:28 PM on March 11 [2 favorites]


She would kill me if she knew I was sharing this..

My Mom didn't sleep with panties on. It was just a known fact in my house. This was, I assume, to make having sex with my Dad easier -- but I never actually asked her the reason.. and she continued to not wear panties even after they divorced. It's just how my mom rolled, y'all.

So young me figured this was normal. After all, Mom was not shy about it. There was no shame involved. It was a fact of life. The same as not wearing shoes in the house. Just how things are.

I don't remember how young I was, young enough to not have a filter but old enough to remember it. I was visiting my sister's friends house and his family. We were seated outside on their deck. I don't remember what the conversation was about.. but I felt the need to mention my mom's lack of underwear to everyone.

My Mother was MORTIFIED. She yelled at me and told me you just don't go around telling other people that your mom doesn't wear panties!

I remember being confused and angry because I didn't see what the big deal was.

I was never invited over to visit my sister's friends family again.
posted by INFJ at 6:28 PM on March 11 [2 favorites]


Wow, just one humiliation? How about just today? Today, I'm embarrassed because I'm letting my son watch a cartoon on Netflix called The Day My Butt Went Psycho, which may as well be called, Don't Judge Me Fuckers I Needed This 22 Minutes of Glorious, Glorious Peace.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 6:38 PM on March 11 [23 favorites]


My 5 year old son, pointing to an asian man in line ahead of us in the checkout : [Loudly] Hey Dad, that guy was made in china like our piece of shit DVD player!"

The guy laughed it off, but I am certain I have been burned in effigy.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 6:46 PM on March 11 [10 favorites]


the old way of making them isn't current anymore?

*snerk* As far as I know, the method remains the same. Why an interactive game about genetics that I remembered from 1976 was still there in the 2000s, though...
posted by thomas j wise at 6:52 PM on March 11 [1 favorite]


I am currently in a hate/hate relationship with my narcissistic mother, so no cute stories. However, I made my husband and very large batch of chocolate chip cookies last night and pulled a couple of frames of honey from my hive today, so that's fun.
posted by Sophie1 at 6:54 PM on March 11 [10 favorites]


When I was about five, one day I was hanging out in my yard with my friends Joey and Julie. My mom was out and I think maybe my 7 year old brother was supposed to be watching me. It was the 1970s, after all. Anyway, we came upon a hose an a dirt pile, which, when combined, resulted in some pretty sweet mud. One of us, I don't know who, rubbed some mud on the aluminum siding of the house.

So we decided we would paint the house.

We proceeded to rub mud all over the side of the porch. "We're painting the house!" we sung with glee. We continued for, I dunno, ten minutes or so until... MOM pulled into the driveway in our big ol' American car.

"What are you doing?!" she asked.

"Painting.", we all said in unison.

And then we ran. Like the wind.

I'm not sure where we ran to, we just ran. When we returned, mom was hosing off the aluminum siding, destroying all our hard work.

Fortunately, this was the sort of thing she was able to laugh about, rather than punish me for. I don't think I got in trouble for it.

As far as my own parenting episodes, I can't really recall one that happened with my own son, so I'll tell about an incident I had with my nephew.

My family is fortunate to vacation in a family cottage in Quebec, something that has been in my wife Amy's family since about 1920. We spend a lot of time with Amy's sister's family and I have had some great times with my nephew Roddy, who is now 25, but whom I've known since he was three years old.

When Roddy was about eight, the two of us were playing in that fun way uncles play with their nephews. I was chasing him around the cottage and caught up with him. When I noticed the back of his underwear sticking up a little bit, I did what any uncle would do and proceeded to give him a wedgie.

I took it a little too far. So to speak.

Long story short, Roddy started crying and ran upstairs to the room he'd been staying in. I was absolutely mortified, so I went up to apologize.

I kneeled down by his bed, where he had his head in his pillow, crying.

"Hey, man, I'm really sorry. I should not have done that. Can we still be friends?"

Roddy turned around, looked me in the eye, and punched me square in the nose. Hard.

Like, really hard. The little bastard clocked me. I guess I deserved it.

We still laugh about it.
posted by bondcliff at 7:16 PM on March 11 [8 favorites]


My grandmother managed to embarrass my father (her son, middle aged at the time) during a now infamous Meijer excursion.

My father took his mother to pickup some photos. While she was doing her thing, he wanted to check out some camping gear. The photo department had a bench, so he told her once she was out of line to wait for him there and he'd be right back.

As soon as she finished she apparently had them page my father over the PA system to meet his party in the photo department. He had just reached the camping aisle, so was slightly concerned when they paged him and headed straight back. He was very confused when she was no where to be seen.

He gets paged again, this time to meet his party at the deli. Of course, by the time he gets there she's moved on. So he starts walking the aisles looking for her.

The third and final page in a slightly strained tone (possibly from suppressed laughter, he wasn't sure) "Mr. Phonemesdad, please meet your mother at the main exit."

This time she stayed in place, kept there by two friendly employees who let her happily chat away. My grandmother greeted her son with a "There you are. Did you get everything you needed?"

He swears you could feel the release of pent up laughter as they left the building.
posted by ghost phoneme at 7:18 PM on March 11 [6 favorites]


On a family trip to Devon when I was small we found ourselves standing at a bus stop heavily spattered with bird droppings (a new word for me!). Mum said she could have died when immediately upon getting on the bus I loudly notified the conductor with "Excuse me Mrs Ticket Lady, droppings!"

Decades later and I've still not lived that phrase down.
posted by comealongpole at 7:19 PM on March 11 [1 favorite]


a bumper sticker reading ISIS ISIS RA RA RA

Something that would be embarrassing in an entirely different way, today.

our history of shitty cars

When I was a kid, my parents had a whole series of shitty cars. None of them lasted very long, and my poor father had to spend his afternoons and weekends trying to fix the terrible pieces of shit only to have them break down shortly thereafter, rinse and repeat. Once I was old enough to see the difference between our shitty cars and my friends' parents' new cars, I found the whole thing terribly embarrassing, though today I understand how impressive it was for my parents to make things work with not much money and I am retrospectively embarrassed by my embarrassment.
posted by Dip Flash at 7:22 PM on March 11 [10 favorites]


My wife is running for public office so I'm flying solo with my son a lot more. Tonight I thought it was time to share Lord of the Rings with him. We did Black Cauldron last week and he really liked it, so I figured with some planning and enough pizza he could make it through the entire Extended Edition of Fellowship of the Rings.

We didn't make it through the first disc. He was totally in to it, but had a lot of questions, random stuff that your normal six year asks, you know. For example, he wanted to know the relationships between every major race. Elves and Dwarfs don't like each other? What about Elves and Hobbits? Hobbits and Dwarfs but there's a Wizard too?

Usually when he gets "asky" like this, we end up getting frustrated start answering with "I don't know, just watch the movie." but this is LORD OF THE RINGS so not only has every answer to his questions been provided, but Dad is totally okay with diving deep into the background, although tinted in a way a six year old could understand.

So my parental shame? Explaining the Stewards of Gondor as being the Assistant Principals of Gondor - which from the way he groked it ended up revealing a lot more strife at his school than we realized existed.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 7:24 PM on March 11 [42 favorites]


Oh, and btw, Eyebrows, I've come to start actually looking forward to these threads as something I do on Saturday nights before watching SNL. Thank you for starting them, and for continuing to do them.
posted by bondcliff at 7:26 PM on March 11 [22 favorites]


Almost-three-year-old is too young to get embarrassed so I still get to squeeze him in public all I want. Goo.
posted by not_the_water at 7:32 PM on March 11 [1 favorite]


When I was very young, I liked to pretend my family members and I were all Disney characters - I was Mickey, my baby sister was Donald, and I would assign my parents different names depending on whatever Disney movie I'd happened to have seen recently. This would go on for hours at a time, during which I called everyone by their Disney name.

While I do not remember this, my mom tells me that one time we were getting lunch at Wendy's and when she went to get napkins and the like, I hollered across the room, "HEY DUMBO BRING ME A STRAW"

She says she got a lot of appalled and pitying looks from the other moms who were there.
posted by DingoMutt at 7:41 PM on March 11 [14 favorites]


Whenever my mother or father would pick me up as a child, I would repeatedly order them to (in as loud a voice as my 2-4 year old self could muster), "PUT ME DOWN, LADY." Didn't matter which one was holding me. Response from other people was exactly as concerned as you'd expect.

I also regularly took my clothes and diaper off during services at church/temple. Actually, I think I did that a lot in general up until I was about 7. Now I have the sense to wait until I get home to do it.

Other than that I am told I was a fairly agreeable child.
posted by Hermione Granger at 7:52 PM on March 11 [3 favorites]


I don't have any good parental stories right now for similar reasons to Sophie1, but I do have a couple of friends who are having a shared birthday cookout tomorrow. We are, among other things, responsible for bringing the piñata that one of them--call her K--has requested for her 32nd. Asked what sort of piñata she'd like, she specified only that it a) come from a local piñataria, not a white-person big-box store chain (which, yeah), and b) that it be "something nice, nothing bad. Um. Something fun? Or maybe pretty? Nothing like the Donald Trump piñata?" (We had one of those for Halloween, and she was adamant that she didn't want something that depressing at her party.)

Fair enough. A few days ago, my partner T ran down to the piñataria after dropping me off to work, and I assumed they'd find something good like a princess or a unicorn or, I dunno, whatever the kids like these days. So I'm a little startled when my partner sends me this photo, which is for context pretty clearly located in our car. I immediately respond "what the fuck is that" and eventually determine after a panicked conversation that "it's Darth Vader, isn't it obvious?!?" Apparently, since both K and our other friend (call them A) who is celebrating a birthday enjoy Star Wars, my partner determined a Darth Vader piñata would suit them both nicely.

I could not in good conscience present this piñata to someone who wanted something cute and fun. Every human I showed the photo to recoiled in terror, squinted to see if perhaps it was some sort of gimp mask thing, or possibly both. So we huddled together and brainstormed about how we would make it better so everyone could haul off and smack it in good fun.

It turns out that googly eyes and a sparkly princess tiara work wonders. So now my friends will have a Princess Vader to beat the shit out of tomorrow afternoon if it doesn't rain too badly, and we can all grill whatever the mountain of meat my cackling spouse hauled back from the Costco together (with tofu slabs for the unfortunate vegans and vegetarians among our number) and laugh and celebrate. Then there will be a churro nutella cookie and three kinds of cheesecake and a pie, and everyone will bring far, far too much food and we will have to force the college kids to take home extra plates for later so we don't all have to put up with mountains of leftovers.

I'm looking forward to it.
posted by sciatrix at 8:23 PM on March 11 [27 favorites]


Does embarrassing my sister count? (and I hope I haven't already told this story, if so forgive me)

In high school I had a friend who was into performing magic - in fact that's kind of how we met, but I'll save that story for another time. One Saturday afternoon when we were 16 or 17 he got the idea of going to the local mall, performing a trick or two, then handing out "available for kids' parties, weddings, bar mitzvahs, etc." flyers. He asked for my help and I readily agreed. He decided he was going to drag me through the mall handcuffed with a big shackle of sorts around my neck until he built up a bit of a crowd, then magically "stick a sword through my neck". Ham that I was, I thought it sounded like fun.

So off we go through the main concourse of the mall, with me making a small scene and babbling about how he's going to run me through, yadda yadda, when what do we stumble upon but my 13-14 year old sister out with some of her friends. She came scurrying up to me in a fairly scandalized manner, hissing "What on earth are you doing?!?" I stayed in character, saying something along the lines of "help help he's gonna kill me" (naturally she well knew who he was and that this was just a stunt). She then stood up, looked me up and down in alarmed disdain, said "You're not my brother!" and hastily scuttled back to her friends fairly radiating mortification.

Later she told me she could have kicked herself for not just completely ignoring me, and nobody would have been the wiser. Of course, being a typical older brother, I was tickled pink at being handed a golden opportunity to embarrass her....

Oh, and we did the trick to a smattering of applause and had a fine time of it even though we got kicked out of the mall for him handing out flyers. We had a good laugh, and he managed to pick up some business from it nonetheless.
posted by Greg_Ace at 9:09 PM on March 11 [1 favorite]


I was a very good child who didn't do anything of note to embarrass my parents for the first 12 years of my life. (I've more than made up for it in the last 30 years but those aren't very cute stories.)
posted by MCMikeNamara at 10:37 PM on March 11 [1 favorite]


I have no memory of this, but my father says when I was about 3 I asked him if I could run through the sprinklers.

He said yes.... a few minutes later he saw me stark naked running through the sprinklers.

In the front yard.
posted by brujita at 10:43 PM on March 11 [2 favorites]


I have many other more embarrassing moments for my parents, I'm sure, but my favorite story is from when my family went to Hawaii in 1973, when I was 5.

My parents had lived in Honolulu from the early to mid-60s, so they had history there, and my dad's coworker-slash family friend had a condo at the Ilikai, on about the 13th[sic] floor. Everybody got together for a party, and my dad and his friend were out on the balcony drinking and chatting, at which point I assume I found myself bored. From the inside I strode confidently out to the balcony, and slid a big old abalone shell through the gap between the floor and the railing panels.

As my dad used to tell the story, he pulled me away and hung back, afraid to see a guy all sprawled out on his back like in a Mel Brooks movie, but there was only the star shaped powder pattern that the shell disintegrated into.

On the same trip I let off the emergency brake on a car parked on a hill, and it rolled down backwards (no damage to anything). This was not the only time I expressed functional curiosity in emergency brakes. Later (or earlier, I can't remember), I did it to our neighbor's car back home. I just so happened to be sitting on the ground right outside the driver's door when I pulled it, which caused me to run over my own legs.
posted by rhizome at 11:10 PM on March 11 [2 favorites]


By some incomprehensible emergent process, our kindergarten had divided itself into two factions, and I'd been assigned the role of leader of one of them. The other faction leader was Simon. Simon was probably as confused about this as I was. He seemed reasonable enough, I don't remember anything objectionable about him, but of course ex cathedra he represented the enemy.

The whole class was invited to Simon's birthday party.

I wrote on the card (in all caps because that's how I wrote everything when I was five):
DEAR SIMON, I HATE YOU BUT HAPPY BIRTHDAY ANYWAY.
Luckily my mom spotted it before we left the house.
posted by tangerine at 11:29 PM on March 11 [16 favorites]


me, an adult in my 30s, at my mom's house, watching a video a friend sent me of a small fat frenchie puppy falling in its own poops, screaming at the top of my lungs while hee haw laughing like a moron and clapping loudly: HE FELL DOWN! HE FELL IN THE DOODY!

my mom's professional colleague, on the phone: oh, i'm sorry doctor, it sounds like your grandkids must be visiting, i'll let you go!

my longsuffering mom, with a tragic sigh of humiliation: that's my adult daughter, she has no kids, that's just her, i don't know how this happened to me

me, still screaming: HE'S IN THE DOODY!
posted by poffin boffin at 11:31 PM on March 11 [41 favorites]


"Mr. Phonemesdad, please meet your mother at the main exit."

oh my god, my mom will still start yelling my name if we're in the grocery store together and I have "gone missing" and I am 32.

I did once make my dad super uncomfortable by asking him what an orgasm was around 45 seconds before he was supposed to drop me off at practice, after (obviously after) telling him a joke I had heard where the word "orgasm" was in the punchline. To his credit he gave me a totally factual answer ("it's, er, um, the height of uh, sexual pleasure") to which I responded something like "oh okay thanks bye love you!" in a slightly-too-chipper tone of voice and booked it out of the car.
posted by en forme de poire at 12:51 AM on March 12 [3 favorites]


Dinner with my mother's parents.

Overly precocious bb!me, about 7 years ol: hey mum, what is the difference between erotic and exotic?

Everything goes quiet, I am still reading. I continue: "they are different words but they use them kinda the same way?"

My mother, as her mother cackles wildly: exotic means from far away, and what are you reading?

I hold up a YA book I had found in the truly stacked shelves of my grandmother's house. Mum sighs. Slowly everyone goes back to eating and I go back to reading while eating.

Afterwards mum made an effort to look at what I was reading at least. It didn't last long.
posted by geek anachronism at 1:23 AM on March 12 [2 favorites]


Man, I can't think of any good stories of me embarrassing my parents, and I can't even think of anything that interesting that happened to me this week. My girlfriend and I saw a dead stingray floating in Lake Merritt today. That was pretty... unusual. We were like, are there normally rays swimming around in here?

Actually, I did get really excited when I saw a nuthatch on campus the other day. I'd never seen one before. I've only been into birding for maybe the past year or so, and 99% of the birds I see on campus are either crows, ravens, or dark-eyed juncos. So I was actually kind of thrilled to see something different, but I managed to keep it to myself in order to maintain my cool hipster exterior.

I'm thinking of investing in some binoculars, but the cost, as well as the threat of endless teasing from my girlfriend, are dissuading me for the time being (she's actually very sweet, but she teases about my reluctance to admit that I'm now officially into birding and therefore continuing to become more like my mother with every passing year).

Anyway, there you have it: the most interesting thing that happened to me this week was seeing a nuthatch. It was sort of a slow news week, I guess.
posted by shapes that haunt the dusk at 1:49 AM on March 12 [6 favorites]


Another toilet one...
We were visiting my home town and were in a cafe. I took my older daughter to the toilet - she was at the age where she could sit on the loo herself but needed some stabilization. Anyway, she finishes and I decide I need to go too. We were not particularly concerned about privacy at that age so it's nothing she hasn't seen before, but for some reason this is the time she decides to take a great interest and discuss loudly "ARE YOU DOING A WEE NOW DADDY? ARE YOU DOING IT WITH YOUR WILLY?"
Of course, because any toilet trip with a small child takes forever, by the time we came out of the tiny cubicle, there was a small queue of people outside who we had to walk past, all with very British "we heard nothing" expressions.
posted by crocomancer at 4:38 AM on March 12 [12 favorites]


Sciatrix, for the tofu, just an idea, but I usually press it overnight, then baste it with a glaze of soy sauce, sesame oil, black pepper, and kochujang (Korean chili paste, I've seen it written in English a hundred ways). Because its temperamental and likes to stick to the grill, either using one of those fancy fish baskets for grilled fish, or get a couple really cheap square grills, and place one on the grill, with the tofu on it. When it's time to flip the tofu, put the other square gently on top of the tofu, then flip it over.

It also takes smoke decently well.
posted by Ghidorah at 4:44 AM on March 12 [6 favorites]


or your children ever embarrassed you


When my kids, 3 and 6 at the time, decided during an afternoon coffee invitation in the speckless apartment of one of my colleagues to take off all their clothes and dance naked in the living room, assisted by the resident fluffy little bunny. Everyone laughed, but...

the worst way you ever embarrassed your parents
well i never
posted by Namlit at 6:00 AM on March 12 [1 favorite]


what is the worst way you ever embarrassed your parents

When I was four, I asked the bishop, who was visiting for tea, because we were that sort of family, if he would show me his nipples. For research purposes, I assume.

I'm sure I embarrassed them in many other, more important ways, over the years, but that's the example they've brought up again and again.
posted by lollusc at 6:23 AM on March 12 [14 favorites]


Picture, if you will, the hall of Oceanic Mammals at the American Museum of Natural History in New York. In the mid 90s, it was a huge cavernous round space lined with lit up diorama cases full of taxidermied seals and walruses and penguins. The famous blue whale floats overhead and in the center is a snack bar which serves beer and wine oh thank you AMNH. The hall is packed with tourists. I'm in line at the bar. My two children, aged about 11 and 4, are "looking" at the exhibits, with the 11 year old keeping a close eye on her younger brother. Slowly, I sense a vast disturbance in the force. There's a sort of hush and through it I hear my daughters voice, projecting clearly through the whole room: "Dead! They're all dead, dead, dead! Killed and stuffed! Dead animals everywhere!" And my son, the Greek Chorus, is running wildly from one case to the next, shouting "DEAD! ALL DEAD!"
posted by mygothlaundry at 7:01 AM on March 12 [57 favorites]


I'm on team "that guy's interaction with his kids made me feel fear that I really hope is more about my own trauma than it is about his parenting" so I'm gonna skip the question this time. But I did get an excellent gift from my sister this week following a recent spell of lousy health.

The note that came with them said "enjoy these or be smothered in mayonnaise and thrown to the market dwellers", a reference to the wording one of our cousins used on facebook to try and get people to turn up to his gig recently.

I don't know if anyone actually went to the gig/actually got smothered in mayonnaise and thrown to the market dwellers.
posted by terretu at 8:39 AM on March 12 [1 favorite]


I have a parental shame story!

I was apparently a very colicky, fussy baby. After a lot of sleepless nights, my mother apparently caved and decided to try the cry it out method.

So she let me cry and scream and wail and cry, and then at some point that night, someone rang the door bell.

Turns out it was a police officer who was concerned that this child (me) was being horribly abused because of all the commotion. My mother tried to explain the situation, but I guess he insisted on seeing me to make sure I was okay.

And that was the one and only time she tried the cry it out method.
posted by litera scripta manet at 8:49 AM on March 12


And one more:

My mother was a university professor for many years, and so on a number of occasions, I would have to go to work with her before I was old enough to be left home alone. Sometimes she would leave me with the department secretaries or with another professor in their office, but sometimes, she had to take me into class with her while she taught.

While my mother was teaching the class, I was in the corner at the front of the classroom, coloring and generally trying to keep myself entertained while my mother lectured. I was probably around 8 at the time.

My mother was in the middle of teaching, when the students started laughing. My mother was naturally very confused, not having made any kind of joke. I think she tried to continue on for awhile, before she finally stopped and asked the class what was so funny.

For the most part, I was a pretty quiet, well behaved child, but also kind of obnoxiously precocious and a bit of a jokester. So when I got tired of sitting there coloring, I started making signs, and holding them up the class. Things like,

"Help! Get me out of here!"
"This is so boring"
"I'm being held against my will"
etc.

Needless to say, my mother was not pleased, although I think she was somewhat relieved that the students were laughing at me, and not making fun of her. I don't think she took me to class with her for a while after that incident.
posted by litera scripta manet at 9:02 AM on March 12 [14 favorites]


what is the worst way you ever embarrassed your parents

Does my father getting chewed out at 2AM by the base commander because he caught 17-year-old me talking to his underage daughter who was sleeping outside with friends that night count? His primary emotion wasn't actually embarrassment.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 9:30 AM on March 12 [2 favorites]


I saved all my acting-out until college and my parents couldn't do anything about it, so this one is my brother's - during a family vacation (when my brother and I were both teenagers, I hasten to add), Mom and I went out shopping while Dad and Bro chilled at the hotel. It was unexpectedly chilly, so Mom borrowed my brother's jacket. She was a quarter short when she was buying something, so she decided to hunt his pockets for a spare. No quarter, but she felt something unusual in the breast pocket and didn't know what it was, so she pulled it out for a look.

It was a condom.

Me, Mom, and the clerk all just stared at it. My mother blurted out, "sorry, this is my son's jacket - " but then realized that made it worse so she shut up again. After another couple seconds I quietly gave the clerk a quarter myself and she wordlessly rang us up so we could leave.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:46 AM on March 12 [11 favorites]


my parents mostly embarrassed me
posted by philip-random at 10:56 AM on March 12 [2 favorites]


sometimes, she had to take me into class with her while she taught.

My dad took us to a lot of his graduate student courses, I think because the classes were small and usually had a lab component, so he could keep an eye on us while we did our own thing quietly and it wasn't to much of a disruption if we needed something.

One time we were there for his grad students final presentations. That was the day I decided to sit at the front of the class, with pen and paper taking notes. The first student finished his talk and asks for questions. He apparently chuckled a little bit when my little hand shot up in the air (I was 7 or 8) and called on me first for the softball question. I was making notes on my paper as I asked the question, so I didn't see the deer in headlights look that took over his face when I somehow managed to ask a good question that he didn't have the answer to.

There was no more laughter from the students that day.
posted by ghost phoneme at 12:03 PM on March 12 [18 favorites]


I have two younger brothers, we'll call them M (for 'middle') and Y (for 'youngest'). My father was in the Foreign Service, so we grew up all over the place; at this point we were in Tokyo, and my parents were giving a cocktail party for people from the diplomatic community (it seemed to young me that my parents' lives consisted of alternately throwing parties and going to parties). We kids had been sent upstairs to get ready for bed, and I was reading in my room when I heard some sort of suspicious event involving suppressed laughter in the hallway outside. As the Responsible Older Sibling, I opened the door and found M in the act of coaching Y (then maybe five?) to say "Fuck your mother!" Horrified, I took a couple of steps toward them, mouthing "Nooooooo!" and feeling like I was moving through quicksand in that horror-movie way, but Y shrieked with delight and toddled hell bent for leather down the stairs; I heard him squeaking the phrase to a room full of ambassadors, attachés, and associated dignitaries, and I retreated back into my room and stuck my head back in my book. To this day I have no idea what the reaction was, but I'm guessing the company was a lot more amused than my parents.
posted by languagehat at 1:09 PM on March 12 [5 favorites]


My mom says that her most embarassing moment with me was when I was about 5 she took me to visit my gramma and all her friends of course came over to ooh and aww at cute little me. Apparently there was a pregnant woman there and upon being asked if I wanted to have a baby cause I'm a girl I loudly declared that MEN CAN HAVE BABIES TOO COZ ON TV A MAN WHO HAS BEEN A MAN FOREVER BECAME A WOMAN and that (BROTHER) CAN HAVE BABIES NOT ME!! My mom still swears that she has no idea what TV I was watching but certainly must have been something my father let happen. All more amusing to me since grew up to be trans and child free.
posted by kanata at 1:19 PM on March 12 [6 favorites]


When I was a very small boy I went with my dad to Baskin Robbins for some ice cream. I have no recollection of this - I must have been 5 or 6 - but as my father tells it, there was a rather large man in full biker regalia standing in line in front of us.

I tugged on my dad's sleeve and declared, in the loudest voice possible, "Dad, that man is so fat."

I feel bad for just about everyone involved in that scenario. Kids, right?
posted by kbanas at 2:18 PM on March 12


At age 8, I got to play in Little League baseball. I wanted to be a catcher, cause it seemed cool, and at tryouts in the park I got to wear a mask, a chest protector, and our coach told us about another piece of equipment we'd need. So after we were dismissed, I ran full tilt boogie toward my Dad in the park bleachers and yelled "Dad! I need a protective cup!" which caused an eruption of laughs.

I still don't think he's forgiven me.
posted by jonmc at 2:49 PM on March 12 [1 favorite]


There is so, so much to choose from! a lot of which goes beyond embarrassment, past shame, and well into less hospitable territory I'm reluctant to give a name to -- but never mind all that!

When I was 3, and finally healthy after a long series of illnesses that had sucked our family's savings dry and strained everyone's sanity, my mother, who was rail thin and a bit of a clothes horse, thought it might be time to find a few new dresses and think about resuming a social life.

So when she and I were downtown one day walking around after a visit to my doctor, she ducked into one of the only fashionable shops in our small city, dragging along a reluctant me.

Standing in front of the usual triptych of mirrors, holding one of a small selection of candidate dresses up against herself just to get a feel for things, she saw an alarming flicker of motion out of the corner of her eye, and turned just in time to see an entire island of dresses I'd crawled under moments before topple over, shattering the 3 foot glass disc on top, smashing the elaborate centerpiece vase which had been on top of that, and breaking a large mirror the vase had catapulted into.

I don't remember any of that, of course, but over the years, I had to listen to her rendition of it more than a few times in the wake of various events of which it had been a mere harbinger.

Sorry, Mom.
posted by jamjam at 4:04 PM on March 12 [4 favorites]


I don't remember this but my mom claims I once pooped in a display toilet at Sears.

My dad was in the Air Force and he and his colleagues put on a performance of "The Wizard of SAC" (Strategic Air Command) and my dad was Dorothy- knowing his temperament, he probably chose to be Dorothy. Also, we had a Yorkie who made a perfect Toto. After seeing his elaborate costume - dress, wig, black shiny dress shoes covered in red glitter, and copious makeup, I went to school and told my teacher that "my dad goes to work and dresses like a girl." In early 1980s Kansas.
posted by bendy at 4:16 PM on March 12 [6 favorites]


You have all seen that film of the suspension bridge, torn apart by the wind because of harmonic resonance. Something like that. Well like this. Anyway my oldest child has and then had, the most distressing cry, and it, at its peak pitch, would cause my eardrums to warble as if they would break. She had an earache, so I took her up to the University clinic to an appointment, the first waiting room was full, a huge room full of kids, and parents. The second waiting room was also full, I mean 75 people or so, many couches.

We went in for the appointment, and they decided to lavage her ears out. She was 18 months old then, and three people held her down while she screamed to high heavens. They were sweating noticeably by the time a couple of minutes had gone by, and I wanted to remove my head and fling it, by that time. Then mercifully, it was over and we left. The waiting room closest to the exam room, was empty. The first room was standing room only, the room nearest us had been evacuated.
posted by Oyéah at 4:42 PM on March 12 [10 favorites]


When I was a very small boy I went with my dad to Baskin Robbins for some ice cream. I have no recollection of this - I must have been 5 or 6 - but as my father tells it, there was a rather large man in full biker regalia standing in line in front of us.

I tugged on my dad's sleeve and declared, in the loudest voice possible, "Dad, that man is so fat."

I feel bad for just about everyone involved in that scenario. Kids, right?


Years ago I was visiting my godson and his parents in a distant city when said godson was maybe three. In the course of the afternoon he made some passing reference to my being fat (not an untrue observation, btw: I am six inches taller than either of his parents and weigh as much as the two of them combined). His parents were mortified and changed the subject at once, even though I laughed it off.

The next day I was visiting again and godson commenced my visit with "Hello, Uncle Ricochet. I am not supposed to call you fat because that is not nice."
posted by ricochet biscuit at 5:03 PM on March 12 [12 favorites]


3-year-old chainsofreedom attended a preschool that encouraged parents to come visit/volunteer, so my dad would occasionally come to school with me. On Halloween, we were all sitting in Circle Time for a story - me, my classmates, my dad, the teachers - which was appropriately themed. It was a story about a witch's brew, and the teacher interrupted the story to ask us what we would put in a witch's brew. Several kids suggested spiders, and snakes, and other gross things, and then the suggestions died down a bit.

This is apparently where I saw my chance to participate, because after a couple of beats of silence, I piped up with, "Oh! We could put in some old nose!!!" Then, if anyone wasn't clear on what "old nose" was, I stuck my finger up my nostril, picked out a booger, and proudly showed it to the entire circle.

The other kids nodded sagely. My dad kinda wanted to fall through the floor in embarrassment at raising a wild beast.


In more current news, I finally got a new phone that isn't 3 models behind current capabilities. In addition to not shitting the bed every time I switch apps, this one also has the ability to run things like Neko Atsume. I am a little obsessed.
posted by chainsofreedom at 5:09 PM on March 12 [4 favorites]


I was in a supermarket as a 6 yo boy and saw a gigaaaantic rat run out from behind a fridge (it may have sat up on its hindlegs and winked at me in a rakish fashion or that might be the embellishments of memory). I screamed IT'S A RAT! IT'S A RAT! and at least five well-dressed supermarket people basically apparated around me with palms outstretched and said LITTLE BOY THERE IS NO RAT SUCH A STATEMENT IS PATENTLY ABSURD
posted by Sebmojo at 5:15 PM on March 12 [13 favorites]


Sciatrix: "Then there will be a churro nutella cookie [...]"

Wait, what?

Hang on, just a minute! You can't just type something like this and then move on like it's nothing special.

I need to know more about this magical churro nutella cookie!!! What is it? How do you make it? Where can I get it?

I MUST KNOW!
posted by Hairy Lobster at 5:32 PM on March 12 [10 favorites]


I was at the roller rink skating around behind my 12-y-o daughter and her BFF.

Sort of obviously lip-synching along to "Call Me Maybe." Hand gestures and everything.

If embarrassment-by-mom were lethal, it definitely would have been a close call.
posted by pantarei70 at 6:32 PM on March 12 [3 favorites]


When I was about two and a half, I decided that I was going to be a boy when I grew up. I didn't have any particular understanding of how this was going to work, I think I thought it would be like changing my name, which I had learned the trick of already. Anyway, I insisted that I was, in fact, a boy. And not just any boy. I was a recurring character from the Peanuts comic strip, Snoopy's brother. For a while, no one in my house knew his name, so I declared that my name was "Snoopy's Older Brother" and would respond to nothing else. Eventually we learned his name, and from then on I would answer only to "Spike".
My convictions aside, my parents continued to dress me in cute little girl clothes, and put little pigtails in my hair, and apparently I was a very cute toddler. Blonde curly hair, big blue eyes, big cheeks. I didn't mind the clothes, I guess.
My dad is still mortified by what was apparently a recurring theme when he would take me grocery shopping. I would be sitting in the cart, and someone, usually an elderly woman, would come up and smile down at me and say "Oh, what a cute little girl! What's your name, little girl?"
I, instantly enraged, would grab the edge of the cart and draw myself up to my full height of almost three feet and furiously scream, "I'm not a girl! I'm a boy! And my name is SPIKE!"
The elderly woman would be horrified.
Dad would apologize and tell them my real name, and apologize again, and then finish the shopping as quickly as possible.
This happened many times, because my "Spike" phase lasted approximately two years.
It also happened with my mom, but she is a much more relaxed person, as well as a natural shit stirrer, so she'd just smile happily at the stranger and roll with it.

My own two year old daughter has begun to wreak her grandparents' revenge. We did swim lessons at the Y for a while this fall, and she is very talkative. Narrates everything she sees. Including body parts. Loudly. While we're in the changing stall in the family locker room. Thanks, sweetie.
posted by Adridne at 6:32 PM on March 12 [6 favorites]


My daughter is a tween, so everything I do in public embarrasses her. Inhale, exhale, blink, it's all humiliating. In a change from previous years, this year it's terrible, no, forbidden for me to wear the Thin Mint costume at our Girl Scout cookie booths, but she gets to wear the Samoa costume. This is blatantly unfair.

I did get to wear it once last week, at this year's first cookie booth. I spent much of the two hours dancing around in the Thin Mint costume, trying to get the attention of the shoppers at the two marijuana stores across the street. This was all two blocks from our house.

...I may have just realized why she told me not to wear the Thin Mint costume at any of our subsequent site sales.
posted by The corpse in the library at 7:25 PM on March 12 [10 favorites]


I need to know more about this magical churro nutella cookie!!! What is it? How do you make it? Where can I get it?

Ha! This is something my partner's made (to my utter delight) a few times now and recently had a breakthrough on: if you dump the second half of the cookie dough between two sheets of parchment paper, pull one sheet away, and slap it over the top of the Nutella spread it all works much better from the original recipe. It's wonderful and distinguished itself as being the only dessert out of the four that got eaten in its entirety. Deservedly. We were all stuffed. Works best fresh out of the skillet when it's still hot and the Nutella layers are all melty and warm!
posted by sciatrix at 8:09 PM on March 12 [9 favorites]


Grocery store, Louisiana, 1996. Mom has taken me (12), my younger brother (9), and my younger sister (7) shopping with her. It's near New Year's, so she's getting the traditional side dishes, which in our house include new potatoes. Tiny little potatoes. Teeny weeny little potatoes.

For some reason, I become taken with the phrase "teeny weeny little potatoes" and begin singing it in a Gregorian-chant style thing. "Teeny weeny little po-taaaaay-aaay-aaytooooes." Over and over again. My younger siblings pick this up. Mom is now followed by three children Gregorian-chanting her around the produce department.

This is not enough. I begin harmonizing while my younger siblings continue chanting the backbeat. "Riiiippped unTIMEly from the womb of motherrr eaaaarth." This goes on through the entire store, with mom whisper-hiss-laughing "You rotten children. Stop it. STOP IT." while we ignored her entirely. Through the meat department: "Smaalll, and insignificant, and hoping only to be grown to the properly designated siii-iiii-iiiize." shut up shut up shut up stop it Through the dairy department: "Grown in darkness and brought forth into the liiii-iiiiii-iiiiighhhhhtttt."you rotten kids quit it knock it off knock it off. Through the cashier line, while she writes out the check. ""Destined to be coated in butter and ravenously consuuu-uuuu-uuuumed." At this point she is barely able to contain her laughter but has decided to pretend that this isn't happening. We continue all the way through the parking lot and only stop when we're in the car.

She still talks to me. Not sure why.
posted by athenasbanquet at 8:47 PM on March 12 [83 favorites]


"She still talks to me. Not sure why."

Oxytocin is a hell of a drug!
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) at 9:59 PM on March 12 [8 favorites]


When I was about 8, I apparently overheard my parents discussing some personal issues my grandparents were having. I don't think it was anything serious, but I took it into my head to sit on the arm of my grandmother's chair the next time we all visited and ask in what I'm sure I thought was a sophisticated and grown up fashion, "So I heard you and [grandfather] are having some problems with your marriage!" This is what happens when a small child is allowed to read an entire book of "Can This Marriage Be Saved?" columns from the Ladies Home Journal. My memories of this event are shrouded by my own retroactive mortification, but I remember my grandmother being completely taken aback, my mother being so embarrassed she could barely look at me, and me not quite understanding why they wasn't an acceptable conversation starter.
posted by MadamM at 10:05 PM on March 12 [14 favorites]


Um I basically only want kids if they will sing faux-solemn Gregorian chants anthropomorphizing my groceries
posted by en forme de poire at 12:15 AM on March 13 [42 favorites]


This is what happens when a small child is allowed to read an entire book of "Can This Marriage Be Saved?" columns from the Ladies Home Journal.

At least AskMe wasn't around, or you might have led with "DTMFA"
posted by en forme de poire at 12:16 AM on March 13 [9 favorites]


When I was younger, my parents used to spank me occasionally when I misbehaved. At some point when I was probably 7 or 8, I got it into my head that I could accuse them of child abuse, and it would make them at least hesitate from their threats to spank me, and also embarrass the crap out of them in public. Well, naturally, my parents caught on, and then my mom started threatening to bring me down to the police station so I could tell them that my parents were abusing me. The mere threat of this -- plus on one or two occasions actually sitting outside the police station -- was enough to get me to stop complaining about child abuse, because even then I knew you Do Not Call the Police and/or voluntarily immerse yourself into the criminal justice system. So, I guess what I'm saying is, good job younger me.
posted by likeatoaster at 5:49 AM on March 13 [4 favorites]


1) I was two and a few days after my baby brother came home from the hospital, I managed to color his head real good with permanent orange sharpie to provide hair.

All gentle feeble attempts at bathing just made him look off color and sickly.

2) Took a toddler sized bite out of a 40lbs cookedTurkey display/purchase. Mom could NOT afford 4 hours before Thanksgiving . After tears and kurfuffle (mom says the store manager had already decided it wasn't going to sell anyway) all was well.

3) told my first grade class I went to taco bell for thanksgiving. Which was true. But like only because grandma destroyed the Turkey. Left that part out.
posted by AlexiaSky at 5:52 AM on March 13 [5 favorites]


When my daughter was 3 she would whisper to strangers in the grocery store "you're going to die someday and nothing can stop it". She did it for like a week. A lot of nature books and TV lead to that moment.
posted by French Fry at 8:17 AM on March 13 [33 favorites]


There is so, so much to choose from!

Indeed. Many of the "as a kid I embarrassed my parents" stories were trotted out over and over again when I was an adult, in front of my friends, because my mom was Still Mad about them. So, I'll go for the alternative question....

We found a coffee shop in the booming metropolis of Barre which does a thing they call Jazzaoke where you do karaoke to jazz standards in front of a live six piece jazz band. This may be old hat in big cities, but it was beyond cool for us, so I headed out there with six of my friends and we all had a great time drinking hot chocolate (it was -2 out) and singing along to standards like Mack the Knife. It was a pretty low rent operation so the lyrics on the screen were just listed from some website so if you weren't careful the next lyric you'd sing would be "♪ find more lyrics at... ♫"

Me and my posse were fully 40% of the audience so it felt a lot more like a big fun house party than being out in front of a bunch of strangers. No embarrassment necessary!
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 9:00 AM on March 13 [4 favorites]


When my daughter was 3 she would whisper to strangers in the grocery store "you're going to die someday and nothing can stop it".

I saw that movie. I still can't be around toddlers in the supermarket.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 10:09 AM on March 13 [1 favorite]


I was six years old and my family went out to the one nice restaurant in town one evening, the type with tablecloths and cloth napkins and water pitchers. I, being six, didn't go to these places often. I think it was for my mom's birthday or something.

We're enjoying our meal, my dad finishes his first beer and the waitress asks him if he'd like another. He says, "sure!" and right then, my head snaps up and I exclaim:

"PLEASE DAD, DON'T GET DRUNK!"

I should mention here that my dad has never had an alcohol problem, nor have I ever had reason to believe he has an alcohol problem. I certainly didn't have any reason to think it at six. I HAD, however, just finished a very intense "say no to drinking and drugs" unit in my first grade class, and had taken all of the lessons to heart.

Buuuut the waitress and surrounding diners of course did not know this, and now they're sizing up my brother and I for signs of ill treatment and my dad, burning with embarrassment, cancelled the beer order and requested the check instead, soon please, yes thanks.
posted by castlebravo at 11:06 AM on March 13 [10 favorites]


We use kibbles as treats. When the cat gets ahold of a kibble, they give their head a thorough shake. I'm pretty sure that if the kibble were instead a small animal, that shake would break its neck. It's entertaining to watch the cat breaking the non-necks of kibbles.
posted by aniola at 12:15 PM on March 13 [5 favorites]


Ask your local butcher for kibble necks - sometimes they keep a few stashed in back that he can let you have cheap.
posted by Greg_Ace at 12:27 PM on March 13 [8 favorites]


When I was around nine or ten, I got these big fancy rhinestone earrings that I LOVED. My mom told me they made me look like a prostitute. I did not know what that was but didn't bother to clarify. Shortly thereafter, when we were out with a couple men from our church (at the mall? I don't know why we would have been at the mall with guys from church but that's the memory I have) I asked them if they liked my earrings, and told them that my mom said they made me look like a prostitute. There was a lot of uncomfortable silence. As an adult, I am proud of this moment because it was a horrible thing to say to me and although I did it unknowingly, my mom deserved every bit of embarrassment she got out of that.

Probably the most embarrassed I've ever been by my kid was when he said very loudly about the woman in front of us in line at the grocery store, "THAT LADY HAS A VERY BIG BUTT. WHY IS HER BUTT SO BIG?" which was a GREAT opportunity for a teaching moment about how bodies come in all different sizes.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 1:20 PM on March 13 [13 favorites]


We use kibbles as treats.

Well, dang. I was sure you were going to tell a story about a little kid in a restaurant shaking his head with every bite of food. :(
posted by Bruce H. at 1:31 PM on March 13 [1 favorite]


When I was a small girl, my uncle took me out to a fancy restaurant. Naturally I had to use the bathroom, so he took us into the men's room. When I emerged from the stall, he was using a urinal.

I stood right next to him and blew air at his pee-stream to make it spatter everywhere. I thought this was HILARIOUS.

I still do, tbh.
posted by rosefox at 1:41 PM on March 13 [16 favorites]


Of course teenagers can do embarrassing things too. When I was 13 or so, my mother came to my school to take me and my friend O. to lunch. O. is Chinese and lived in Chinatown; her parents ran a Chinese restaurant. My mom asked where we wanted to go to lunch, and I said, "How about [the local Chinese restaurant]—or are you tired of Chinese food?" My mom was HORRIFIED and thought I was being super racist. I was just trying to be thoughtful. :( I don't remember how O. reacted but I'm pretty sure we ended up getting pizza.
posted by rosefox at 1:48 PM on March 13 [1 favorite]


"So I heard you and [grandfather] are having some problems with your marriage!"

oh my God I did something like that but more romantic-comedy, I can't even tell the story
in retrospect I must have been creepier than Anthony Fremont but they never stopped loving me or letting me into the house
posted by Countess Elena at 3:07 PM on March 13 [1 favorite]


I called tow trucks hookers which leads to some unfortunate identification moments.
posted by AlexiaSky at 3:39 PM on March 13 [5 favorites]


Toddler child of mine yelled, loudly, in our very quiet communal condo driveway "DADDY DON'T FORGET YOUR BOURBON FOR WORK!" because she had decided all canned drinks are bourbon.
posted by geek anachronism at 5:31 PM on March 13 [19 favorites]


When I was in 5th grade, my English teacher made all of us write a poem as a homework assignment. I was WAY more type A back then than I am now, and also had the organizational skills of your average 10-year-old, so I forgot about the assignment until it was due, and then freaked the hell out when I realized I might not have anything to turn in. As Ms. Cochrane came around to collect our poems, I frantically scribbled out a limerick my dad had recently made up about me. I knew it was wrong, but I handed it in anyway, because the shame of being Without Homework was worse than anything.

Unbeknownst to me, the teacher submitted all of our poems to a semi-regional poetry competition. Mine placed, but did not win. And that's how my dad learned that his doggerel couldn't win a 5th-grade poetry competition. And that, kids, is how baby coppermoss learned that plagarism is bad!
posted by coppermoss at 5:42 PM on March 13 [8 favorites]


My cat will have a story about embarrassing humans:

"she was sitting all quietly and then she started laughing and gasping and shrieking 'teeny weeny little potatoes HAHAHAHAHA' omg wtf did I do to deserve this craziness interrupting my sleep?"

athenasbanquet in my imagination you and your siblings are wearing those long choir gowns and holding candles as you mournfully chant about the stunted potatoes short sad lives. I never knew I needed Gregorian chant grocery shopping in my life. Thank you.
posted by kitten magic at 12:39 AM on March 14 [15 favorites]


Frankly I like the idea of them doing it in Frozen and TMNT tshirts, maybe with chocolate smears on their faces.
posted by rhizome at 1:29 AM on March 14 [5 favorites]


I am in Florida now with my 70-cough year old Dad -- he retired down here 10+ years ago -- and its like a over-55 version of Grey's Anatomy/Melrose Place/Peyton Place. (Pick the show of your generation.)

Last night we were at one of his various social clubs ($10 steak dinner night - it was very good!) and some lady called my Dad's girlfriend and told her that he was here with another woman and she had to come here RIGHT AWAY. Naturally, the gf knew it was me, but this woman made such a fuss on the phone. After dinner when we went to the other club for drinks, everyone had already heard about it and one guy bellowed "Here's John and his scandal!" Yep.

Suffice it to say, Dad's doing well. And Mother Nature cancelled my flight back that was supposed to be today, so I get to experience darts/bingo tonight.
posted by kimberussell at 5:59 AM on March 14 [23 favorites]


Auntie likes to tell of the cab ride wherein I, 3 years old, am sizing up cab driver silently. After some time:

me: 'man, you gots big nose'
auntie is trying to shush me to no avail because then,
'man, you gots big teef'
auntie is getting frantic in trying to shush me now, but apparently my final observation was,
'man, are you going to eat me in a minute?'
posted by Klaxon Aoooogah at 9:53 AM on March 14 [12 favorites]


I left Mom this morning and just arrived back home after two weeks catching up with Mom and Dad midpoint between our countries of residence. That happens to be our passport country. Dad is now 79 but showed up with three laptops, a dongle and a mifi device, assorted accessories and cables.

He claims to be deaf and tells me to speak louder but naturally when I do he tells me to stop shouting at my father, do I have no respect? My eyes are whirling in my sockets

I find that this thread has triggered a lot of reflection and thinking and I'm glad it exists but I can't share anymore out here.
posted by infini at 12:06 PM on March 14 [2 favorites]


I am incapable of being embarrassed and this is why (or, the Perils of Honesty about Bodies):

One day, upon arriving at pre-school, I took my son to the bathroom. We each peed, and at the sink, he announced to me, loudly, that a sperm had come out of his penis.

Oh, really, I said? You know, I think sperm are too tiny to see, but maybe you saw a bit of dust or dirt in your pee.

No, he said, it was A SPERM and I know because IT WAS FUZZY.

I finally looked up and made a Jim Halpert face at the lady next to us at the sink, who was purple, and shaking silently with laughter, bless her.

This was the same preschool where he announced to his teachers that he found a grown up movie in mommy and daddy's room. We had the pleasure of explaining that it was the Lion King, which we'd decided he wasn't ready for. (Why did they even ask us about it?! What were we going to say if he found porn?)
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 12:29 PM on March 14 [20 favorites]


When I was about 10 my mom took me bra shopping, which on its OWN is the most embarrassing thing EVER GAAAHHHDD MAHHHHMMM!!

Survived that and went home. Apparently mom had told dad about the excursion, and to his everlasting credit he decided to try to be cool and invested (in our home we never and I mean never not once talked about anything genital/breast/sex related).

He put me on his knee and gave me a hug. Nice. I assumed my mom hadn't told him about shopping because ohmygodBRAS.

"So," he said, "uh, your mother tells me you got a new foundation garment today..."

A) it was 1980, not 1880.
B) I never before or since have heard that phrase.
C) to this day I don't know which of us was more mortified.
posted by tristeza at 4:26 PM on March 14 [12 favorites]


:'D I think the only time my dad referred to teh women's undergarments in my presence he called them 'foundation garmentry'. The memory burns but the term is hilarious.
posted by Trivia Newton John at 9:55 PM on March 14 [5 favorites]


My brother did not like ballet, even ballets with giant dancing rats. He sat through the first half fairly quietly, though, and everyone fawned over how good he was being at intermission. Then the lights went back down, the curtain came back up, the Snowflakes started to dance, and my brother, from right near the front of the stage, yelled, "OH NO, NOT AGAIN!!!!!"

This is now reminding me of an old family story about my uncle, when he and my mother and other aunts were kids- the family had all gone to see Bridge Over The River Kwai, and at the time my uncle was only about five. All the kids were well-behaved, but then right during the climactic scene, just as the train is about to cross the bridge before Alec Guinness blows it up, suddenly my uncle calls out, "it's tooooooo late noooooo-ooooow!"

Much laughter in the rest of the theater, including from my embarrassed - but amused - grandparents.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:19 AM on March 15 [1 favorite]


I am way late to this, and have no stories about me embarrassing my parents (though it must have happened), but I have to tell the shoe story.

I was about 12, and needed new tennis shoes/gym shoes. So my mom and I went to the shoe store and I found a pair of Avias that I liked. However, at the time (very early 90s), Avia's slogan was "For athletic use only" and my mom decided to take that completely literally. She honestly believed that the shoes....I guess, wouldn't work? if you wore them non-athletically. She thought she'd better ask a salesperson about it, despite my frantic and desperate pleas ("How would they even know, Mom?? How???"), so I went and hid in the back corner of the store while she did, hoping no one would connect me with this crazy lady who believed that there were shoes that existed that you could only do athletic stuff in. I still boggle at this.
posted by altopower at 10:27 AM on March 15 [4 favorites]


Oh god, I have so many more, although they're mostly times I should have been embarrassed and then I wasn't.

We're pretty secular Jews, and one day we went to the confirmation ceremony for our pretty secular Catholic friends. Two reasons we should have discussed What to Expect more thoroughly:

"HAHAHAHAHAHA Mom, that man saidJesus Christ!"

"Mama, did he just say they're celebrating the Holocaust?!"

Turns out I should also have brushed up on the exact definition of the Pentecost, and apostles, and the Holy Spirit, and also everything even remotely related to Christianity. Oops.
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 10:53 AM on March 15 [4 favorites]


I think the only time my dad referred to teh women's undergarments in my presence he called them 'foundation garmentry'.

My dad works pretty blue, but when I was young he was embarrassed by anything feminine about me that he had to mention. Once I wore a T-shirt where I'd cut the sleeves off roughly, and he said, "your Brazil is showing."
posted by Countess Elena at 11:10 AM on March 15 [1 favorite]


During a summer visitation, my nearly-11-year-old daughter was packing for Girl Scout camp, and we were going over the packing checklist. The next section was "Menstrual Supplies", and I realized that I did not know whether she was menstruating yet.

ETRIGAN: "So... do you know what 'menstruation' means?"
DAUGHTER: "Yeah."
ETRIGAN: "And..."
DAUGHTER: "And?"
ETRIGAN: [beat]
DAUGHTER: "Oh. OH. NOOO!"
ETRIGAN: "Okay, next section."
posted by Etrigan at 11:20 AM on March 15 [7 favorites]


After the Gregorian chants was a DMTFA comment and now forever I will read DMTFA in Gregorian chant sound with a long low aaaaaaaaaa.

So thanks.
posted by AlexiaSky at 3:02 PM on March 15 [5 favorites]


In my typically deadpan reality-as-humor: I most embarrassed my parents by existing.

The parental figures in my life who genuinely cared about me, my paternal grandparents, weren't easily embarrassable people. They'd grown up on Midwest farms (NoDak and Manitoba) during the Great Depression, both came from hard-scrabble immigrant parents, and they'd managed to find their very personal version of happiness and success together. As a result, they were DGAF people.

I do remember this exchange. Reminder: my paternal grandfather was mostly deaf (from his father boxing his ears as a child) so he spoke in all caps. For true accuracy also imagine the high whistle of 1980s hearing aids in the background.

I was on the baseball team in elementary school and had started learning curse words. Parents were fundamentalist Christians. Grandfather had been raised in a cult and got out of it as soon as he could. He was a live-and-let-live atheist.
Me, playing outside, something annoying happened: "Jesus Christ!"
Father, pissed off: "What did you just say?!?!"
Grandfather, curious because he hadn't heard: "What did she say?"
Me: "GRAMPA I SAID JESUS CHRIST"
Grandfather, clearly meh: "OH."
Father, to me: "You can't take the Lord's name in vain!!!!!"
Grandfather: "WHAT?"
Father: "SHE TOOK JESUS' NAME IN VAIN"
Grandfather: "WHAT'S VAIN ABOUT IT?"
Father, off-kilter: "YOU... YOU KNOW OUR BELIEFS!"
Grandfather: "AND YOU KNOW MINE SON"
Awkward silence on father's part.
posted by fraula at 4:31 AM on March 17 [8 favorites]


one time back in pre-K I went up to my teacher out of the blue and told her that my grandma liked to drink highballs for breakfast. (this was not true) When my mom picked me up that evening the teacher took her aside and they had a conversation which went something like this:

Teacher: I understand there's a problem at home?
Mom (confused): ...there is?
T: ...a... drinking... problem? in the family?
M: [laughs] no, no, there's no problem.
T: no, it's ok. Denial is a very common response to this sort of thing-
M: no, really, I promise you. [kiddo] just heard his grandma use that word the other day and got a real kick out of it.
T: [unsure] well ok, but if there's anything I can do, please let me know.
posted by Old Kentucky Shark at 1:42 PM on March 17 [2 favorites]


told her that my grandma liked to drink highballs for breakfast.

Your teacher and I different greatly on what constitutes a drinking problem.
posted by ghost phoneme at 3:45 PM on March 17 [2 favorites]


Every time this comes up in my Recent Activity I misread it as "Prenatal Shame." Which might describe a number of MeFites, come to think of it. I, for one, was anxious in the womb.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 5:41 PM on March 17 [2 favorites]


My mother is embarrassed pretty much perpetually, which I am working through in therapy and however else I can.

So, in other news I convinced a municipal building surveyor to take my (likely, I, and he, have no certain way to check) unpermitted building to exist as is without requiring a retrospective building permit. Which took all of my skills as a negotiator, building designer and construction manager and saves me somewhere around $10k. So I felt accomplished and bloody lucky. I believe it's the correct decision but it's certainly not the only one he could have made, or has made in the past.

So that feels pretty good.
posted by deadwax at 11:38 PM on March 17 [5 favorites]


My father embarrassed the life out of me a bunch of times by coming to my little league games and crying.

Inside I'd be all 'come on Dad, this is Colorado; every other dad looks like an extra in a Marlboro commercial, and you're sitting there bawling into a handkerchief!' But I could never say anything because it seemed like I was always doing something that hurt his feelings.

When I was 11, I deliberately blew a couple of potential no-hitters in the last inning to forestall any waterworks, and our coach, whom I loved, gave me a hard look the first time and didn't say anything, but the second time he confronted me as I came off the field when the inning was over: "Why in Hell did you do that? Those guys couldn't foul one off 'til you decided to start throwing batting practice out there!"

So then I tried not telling my Dad about a game and sneaking out, and that REALLY hurt his feelings when he found out.
posted by jamjam at 1:07 PM on March 18 [1 favorite]


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