Becoming A Woman

10 Sep

As my niece nears the age of puberty, I can’t help but remember my own journey to “becoming a woman”.  As with everything else in my life, it was an experience fraught with awkwardness.

I was 12 years old and vacationing with my parents and grandparents at Disney world – the so-called “happiest place on earth” (not on that day!).  To make matters worse, as if by some great symbolic gesture of my purity, I was dressed in all white.

I don’t know how long I walked around with that giant red spot on my white shorts, but I remember the exact moment I discovered it.  I think my childish-turned-womanly screech was burned into the memory of every other woman in the public restroom that day, as well.

After discreetly informing my dad and grandfather what was happening by shouting “SHE GOT HER FIRST PERIOD!” in the middle of the restaurant, my mom and grandmother escorted me back to the hotel.

toxic_tampons_pads_504x334Once in the hotel bathroom, mom walked in with a tampon in one hand and a pad in the other.  I wasn’t sure what to do with either, but the thick, cushiony pad looked a lot less menacing then the hard plastic thingy which I was informed was meant to be inserted INTO my little lady bits – no thank you!

Still…I was intrigued.  I knew my mom and older sisters used tampons. And now that I was a woman (or so I was told repeatedly by every female relative), I needed to get to the bottom of how this all worked.  So when I got my period again, I asked my eldest sister (who was 26 at the time) to teach me.

Me: {holding tampon} “How does this thing work?”

Sister: {squirms uncomfortably; resigns herself to conversation after I repeatedly shove tampon in her face} “Um… well, let’s look at the diagram on the instructions and I’ll talk you through it. As you see here, you place the tampon into the hole then –“

Me: “Which hole?”

Sister: {blink, blink} “What do you mean?”

Me: “I’ve got a couple down there.”

Sister: “It… not your butt hole! The other one.”

{Sister continues walking me through the process, even mimicking the movements shown on the instructional diagram}

Me: “I’m still confused. Can you show me, like, on yourself?”

Sister: “No. I…no.”

Me: “Then can you watch me do it?”

Sister: “This is one of those things you have to do on your own. I’m sorry.” {runs out of bathroom}

{After several awkward attempts, I think I mastered the tampon. Despite the discomfort, I am proud and want to show off to my big sister.}

Me: “I did it!  See?” {drop pants}

Sister: “I SAID NOT YOUR BUTT HOLE!”

Becoming a woman is hard work!

GOOOOOAAAAL!

26 Jun

As a child, my parents would ship me off to Argentina every summer break.  They said it was so that I could connect with my family, heritage, etc., but all I heard was, “Go be awkward around some other people and soak up some Spanish while you’re at it”.

I didn’t mind.  I loved being in Argentina – especially during the World Cup!

Although soccer (or futbol) in the United States has started to rise in popularity, nothing can rival the fanaticism of a Latin American country.  During a game women cry, men rip off their shirts, dogs howl… it’s NUTS.  Every time Argentina scored a goal, you could hear the entire neighborhood scream in unison along with the commentator:

GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAL

 GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAL

AR-GEN-TINA!!!!!!!

 

Messi_Goal

One summer, my dad’s parents (selfishly) decided that they would come to visit us instead of me going to them. I was devastated.

I wanted to see my cousins and friends!  More importantly, I wanted to see all of my neighborhood crushes.  They had no idea I existed, but I still wanted to see them.  Well… except for the Fish Vendor’s nephew who was painfully aware of my awkwardness following an incident in which I leaned in for a kiss, slipped, and face-planted in a patch of fish guts.  Him, I didn’t want to see.

My grandparent’s trip also happened to fall during a World Cup.  Unbeknownst to my parents, I took it upon myself to give the family the full Argentina World Cup experience.  For me, it was all about the celebration.

I diligently practiced my post-goal runs and obligatory jersey waving/kisses.  Now all that was left was perfecting the commentator’s goal announcement.  For this, I would need a private area.  Unfortunately, with 7 people crammed into a small house there weren’t too many places for me to hide.  But I was small and resourceful.

I found a spot between the fridge and dining hutch in which I could squeeze myself into.  “Yes”, I thought.  “This’ll do nicely”.  I then dropped my voice an octave and began:

“GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAL

GOOOOOOOOO-OOOOOOO-AAAAAAAAAALLLLLLL

 GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAL

GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO –

Oh, hey guys!”

Hearing what sounds like a dying animal, my entire family frantically ran to the kitchen.  Instead, they found me.

In my hidey-hole.

With my pet rabbit on my lap.

Screaming “GOAL”

In a Spanish, man-like voice.

My grandfather frowned, my parents feared for my mental stability and my sisters burst out laughing.   I tried to explain, but they just couldn’t understand what in the world would motivate me to do such a thing.  And why was the rabbit there?

The answer was simple: Awkwardness made me do it!

I’ve Got Answers! (finally)

17 Jun

 

Q&A

Thank you to all those who submitted a question to me via the blog or email.  I’ve had a lovely time reading your questions!

I also want to apologize for taking so long to respond!  I had intended to follow up after a week, but I had a family emergency that kept me occupied, but i’m back now and ready to answer your questions!

 

Dear Awkward Charm,

I’m actually writing a post about this, but I find that men in their 30s+ are easier at having spontaneous conversations. Most guys I’ve met in their 20s are pretty bad at it (of course my experience doesn’t speak for all women lol). Why do you think this is the case?

- Thoughtsofasbuxaddict 

Dear Thoughtsofasbuxaddict,

That’s a really great and thought-provoking question! My own experiences have taught me that guys in their 20s are like puppies. They have all the enthusiasm in the world.  As a result, they are more likely to come up and introduce themselves, but they lack the ability to maintain a conversation. And as a woman in my 30s, I find more and more that I have to carry the conversation, and it’s exhausting.  However, men in their 30s are a bit more refined.  I think they’ve had more opportunities in life that require them to speak to a wide audience of people, whether it’s picking up a woman at a bar or talking to their senior partner at work.  It’s like Curlydaz suggested, they are more content and confident with themselves.  Having said all that, you find duds and gems at any age! So don’t discard anyone.

- AC

Dear Awkward Charm,

I love your awkward stories and can relate to your awkwardness. I am looking for a new job. How do you handle the awkward interview? I always freeze or babble like an idiot when they ask if I have any questions. Help!

- Shannon

Dear Shannon,

That is so sweet of you to say, thank you! I’m glad you can relate to my awkwardness.  Unfortunately, that means that ,like me, you get really nervous during interviews.  During every job interview i’ve ever had (and i’ve had a few), I immediately break out into a flop sweat.  I go from dry as a bone to looking like I walked in out of a monsoon in about 60 seconds.  And my hands and voice shake.  Begging the question – who wouldn’t want to hire a sweat-soaked vibrating candidate? I mean…right?  However, as my name suggests, I do have a modicum of charm that makes an occasional appearance. Regardless of how nervous I feel (or look!) or how much the interviewer frowns at me, I smile.  I flash my giant chompers as much as and as naturally as I can.  And no matter how sweaty my palms get, I give a firm handshake that says “Yeah, I sweat. So what? Now hire me, fool!”  And believe it or not that charm and confidence has won over many an employer.  Of course once you get the job, you must also remember to continue to play it cool and not forget the names of important people you interviewed with the day before…like some people have done… {ehem}.  Good luck!

- AC

Dear Awkward Charm, 

There’s a girl I like at work.  We get along really well.  The problem is, she’s kind of awkward.  I really like that about her because she makes me laugh but it also makes it hard to tell if she’s flirting with me.  How can I tell if an awkward girl likes me?

- Ben

Dear Ben,

Oh, Ben.  First of all, let me commend you on liking someone BECAUSE of their awkwardness. Bravo!  However, that awkwardness does complicate things a bit.  An awkward girl’s interest in a guy is most often proven by how far out of her way she goes to ignore him. Heaven forbid we awkwards should talk to the person we like! Something horrifically embarrassing might come pouring out of our mouths!  BUT, given that you work with her (and i’m guessing see her on a daily basis?) means that she’s probably more likely to flirt with you in the traditional sense (eye contact, touching, laughter, etc.) because she’s forced to be in close proximity to you.  Keep in mind, awkwardness is fueled by a heightened sense of anxiety.  So as nervous as you are about asking her out, she’s probably 10x more nervous about every situation in her life.  It also sounds like you guys get along really well and you make her feel comfortable (or comfortable enough to seem flirtatious), which is a huge bonus in your favor!  Awkwards love nothing more than being around those who put us at ease.  Personally, I think you should ask her out.  What’s the worse that can happen? Things get awkward? Guess what… they already are!  Good luck, Ben! Keep me (us) posted!

- AC

Dearest Tia Awkward, 

Why are you always soooooooooooooo AWK?

- Your Favorite Nephew

Dear “Favorite” Nephew,

First, stop speaking to me in text and write out the word “awkward”.  That’s just being lazy.  Second, is this because you’re still angry at me for chasing you around the living room yelling “Give your auntie a big kiss” when your friends came over?  I already told you, you set me up for that one by begging me to “be cool for once”.  Lastly, I wouldn’t make fun of me if I was you.  We share similar genes.  {squint}

- Love, Tia AC

 

Ask A Question!

28 May

ask-me-questions-picture-313You have questions. I (might, maybe?) have answers!

My Awkward Charm blog has been in existence for a little over a year.  During that time i’ve had people ask questions about awkwardness and/or charm as it relates to dating, work, etc.  I always do my best to answer them, but it occurred to me that it might be more useful (and fun-er) to answer all of your questions at once.

So here is your chance to ask any of your burning questions!  Just think of me as your awkward Dear Abby.

Directions:

Leave your question(s) in the comments or email awkwardcharm@gmail.com

I will answer all the questions I receive in my next post.

My Achy Breaky Foot

18 May

tippy_toes_by_probablythepenguin-d39g6avLast year I tore a ligament in my foot after attempting (and failing) to jump over a set of dog steps.   At the time I had thought that was the dumbest way to injure myself.  Until about a week ago…

One minute I was standing upright.  The next minute I was on the floor clutching my foot and calling for help.  Luckily I hurt myself while at my mom’s house so I had someone to help me.

Mom: “What happened, mi nena?”

Me: “My foot! I think it’s broken. It hurts sooooo bad!”

Mom: “OK, I get you a foot bath”

Me: “What? Why?”

Mom:  {Shrugs nonchalantly as if her daughter weren’t writhing in pain before her very eyes} “The women in my village used to say warm water with salt helps sore feet.”

Me: “This isn’t Spain during the 1910s, MOM!  And I’m pretty sure my foot is BROKEN! I need modern medicine!”

After 15 more minutes of arguing the pros and cons of a foot bath, I had finally convinced my mother to drive me to the emergency room. If I thought I was going to get more sympathy from the medical staff, I was sorely mistaken.

My doctor was one of those young, arrogant types who radiated about as much warmth as the grim reaper.

Dr. Death: {Examines my foot without so much as a glance in my general direction} “Tell me, Ms. Charm, how did you injure your foot?”

Me: “Um, I was… exercising? Yes. Exercising vigorously!”

Dr. Death: {Looks up for the first time and gives me a disconcerting once over.} “Can you explain exactly what you were doing at the time of the injury?” {he asks, skeptically}

Me: “I was just…uh, just my usual routine. You know, pilates and…jiu-jitsu.

Dr. Death:  “You practice the art of jiu-jitsu?”

Me: “Yep. Big time.”

Dr. Death: {Blank stare}

Me: {Sigh} “No.  I…I was standing on my tippy toes trying to reach the Reeses peanut butter cups that my mom keeps hidden in the upper cabinets.  That’s when I felt a sharp pain in my right foot and I could no longer put pressure on it. I thought maybe the overwhelming amount of weight from all the non-exercising I’ve been doing had broken my foot”

Dr. Death: {Coughs audibly.  Clearly this 6’2” piece of walking arrogance doesn’t sympathize with my short girl problems} “Well the x-rays did not show any fractures or breaks.  I believe it’s just a mild sprain, likely a result of a weakened ligament from your injury last year.

Me: “So you’re saying my foot isn’t broken, it’s just defective?” {mentally high-five myself for being able to be witty despite the pain}

Dr. Death: {I feel him inwardly roll his eyes} “Rest for a couple of days.  Keep the foot elevated with a cold compress or soak it in some Epsom salt to decrease inflammation.”

Mom: “I TOLD YOU!”

Me: “Mom!”

Dr. Death: “You can take Advil for the pain.”

Me: “Ok”

Dr. Death: {Imperceptibly smiles} I also suggest purchasing a foot stool for future chocolate cravings” {pulls back curtain and walks away}

Wait… did Dr. Death just make a funny?

I spent the next 72 hours with my achy breaky defective foot elevated, as instructed.  As far as my family and friends are concerned, I was “exercising” when I hurt myself. {wink}

The Gift of Awkwardness

9 May

Given my daily awkwardness (it may be getting worse with age?), I often joke with family and friends that it is my gift to them. This usually elicits a different response from people. For example, my sister rolls her eyes whereas my parents stare at me blankly (probably wondering where they went wrong in raising me?). And men… well, the men just walk away. {cough}

Except there was one day…one glorious day…while at University in which my awkwardness became a gift – literally!

Despite the fact that my dorm mate, Allie, and I lived an hour and a half away from University, her mother sent her weekly care packages. Each carefully selected item came individually wrapped in brown butcher paper. My mom’s care package consisted of her shoving a half-ton of Kraft Easy Mac into my overnight bag. Look, I get it. It sounds practical and delicious. But once you’ve eaten it twice a day every day for the better part of a semester you will never want to eat it again!

We were now nearing the end of our first semester at University and finals were upon us. All the girls in our dorm were stressed out. Not to mention I think our menstrual cycles had synced up. The usual cattiness level had escalated from Ermahgerd to Claw-your-eyes-out. I was terrified!

In a show of support during this difficult time, Allie’s mom sent the biggest care package I had ever seen. As she tore through the box, butcher paper rained down on us. I attempted to ignore her in order to study for my finals, but the allure of the care package was too much.

Must…see…inside…ohmygodshegotpoprocks!

Once the excitement of the care package (and sugar-high from the pop rocks) wore off, we were left with a mess. As usual, I began to kick Allie’s mess to her side of the room while straightening my side for the nth time that evening. That’s when Allie devised a way to get rid of the paper AND get me to do it for her. Of course, I didn’t realize that’s what it was at the time…

A photograph of me wrapped as a gift exists somewhere, but I cannot find it.  However, this is a fair representation.

A photograph of me wrapped as a gift exists somewhere, but I cannot find it. However, this is a fair representation.

She suggested we use the butcher paper to dress me up as a giant present so that we could give the girls a laugh while also giving them a break from studying. Before I could say anything, Allie had already wrapped me up like a mummy, complete with Christmas bows.

Me: “Allie, I can’t see! Cut me some eye holes.”

Allie: “No! Half the fun is guessing who is inside the present. Don’t worry. I’ll guide you down the hall.”

Me: “Ok, but don’t make me run into walls or anything.”

Allie: {giggling}

Me: “Allie!”

Allie: “Oh my gosh, I woooooon’t.”

Me: {Begin bouncing down the hall because Allie bound my legs too tight. Immediately run into a wall} “Allie!!”

Allie: {faint giggling}

Me: {Begin bouncing again; run face-first into a door}

Allie: “Whoops! I didn’t mean to make you do that this time.”

Me: {Angrily mumbling to myself under 12 layers of impermeable butcher paper}

The routine involved Allie knocking on a door, singing a Christmas carol, and I would do a sort of awkward, bouncy dance. Then we would both shout “happy finals” and move on to the next room.

After about the 10th room, the inadequate air hole somewhere behind my right ear was no longer sufficient. I was beginning to black out. Allie grabbed onto the protrusion most closely resembling my left elbow and quick-bounced me back to our room.

In the end, we made an entire hall of hormonal, stressed out young women laugh so hard they nearly wet themselves. Or so I was told. I don’t know. I couldn’t really see anything.

You’re welcome, ladies.

 

Valet Confessions

10 Apr

I now find myself living in an area in which valet parking is annoyingly complimentary due to the fact that you cannot park unless you valet. Valet

Even my youngest readers can remember a time when socialites and celebutants, such as Paris Hilton and Britney Spears, couldn’t get out of a vehicle without flashing their “lady” bits to the world.

It is only after being repeatedly subjected to valet parking that I can now understand the struggles of Paris Hilton. {cough} I’m sorry; did that sentence just formulate in my brain and come tumbling out of my mouth? Yes.  Yes it did.

I say “annoyingly complementary”, because I do not drive a luxury vehicle.  I drive a Honda.  Although I adore my reliable little vehicle, I do not enjoy waiting in line behind a Maserati only to see the look of utter disappointment on the face of the valet attendant when I hand him an actual car key instead of some futuristic-looking gadget.

Then there is the matter of exiting the vehicle.  Maybe it’s because I am petite? Or maybe I am just incapable of being sophisticated? But I cannot seem to gracefully exit a vehicle.  And, unfortunately, the valet attendant is always there to witness it.

Always watching.  Always judging.

I recently went to lunch with my luxury vehicle-driving sister who chose yet another valet-friendly restaurant. {Hurray! Let the valet-induced anxiety begin!}

Me: {On the windiest day of the year I wear a dress, because I hate myself.  Pull up behind a luxury vehicle. Feel inadequate. Valet opens my door}  “Uh… sorry.  Yup.  Just, um, just give me a second here.” {Attempt to exit vehicle like a BOSS.  Fail}

Valet: {Looks away; refusing to acknowledge my existence}

Me: {Am now overcome with the need to explain myself to the attendant who could care less} “Sorry about that.  It’s kind of difficult to get out of the car sometimes.  Especially in a dress! Because… you know” {Expecting valet to understand. HE clearly does not. Attempt to recover by continuing to explain myself} “I just don’t want to flash anyone! {Even though I suspect I just did.} That’s kind of my nightmare!”

Valet: {Staring at me with disdain}

Me: “Because… you know.  Britney?  And also, NO ONE needs to see that, if you know what I’m sayin’?”

Valet: {Has no idea what I’m “sayin’”}

Me: “Because I’m not quite “groomed” these days. You know?” {Why the @#$# did I just say that OUT LOUD?}

Valet: {Look of disdain turns to look of disgust}

Me: “Sorry! I have no idea why I just told you that!” {nervous laughter} “How awkward!” {Have now made situation far more awkward by acknowledging it. Throw my car key at him and run into restaurant}

I ran into the restaurant as if the comfort of my sister’s company and a glass of wine could save me.  It’s like a child who fears monsters under the bed covering their face with the blanket and feeling completely safe.  Except that at some point I would need to exit the restaurant and face the same valet attendant who would probably never forget me, my face or my vehicle for as long as he lives.

After several glasses of wine, I exited the restaurant with a look-if-you-dare-you-awful-valet-attendant-man-person-you attitude. And by that I mean that I cowered behind my sister as I handed over my ticket.

The same attendant pulled up with my vehicle and held the door open for me.  He did not look in my direction as I got into the car, nor did I attempt to explain my ridiculously awkward behavior any further.  I just shoved money in his general direction, jumped into the car most ungracefully (probably flashing everyone in the parking lot – again?), and sped off.

In the words of Kathy Bates in Waterboy, valet parking “is da devil”.

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