It’s been a while since I’ve shared an embarrassing story about myself on here. Ever since I wrote the post on first impressions, I knew I was going to have to tell my tale of a time when I was able to overcome an incredibly poor first impression I made. This one was in grad school, the time that took.
I’m sure no one is surprised to hear that it rains in England. I am the master of the understatement. Well, this story took place on a rainy day towards the beginning of the academic year.
[Thanks to Lauren of allthingsgo.co.uk for letting me use this wonderfully wet picture.]
I lived about a mile off campus, and the rain was really driving that day, so umbrellas were useless. My mainly water-resistant jacket with a hood was all that stood between me and the elements. When I arrived in the graduate student lounge, the dean of the graduate school was there, basically checking in to see how we were doing in the first weeks of class. As I walked in, he asked, “Tammy, how are you doing?”
I was so flattered that he knew my name, I spoke without thinking: “I’m doing great except my pants are wet.”
As soon as it came out of my mouth, I wanted to die. Pants is one of those words that mean something different there than it does here. In the American vernacular, I just told the head of the business graduate school that my panties were wet! I immediately turned bright red and spit out, “I’m so sorry! I meant that my jeans are wet.” My head bowed in shame.
“No need for embarrassment. I translated in my head. It’s okay.”
Of course the rest of the day, I sat around with those wet jeans as a constant reminder of my mortification. The dean ended up being my thesis adviser, and fortunately this encounter was never brought up again. How kind (and British) of him. But, obviously, the memory has never left me.
When have you embarrassed yourself in front of a person of importance in your life? or What are your favorite expressions that mean something very different in other parts of the world (or country)?