Foot in mouth disease
- Jun 2003
- Dec 2003 Archive
Hi! I have just discovered Etiquette Hell in the
last several weeks and have thoroughly enjoyed it. I have a little
story to tell of my own.
A few years ago my ex-husband brought my little girl
home from a weekend visit. He brought his new girlfriend with him.
I had never seen or heard about her before that day. When I saw her
she had this long, empire waist dress (this is important later on in the
story). Determined to be nice and not to cause problems for my
daughter I decided that I would introduce myself to the girlfriend.
Unfortunately I really did not have time to think about what to say to her
in the time it took me to walk to where she was standing. I walked
over to my daughter, hugged her and then turned to the girlfriend, stuck
my hand out to shake her hand and then said, "Hi! I'm Susie's
mom, Sarah! So when is the baby due?" She just stood
there dumbfounded! In my zealousness to be nice and talk to the new
girlfriend I mistook her empire waisted dress for a maternity dress!!
It didn't help that she wasn't exactly thin in the middle and was standing
sway back so that she looked about 5 months pregnant! All she could
say was, "I'm not pregnant."
To top it all off, I didn't even realize what I had said
and what had just transpired so I continued talking to the poor girl about
how nice it was to meet her, etc. When I decided I had been nice
enough I gathered my daughter up and put her in the car. Then I
looked at my mom and said, "Well, her name is Kathy and she's not
pregnant." I thought my mother's mouth was going to hit the
floor! She said, "You mean you actually asked her if she was
pregnant?" Still not realizing what an idiot I had been I said,
"Sure I asked her." My mother just looked at me (I'm sure
in amazement of what a moron she had raised). About 15 minutes later
I pulled over on the side of the road, looked at my mom and said, "I
asked that woman if she was pregnant? I can't believe I did that!
I am such an idiot!" She just looked at me, shook her head and
said, "Yeah, you are."
The girlfriend lasted for a good little bit and I
couldn't have asked anyone to be any better to my Susie, but needless to
say she did not like Susie's mom!
Not sure if this is a faux pas, or just an
oops.... I am a pastor of a small Midwestern inner city
church. One man in our church likes to talk back to the preacher
when I preach, which is okay, as it is a black cultural thing. Some
of the favorite sayings are: Amen, come on now, preach it, etc.
Being a white preacher, I enjoy it immensely, except for this one day!
I was preaching a series on the Sermon on the Mount,
specifically, Jesus' teaching on adultery. I just reached a
crescendo in my delivery... "According to Jesus, Adultery is not just
what you do when your away from your wife, adultery is what you do in your
mind when that cute woman walks by." At that moment, from the
back of the room, I hear "HELP YOURSELF PREACHER, HELP
YOURSELF." Needless to say, the ENTIRE CHURCH went silent, in
fear of someone busting out laughing. I quickly recovered and
continued to preach, but I have NEVER been caught so flat-footed as that
We (me and a couple others) have since informed this
person that the phrase "Help yourself preacher," while we know
he means "Help yourself, your preaching the truth, keep going"
is probably not the best way to talk back to the preacher.
Just over a year after we were married, my husband was
called up for the National Guard, to go to Iraq. We were quite
devastated, obviously, but the whole thing was made even more difficult by
the fact that he had just six weeks to go before his commitment to the
Guard would have been finished. He was a dental student and his education
would be jeopardized by his leaving. Additionally, we had just moved into
our first home just 2 weeks beforehand. So needless to say, the day
after we got the phone call, we were quite emotional at the prospect of
We went to church that morning, and just before the
service was over, the speaker announced our news. He did it in a very nice
way, just to let other members of the congregation know what was happening
to us, so they could be a support. Naturally, many of our friends
came over to us when the service was over, to ask questions and to give us
a hug. I was BARELY hanging on at this point, and was biting the insides
of my cheeks to keep from bawling my head off, but I could
understand why they would want to get details, and so I answered the same
questions over and over, “When does he leave?” “What can I do to
help?” “What about dental school?” Our friends
were all great, except for one acquaintance, who I’ll call “Susie”.
She asked me the basic questions, then asked, “What does your husband do
for the National Guard?” I told her he is in an Engineering Unit, and
works as a mechanic. Her reply? “Oh, well, that’s not so
bad, then! It’s not like he’ll be on the front line!” I’m
normally the kind of person with a quick answer, but I was so shocked, I
just turned away, my mouth open like a goldfish.
There is a happy ending, though—my husband is now
back, after being gone for a year, and we don’t hang out with
“Susie” anymore. But once in a while, when someone makes a big
deal about my husband having gone, he just says, “Oh, well it’s not
like I was on the front line or anything!” and we have a good laugh
I worked for a short time in a very busy, overstaffed
dental office. I didn't know many of the other girls real well, but I
tried to be as friendly as I could and got along well with most. Anyway,
one of the ladies had not worked on the same days as I did often, and when
I saw her one afternoon, I said, " Oh, Susan, you're hair looks
great! You've changed it!" It wasn't until the next week I
found out it was a wig. She was undergoing chemo and radiation treatment
for cancer. Nobody had told me, and I felt just terrible! Of course, there
is no making up for that one, it would have just been more insulting.
Well, I have this one person whom I have introduced to
people as my "Best Friend/Almost Twin" since we met seven years
ago, in high school. She introduces me the same way.
But she has never once been on time for a party or
girls' night. Sometimes she doesn't show up at all, despite RSVPing. I am
taking a filmmaking class in college, and she wanted to star in my short
film which is 70% of my final grade, and she bloody *swore* she would be
on time to every filming session. Has she been? No.
Finally, the straw that broke the camel's back, last
night our group headed out to a restaurant to celebrate one friend's
birthday. BF/AT begged off, saying she needed to study for her mid-term
When we went to a donut shop for seconds on dessert, can
you guess who was sitting there with her boyfriend, killing time before
heading out to the movies?
It's not that she was spending time with him instead of
celebrating her friend's birthday (most of us have boyfriends and know
what it's like). We're just really upset that she decided she'd rather lie
to us about it.
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