April 18, 2011

Open Mouth, Insert Embarrassment

Who, me?
Clutching my lemonade nervously and acting as though I don't see the camera?
Why no, I never behave awkwardly. Why ever would you ask?

I make a fool out of myself so often that, when asked (why does this subject come up so often in my presence?) I can never pick out just one.

I just read a story that kick-started a super-awkward college memory, though. From here on out, I may have a pat answer to that "what's your most embarrassing moment?" question.

In college, everyone of the male persuasion had a nickname of sorts. Whether it derived from a major (Beaker), a memorable feature (diminuitive Doug became D. Low), a hometown (Rock Thrill), or no apparent reason at all (Scuba?), the names stuck.

I was never more grateful to be a girl; the only nicknames given were "sweet pea," "love," or, for the very lucky, "rush crush."

Coming to college, guys must know that nicknames are part of the deal. Some were laughable, others un-repeatable, but everyone just seemed to go along with whatever nonsensical moniker got tossed their way.

My junior year, I became friends with a particularly sweet fraternity pledge nicknamed "Baby," presumably for his just-out-of-high-school face. Precious, right? And hardly cringe-worthy.

As I am wont to do, I chatted up Baby at a variety of events. Pledges seemed to get the short end of the stick, so I felt compelled to be as nice to him as possible. (And since I was technically taken, I knew it wouldn't be perceived the wrong way.)

After a month or two, Baby's hometown girlfriend came to visit for a tailgate; I couldn't have been more excited. She needed to know how well-liked her boyfriend was and how often (and sweetly) he spoke of her.

"Baby," I exclaimed upon meeting her, "she is even cuter than you described! What a -"

Halfway through my estrogen-induced squeal, she stopped me coldly. "I'm sorry, what did you just say?"

I repeated myself, but evidently it wasn't the statement that bothered her - it was the nickname.

Turns out I was the only one calling said pledge "Baby." The rest of the gang was calling him, with little fanfare, by his last name: Beatty.

I can't blame the girl for being a little miffed, upon driving several hours to visit her long-distance boyfriend, at hearing some older gal call her boyfriend "baby" so brazenly.

I can, however, blame the handful of snickering guys around him who knew I'd been calling him "Baby" and just enjoyed watching him blush, too shy to correct me.

Lesson learned: Double check nicknames before you repeat them or, better yet, leave them to the boys entirely....


Amanda said...

Oh gosh, that cracks me up. I would so totally do something like that (or maybe more accurately, my friends would do that and leave me to embarrass myself, ha!) :)

Unknown said...

haha! that's a funny story! Love it.


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