I don’t really get embarrassed. I don’t really get offended either. Now, I have been known to embarrass and offend others, through my lack of a filter, but I don’t really apologize for that. People either love me or hate me. I don’t think there is much of a middle ground anymore. Okay, there probably is, but I like to put the right emphasis on things. And I promised Anna I would try and recapture one of the few times I have been embarrassed so you’re all stuck with this.
As I was saying – I don’t really get embarrassed. There is, however, one exception to that rule and it has been the case for the 42 years I’ve been alive. My grandmother on my mum’s side. She can, and has, embarrassed me on several occasions. Only one other person has ever publicly embarrassed me, and maybe one day I will share that story as well if this one is well-received. Okay, I have done a pretty good job of embarrassing myself when I was a teenager, but since then, only two British ladies I love dearly have been able to do it. So, let’s discuss my grandmother’s penchant for bringing out the red cheeks in me.
Picture if you will, a young boy, probably around 13 years old. He’s seeing his grandmother for the first time in three years, given the distance that lies between them. He’s everything a gawky, scrawny kid is – gawky and scrawny. He’s short, sports a terrible haircut, and even though he is playing soccer every week and ice hockey during the winters, he’s not much of an athlete at the moment either. Add to the fact that he is bow-legged, is pigeon-toed, and has a stutter that renders him silent around strangers; he’s not high on the eligible teenage bachelors list either.
Mum is busy doting on all of us (I have 2 sisters), showing off how much we’ve grown, etc. My older sister is just about out of her teens, more woman than child now. My little sister has finally outgrown her own awkwardness as she nears her 8th birthday. I’m too busy concentrating on all of my flaws (as teenagers and some grown-ups are apt to do) that I fail to see any positives at all. I have long eyelashes, a trait pointed out to every single cashier at the grocery store whenever we would go and get grocery. Something about a little blue eyed kid with long eyelashes that would young adult cashier girls gush with praise. This annoyed me more than embarrassed me though. I just wanted them to stop looking at me and didn’t see what the fuss was. Now that I’m older, and know the lengths that women will go to enhance their lashes, I understand what the fuss was. I still get comments on them, by the way.
Apparently, and I’m still not sure of this even at my advanced age, my best feature would be my dimples. But since I’m not a big fan of smiling, as I hate my smile, very few people see them. My mum is in her element showing her favorite child off (my sisters will confirm that I have always been my mum’s favorite so I’m not making this up) when she chimes almost angelically, “Doesn’t he have the cutest dimples?”
I force a smile so my grandmother can see them. She looks me over a few times. I feel like I’m a used car and she’s searching for every dent and ding before making an offer. She shakes her head.
“Those aren’t dimples.” She looks me right in the eye. “Those are nipple holders.”
The grown-ups laugh; except for my mum who seems visibly upset by the comment. I’m struggling to comprehend what she means, and she knows it. She takes me by the head and pulls me close, my head buried. And then it dawns on me exactly what she means.
I push myself away, wanting to get my dimples as far away from her boobs as possible. Now even my mum is laughing. My little sister as well, piggybacking on the laughter all around her. I turn red, and not the seductive red dress red.
“They are gorgeous” My grandmother states triumphantly.
Sadly, I still can’t look at boobs and not smile…