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Official Article

Childhood Embarrassment 9021-D'oh!

Monsters under the bed get a lot of credit for being the most terrifying thing kids have to deal with growing up, but if you ask me, public embarrassment was by far the worst. Potential harm to our young egos caused the best of us to lie, cry and try our hardest not to be caught in such a situation. One moment of foolishness could lead to years of taunts and exclusion, so proving how cool you were was essential. Well I failed at this quite a bit and as a way of pushing passed this trauma, today I’d like to come clean with a tale of Childhood Embarrassment I’m calling 9021-D'OH!

In 1991 I was starting to notice girls and trying to get them to notice me. Due to some very malformed logic (probably the result of eating too many Shark Bites fruit snacks), I concluded that “being into girl’s stuff” would give us something to talk about and eventually strike up a romance. It was also my assumption that cute girls liked watching Beverly Hills, 90210 aka the hottest new show on TV. I had no concept of the “Friend Zone” or as Mel Gibson revealed to us years later, what women want.

Technically, I did manage to strike up a friendship with pretty girl in my class and we would spend the moments in between Vocabulary Tests talking about the latest drama between Brenda, Dylan, Steve and the rest. Realizing I wasn’t any closer to making out with this girl, I decided to up my game. To show I wasn’t a poser, I started buying the 90210 trading cards, Bubble Gum folders, multiple issues of Tiger Beat and in my most desperate moment a doll.

I’ll never forget convincing my Mom to take a weekday trip to Toys R’ Us and her look of utter shock as I walked out of the aisle holding a Shannon Doherty as Brenda Walsh doll. As we approached the register she was asking things like, "Are you sure this is what you want to spend your money on?” or “There’s nothing else you want more?” Sure, I was questioning the purchase myself, I knew I was crossing the clearly defined line of boys and girls toys as outlined by the schoolyard Gods. But a man in lust does some crazy things and this was my ticket to some serious French kissing, or so I thought.

When we finally got to the cashier, I could feel the people behind me burning a hole in the back of my head with their eyes, each of them in complete judgement of a boy buying a Barbie doll. To cover myself I said out loud, “The girl we’re buying this for is really going to like it”, but my Mom just looked at me in confusion. Then the price rung up on the cash register, “$12.99 for a doll?”, my mom said as she pulled out her check book, “You better really play with this.” NOOO! My cover was completely blown.

With my face turning red and sweat dripping down my brow, I tried to remedy the situation by exclaiming, “No, Mom. HER. SHE’s really going to play with it.” But it was too late. Everybody knew it was mine and I was sure they were going to tape up posters of my face all over school with big, bold letters declaring, “This guy plays with dolls!” The fear of carrying that shame was almost too much to bare, so I made sure to get a dark plastic bag to transport this new source of shame to the car. It was a long ride home.

Needless to say, I bailed on the plan of bringing the Brenda doll to school to share with my crush. In fact, I was so emasculated that I gave up on my plans to woo her altogether. We did hang out at a park after school once, but I was still fearing my secret would get out and didn’t make a move. The only girl in my life now was a little brunette named Brenda and even that didn’t last. I spent one afternoon dressing her in multiple outfits before tossing the doll under my bed in disgust. I could have gotten 2 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles figures for what she cost!

So there you have it, public embarrassment, secret shame and a maternal betrayal all in one. So tell me about one of your embarrassing moments. Did you get cursed with a nickname? Did it cost you your social status? Let’s hear it!

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Hoju Koolander Posted on Mar 24, 2016 at 07:35 PM

@massreality You had the same dilemma? That's comforting and disturbing for both of us. I never thought of the "sophisticated" toy angle, but you're right, it would have been a completely mature purchase to make. It wasn't like it was a Polly Pocket, that's kid's stuff.

massreality Posted on Mar 15, 2016 at 12:55 AM

Dude… I blame the packaging for the 90210 doll. There was just something about it that was so alluring. While I never went through with buying one, that doesn’t mean I didn’t want to. One of the character’s name was Brandon, so when I saw a doll with the name Brandon on it, I wanted it. 90210 seemed liked a grown up show, so I somehow convinced myself that because of that it wasn’t a Barbie and would be perfectly acceptable to buy. I’ll never forget going up and down the toy aisle at K-Mart and stopping over and over again at that 90210 doll. Had I been alone, I would have bought it. There was just no way for me to gather up the nerve to ask my grandma for it. Although, after reading your story, I’m so glad I never went through with it.

Hoju Koolander Posted on Mar 14, 2016 at 10:31 PM

@Rick Ace Rhodes That is indeed a loud and inescapable moment of embarrassment right there.

Rick Ace Rhodes Posted on Mar 14, 2016 at 02:19 PM

@Hoju Before the main ceremony, our class had to wait in the cafeteria, where we put on our gowns, signed the last of our yearbooks and such. A group of friends and I were sitting on one of the lunch room tables. And I don't mean the seats, I mean the actually table top.

So at one point the principal comes in to make his final speeches before the ceremony. My friends jumped off the table and left me by myself. Now given my large size, and the fact that I was sitting on the end of the table, the opposite end of the table started to rise in the air.

So then I jumped off, causing the table to come slamming into the ground, where a group of kids had to jump out of the way to avoid getting hit. Everyone's attention turned towards me, and then the principal said "Thanks for getting everyone's attention Mr. InsertLastNameHere".

Needless to say I had to have one last embarrassing event before I checked out of high school.

Hoju Koolander Posted on Mar 14, 2016 at 02:01 PM

@Vaporman87 For me, every day of gym class was an embarrassing experience.

@echidna64 Mom's are so clueless, yet so loveable.

@Rick Ace Rhodes I feel like we need to know what kind of a scene you were making at graduation. I personally wore a large, vintage KISS belt buckle outside my graduation gown with no shame whatsoever.

Vaporman87 Posted on Mar 13, 2016 at 01:30 PM

@Rick: You have my simpathies for your excrement debacles. LOL

Rick Ace Rhodes Posted on Mar 13, 2016 at 03:54 AM

Man do I have some stories to tell about embarrassment. There was the time my mom saw me with a porno mag. Then there was that one time at my high school graduation that I made a big scene in front of everybody. And then there are several stories that involve excrement.

echidna64 Posted on Mar 13, 2016 at 02:57 AM

Oh man, I remember one time we were out to eat and there was this cute waitress, probably a good six years older than me but I guy can dream! Anyhow, her name was Sabrina and my mom goes, "Oh your name is Sabrina! My kids watch Sabrina the Teenage Witch every Friday."
My 12 year old self was humiliating for being called out for watching a "girl's show" in front of a babe.

Vaporman87 Posted on Mar 13, 2016 at 12:22 AM

Man... I have so many stories that they would surely make this site's code explode with so much text. LOL

I've done everything from accidentally fart while exercising in gym class to wearing the most horrendous sweater ever created by man to school.

It's not always been easy being me. LOL

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