Last week I had that horrible moment of humiliation. The kind where I felt a lead weight in my stomach and a light-headed panic as I realized what I had done. I was at work. The phone rang and it was one of the girls phoning in, putting on an English accent (because us lot all love a good accent). So to go along with this little accent thing she was doing, I went for it too and made general chit-chat in a posh English twang. I can’t really express how hard I went in with the English accent 1. Because it’s hard to emphasize a different accent in writing and 2. Because I’ve blocked out most of what happened in this minute and a half of chat. I do remember saying “daaaaaarling” a lot and being overly enthusiastic about how she was and what she had been up to. I mean, I was going for a recreation of the fields of wheat interview – that’s how full on the accent was. Now, just for a second, imagine talking like this on the phone to your mate.
Now imagine the slow, horrible, painful realization that maybe it isn’t your mate on the phone as they start talking about a refund and a customer order form, still not giving up the put-on posh English accent – because that is their real accent. This is the make or break moment right here; you’ve already done something really stupid, now it’s time to save yourself from full-on humiliation by, oh I don’t know, carrying on with the accent so they think that it’s your accent too, or just explaining your misunderstanding in a “Ha! Lol! What am I like, please laugh with me and this can all go away” kind of way, so that they know you weren’t taking the piss out of them or being weirdly overly friendly with them when they don’t know you.
But of course, I’m a complete idiot in a blind panic at this point, so the accent dropped completely into my normal Scottish voice – absolutely no where close to a posh English accent – and I just carried on with the phone call as normal. I think I did that thing where you just don’t acknowledge what you’ve done so that the other person is (hopefully) none the wiser. But in this situation that person doesn’t know that I thought they were my friend, but they do know that I was putting on a really posh English accent to copy theirs.
So this is a bad enough situation as it is, I just did a really posh English accent in a complete taking-the-piss kind of way to someone who really does have that accent. It would take a real pea-brain to mistake the person on the phone for someone else twice wouldn’t it. Enter stage right: Chloe Dangerfield. That’s right, I then assumed that the person on the phone was a customer, so I tried frantically looking for their name on the customer order system in the hope that I would save myself from my initial embarrassment and come out as the hero who retrieved their order or whatever it was that they wanted. But no no, it turns out it was someone from head office phoning on behalf of a customer. HEAD OFFICE. I just about fell off my chair at this point, and to make matters worse, she asked to speak to a manager. As you can imagine in retail, when someone utters the phrase “can I speak to a manager”, this is not a good sign. I passed the phone to my boss and waited anxiously as I imagined this woman telling my boss what a piss-taking little shit I am and that I ought to be fired immediately for not knowing who she is and that she is from head office. She didn’t, and to this day I still have my job even though I don’t have my dignity, which is fine by me because dignity don’t pay the bills honey.
I know it’s not the most humiliating story in the history of embarrassing moments, but my god I haven’t felt that mortified in a VERY long time! So how did this little dweeb bounce back from it?
Remember that it could have been worse
The number one motto when it comes to embarrassing moments: It always could have been worse! Bear this in mind and you will be able to turn a humiliating mistake into a very mild blunder. I could have sworn, I could have talked about really personal stuff, I could have bitched about someone. Of all the things that I could have said to this woman while I thought she was my friend, general chit chat in a posh accent is absolutely nowhere near the worst.
Remember that you’re only human, and so are your witnesses.
When you do something embarrassing, it’s a very personal thing and causes you to turn inward and evaluate yourself. You are focused on what you have done, what you are feeling, what you are perceived as by the recipients of your humiliation in a you vs them kind of way. But remember to come out of that shell you’ve crawled back into and remember that everyone involved in your humiliating fuck-up are humans as well. We have ALL done embarrassing things, and I think sometimes we feel for the person who has embarrassed themselves because we can all relate to it and empathize with it. Babe, you’re not alone.
Remember to LOL
Humiliation can be a really hurtful bitch if we let it. Remember that in any situation you always have a choice; I had the choice to confess to my embarrassing mistake or hide it. Now I have the choice to turn on myself and wince at what a humiliating experience that was, or simply laugh at what a silly goose I am. There’s no going back now, what’s done is done so cringing about it won’t make it any better, but laughing will. Laughing at yourself can be a wonderful release of your insecurities and makes a painfully embarrassing situation so much lighter on the old ego. What I did is really funny, I spoke in a posh English accent to a complete stranger on the phone. Some may say that making an idiot out of yourself is embarrassing and a sign of weakness, I say it’s all just part of the Chloe Dangerfield experience!