Day 310/365 Brace Face

My kids asked me a while back, “What’s your most embarrassing story?” 

I am quite certain that my most embarrassing stories involve a significant amount of alcohol, and took place during my college years, so…

I dug for this one instead –

I was a bony and awkward thirteen year old girl with a mouthful of braces. I didn’t have a lot of friends at the time, but the ones I did have hung out at the Boys & Girls Club, which was right around the corner from my house.

One of my boy friends from the neighborhood (literally a boy friend – I tended to have a lot of those) happened to be friendly with a boy on whom I had a huge crush. HUGE. Though, I am fairly certain at this point in time I had scarcely uttered more than a few words to him.

He was cool and confident and I was…not. 

So one day my friend told me that he was going to be bringing THE BOY to the B&G Club the next day after school. I was beside myself. HE was coming to the place I felt (most) comfortable socially. Maybe he would finally see me as cool. Maybe he would finally see me, period.

After school I raced over so I could be there when they arrived. I posed myself (I am not kidding – full on senior portrait style posed) on the porch railing, waiting to make an impression when HE arrived. (Careful what you wish for, girls).

There I was, sitting lengthwise across the porch railing – one knee up with my foot resting on the railing, one leg outstretched….perhaps an arm draped across the bent knee…perhaps nonchalantly gazing off into the distance.

Finally, there they were, walking up the steps. I turned and smiled oh-so-cooly.

{Oh just taking in some fresh air….fancy meeting you here…I had no idea you would be…}

Then, to my horror, I began to lose my balance. I wobbled for a split-second and then without a bit of grace, I landed face first on the porch floor…essentially, right at their feet.  

Face. First.


Did I mention the braces?

I stood up slowly.

All three of us stood there stunned for a second, and then my friend (tenderly, and humiliatingly) said, “Jesus! Are you okay?!”


I managed to mutter through a cupped hand, attempting to cover my ravaged lips…as if I’d just had a slight cough. As if they couldn’t see the blood dripping down my chin, onto my shirt.

I gathered myself and strode by them casually, as if I had always been planning to leave just then. As soon as I was out of sight, I ran all the way home.

My girls laughed hysterically at this story, and now Beau tells it to anyone who will listen.

I mean, it is funny, but I suspect she likes it so much for a few other reasons…

  1. It is a good lesson in how it isn’t worth it – trying to be someone we’re not in order to impress someone. (Not my last lesson in that, I’m afraid).
  2. It is such a relief to know that embarrassing things happen to everyone…even amazingly confident Moms (umm…see above).
  3. It is proof that something that seems like the end of the world at the time…may actually be hilarious, some day.

Several years later, THE boy became my boyfriend, albeit briefly. (Not too long after I finally got him to date me, I decided we were better off as friends.)

I actually remember him saying, “Wait…You are breaking up with Me?”


Anyway, one day while we were dating I brought up my most humiliating, horrible, face planting experience, to which he was a witness (and did he remember that mortified, metal-mouthed girl had been me?).

As it turns out, he had absolutely no memory of it what-so-ever.


I was astonished.

But…the humiliation! How could he not remember!?

Which brings me to #4…

The truth is – sometimes when we screw up, we are so focused on our own wounded ego that we wildly overestimate the extent to which anyone else really gives a flying fuck.

Even when we fall flat on our face (literally OR figuratively), chances are pretty good that before long we’ll be the only one who will remember the horror of it all.