Friday, March 26, 2010

The Next Best Mortification

Hello! Thanks to the fabulous Pens Fatale for inviting me here today… “Kristan, would you mind blogging about one of the (many) times you’ve embarrassed yourself in public? The topic is mortification, and we all instantly thought of you!

Hey. Of course I wouldn’t mind! Humiliation and embarrassment are, after all, a cornerstone of my career. One of the best fan letters I’ve received said, “What I love about your books is you admit things we’ve all done, thought and said but would never have the cojones to admit.” Oh, baby! High praise indeed!

So. Mortification. Stories of embarrassment. Where to begin?

A couple of years ago, I switched churches (don’t worry, the story gets better). I’m what I call a “church whore” — can I say that? See, I love the idea of going to church, but I can never seem to find The One. So I go to one church for a few months, then switch. So anyway, I’d been going Episcopal, but heard nice things about the new priest in the Catholic church, was getting restless with the Church of England, figured the Catholics were worth checking out, and trotted across town.

The priest was so nice! And young! And cute! And he had this adorable accent! Did I mention how cute he was? So we’re chatting away about my kids and whatnot, and he says, “Do you work, Kreestahn?”

And I say, “Oh, sure. I’m a…um…a writer. Um…a romance writer.Can I say that to a priest? Does he think I’m trashy now? Should I tell him I don’t do gratuitous sex scenes? Can I say ‘sex’ in front of a priest? Does he know what sex is?

Father Cutie: “How wahnderful! What ees your book about?”

Kristan: Crap. “Um…well, it’s about a, um, a woman who’s…um…in love with a priest.” Great, Higgins. Look at him. He’s frozen in terror. Quick! Explain yourself. “But it’s not about you, obviously. Because we just met. Let the record reflect that I had no idea how cute you were until this very day. My book is not based on you. I swear to God. Which is not to say that you’re not very attractive. Or so some would think. Not me. You’re not my type. (Had he not been a man of the cloth, however…)

Father Cutie: Super. Another suburban mother in love with me. I need this like a bullet in the eye. “Ah. I see. We are done here, are we not?”

And then there was Sensei Tom, my kids’ karate instructor. The man is beautiful. He just is. Plus he can jump through the air like Spiderman. Sigh! So okay, one day to keep my monkey of a son occupied before class, I let him (my son, not Tom) tie my hands together to practice his knots. McIrish, my dear husband, had been teaching out little guy nautical knots, and our son needed to practice. So there we were, and my little guy had my hands bound and was tying this huge knot, and Sensei came out, all manly and sweaty (oh, Mommy!), and said, “Hey, D., should you be tying your mother up like that?” to which I replied, “Daddy does it all the time, right, honey?”

Of course, I meant that McIrish ties knots all the time…it’s not like he…well…Okay! We’ll just stop here. Needless to say, I think of that line every dang time I take the kids to karate. I’d like to think that Sensei has forgotten, but sometimes he gives me that cute little smile, and I blush and pretend to be engrossed in something terribly fascinating, like the crumbs on the floor.

So I think I’ve been really honest. And it’s only fair, then, that you admit some of your more embarrassing moments. ’Fess up! As a bribe, I’ll send a commenter a signed copy of The Next Best Thing, in which mortification is very well exemplified on page 282. Can’t wait to hear your stories!


Kristan Higgins is the award-winning, best-selling author of five romantic comedies. Her latest book, The Next Best Thing, is available in bookstores now. Look for All I Ever Wanted this August.


Sophie Littlefield said...

Congrats on the RITA nom, Kristan!! We will all be there cheering our asses off for you because we consider you one of "ours" :)

Your post made me laugh and laugh...mortification is a daily experience for me. I don't do *out in public* well. Just yesterday I took the kids to costco for dinner (it's cheap, i'm in revisions, i didn't feeeeeel like cookin) wearing the same sweatshirt i've had on for a week. pulled up the hood to ensure no one would spot me, because when I'm in the final stretch i don't, y'know, bathe or whatever. and sure enough the neighborhood do-it-all mom was there...looking fresh 'n lovely...bless her heart, she pulled off "it's so fun to see you here!" - - yeah, I bet....

Rachael Herron said...

HOORAY FOR YOUR NOM! My embarrassing thing: My hair at this very moment in the Boise cafe I'm sitting in. (Don't enter me, though - I have the book and loved it....)

Juliet Blackwell said...

Thanks for visiting the Pens, Kristan! Many congratulations on the nomination -- that's great news. I can't wait to read The Next Best Thing, and might just skip to page 282 ;-)
I have an embarrassing priest story as well, though it's a bit too long to go into here. Suffice it to say that I never went back to that church, and I heard the poor man of cloth in question transferred to Central America. I'm sure it wasn't due to me, though, right?

Annie said...

Mine was when I was in college on the fencing team. I was a *very* slow runner, and we were supposed to be completing a nine-mile run. I was dead last (not the embarrassing part), hot, red-faced, and sweating like a pig (again, not the embarrassing part), and faced with the entire 72-person UNC fencing team waiting at the finish line for me (nope, not the embarrassing part yet). Somewhere in the last half-mile or so of the run, my insides decided that they'd had enough and I starting passing gas with every step. Poot, poot, poot, poot, poot, poot, poot... I couldn't make it stop, and it was very audible. So as I come huffing, puffing, and pooting my way in, the Coach (bless his heart) holds his hand up and quiets everyone--and then says "No one better light a match!" The only good thing is that I could *not* turn any more red. Totally embarrassing.

Elise said...

One of the most memorable embarrassing things happened to me in High School. I was walking in one morning wearing my hiking boots and there was a thick rubber mat inside the front entrance. Somehow my boot stuck on the edge of the mat and I fell face first in front of a whole bunch of people getting stuff out of their lockers and generally hanging around in the halls before the first period class. And of course we all know what high school students are like, so you can just imagine how I felt.

Actually now that I think about it almost all of my embarrassing moments involve me falling dramatically in a public place.

Anonymous said...

Can't wait to read the book (whether I win or not). I'll give you two mortifying moments for the price of one. Flashback to 1981/1982 -- the song Queen of Hearts (by Juice Newton) was very popular. I'm in 7th grade, and am still reeling from the fact that the boy who I'd had a very innocent romance with (consisting mainly of notes passed in class and long hours on the phone) had suddenly decided he didn't like me and became quite mean. One day, I tooted unexpectedly in math class and it was quite loud -- or perhaps it just seemed that way because the room was silent, since we were having a math test. My ex-crush insisted on calling me the Queen of Farts for weeks.

Flash forward 10 or so years, and I'm dating an engineering student. It's my first time having dinner at his family's place, and his older brother happened to be there. His family is French, and they're pretty good cooks. She had made a large creme brulee for dessert -- my favourite. I had a small helping, as did everybody. I think his father had seconds and offered seconds to me -- I accepted and took another spoonful from the dish. His brother started making squealing pig noises. I was absolutely mortified. My relationship with the student lasted for another year or so, but I should have known it was doomed -- how could I be with someone whose brother was such a mean-spirited jerk?

Martha Flynn said...

I guess this brings up whether it counts as mortification if you're the only one who realizes the situation....

At last year's Nationals you were in the suite next to ours and friendly ol' Lisa invited you in to look around EVEN THOUGH I HAD NO PANTS ON.

Apparently everyone thought I was wearing some kind of trendy bubble dress that only covered half my ass and no one was the wiser.

You even shook my hand - MY HAND - which I was using to furiously yank down my shirt and then you graciously asked us what we wrote which led to you referring an agent and more shirt yanking and desperation and thinking - omigod when was the last time I shaved/waved???

And then you left and I collapsed in a heap and clutched that free book of yours they gave us at registration to my chest thinking - this book is the closest I'll ever get to Kristan again - she's filing the restraining order right now against the half-naked fan freak.

Anyhoo - turns out that was all in my head. But was mortifying nonetheless.

Eric Beetner said...

Great stories. You can really spin a tale. Makes me wish for more mortifying moments in your life.

Christine said...

LOL - Great post! Although I think Annie's story is the winner, I'll contribute one of my cases of mortification.

The main reason I was on my high school softball team as an alternate is that it was a very small school. (Small talent pool to pull from. Not a naturally-gifted athlete, me.) At one of my few times up to bat in a game, I was so nervous and hoped that I wouldn't strike out. But in concentrating so hard on wanting to hit the ball, I didn't immediately catch when Ball 4 had been called. Not until most of my teammates yelled "BALL 4! WALK TO 1st!" did I snap out of it. Talk about feeling like a class-A doofus! :)

toni in florida said...

I play a singing tavern wench in a local medieval fair every Jan/Feb, wearing a very tight bodice over a full-length underdress and above a full-length wrap skirt. Underneath this get-up, you will find the supporting cast (so to speak): a DD push-up bra, panties, bike shorts (in mild weather) or long runners pants (on cold days) under a pair of boot-topping pantaloons. Very labor-intensive to get into, to say the least, and using the loo is a major production, especially in the small stalls we have to use. (At least they're real toilets, not port-a-johns.)

Picture me in this get up on a cold February Sunday, with my boobs hoisted and largely exposed (I did say my character's a wench, right?) and the rest of me swathed in the aforementioned clothing. And I'm coping with the end of my period, so I take a tampon with me to the bathroom and discover there's no place to set it down while I get my clothing disarranged and perch above the porcelain receptacle, so I stick the wrapped (unused) tampon in my cleavage, for lack of a viable option. In a few short minutes (which felt eternal, as I was wrestling with all those layers of clothes), I discover I do not need the tampon after all, so I finish my business, get my clothing resettled, flush and head to the sinks to wash my hands. I chat with some ladies at the lavatories, then sashay my smiling, flirting, eye-contact-making wench ass out of the ladies room... and get about 30 feet out into the fair proper before I look down and see – oh, but yes – a gleaming, wrapped (unused, I feel the need to reiterate) tampon poking up from between my "crumpets."


(God only knows how many people saw it and didn't warn me... even in the ladies room! Bitches, all of them, I tell you.)

Christine said...

Annnnnddd, toni takes the lead. LMAO!

Adrienne Bell said...

Thanks, so much for visiting us Kristin!

I have to say the worst was the way I met my future mother-in-law. She popped by unannounced on her son, right when we were in the middle of...something. I was so embarrassed, I wanted to die. But I could hear her out in the kitchen, saying, "Wow, that was quick. You haven't been dating her very long."

Rachael Herron said...

I think it might be a tie between Adrienne and Toni.... :)

ginaknits said...

This was one of those times when I could only stand by but couldn't stop the train wreck. I was introducing my parents to my boss and his wife. The wife was a curvacious women wearing a loose-fitting dress. You can see where this one is going. My father immediately asked her when she was due. Not real bright on his part. Super embarrassment for me.

Anonymous said...

One of my mortification stories is that I was in class and sitting next to this cute guy that I really really liked. He sent me a note which said, "I like you". I wrote him back and told him I liked him to. Well...the teacher saw me passing the note and took it from me. He read it to the whole class and then everyone started to laugh...I found out later that my crush meant for me to pass the note to my BEST friend. Double humiliation all at once!

Unknown said...

I'm chiming in a little late to say THANK YOU for visiting with us!! Pretty sure the true reason we asked you to visit for this topic was because of meeting you last year in DC :)

For anyone who hasn't read this book it is really really amazing. Kristan's language is so beautiful and yet so accessible. And honestly her treatment of a subject that I am not crazy about was so perfectly written-I laughed and I cried and was so moved by the end. :) It was wonderful.

Good luck at the RITA's I will be cheering you on!

Anonymous said...

At long last, the author replies! So sorry, ladies...I was traveling the day of the post, didn't get back till this week, etc. etc. blah blah etc.

At any rate, I have to vote Toni in Florida as the best humiliating story...any medieval wench with a tampon stuck to her person deserves some recognition, yes?

Thanks so much...sorry I was so late chiming in!

toni in florida said...

Yay! And thanks so much. I can't wait to receive Kristan's book!