Styling it out

Public embarrassment must be the worst feeling ever.

It’s that “Oh God just kill me now” moment the runway model has when the laws of physics kick in and she tumbles on the catwalk while exhibiting the latest haute couture in those 6 inch high stiletto heels.

There is that cold feeling of awkwardness that washes over you and you are praying that the ground could please just open up and immediately swallow you whole.

It’s not pretty. However, some of us can handle our faux pas quite well and just continue as if nothing happened.

This past week, for instance, Simon McCoy, a BBC News presenter, gave new meaning to the term “professional” when, on camera, in attempting to pick up his iPad, he instead picked up a ream of paper. The unflappable Simon just continued as if it were the most normal thing in the world. Viewers and Twitterers called him out on it, but for me, that’s the way to carry off your huge, yet harmless, public mistakes. I mean, at that point, what are you going to do?

Simon McCoy BBC1 - courtesy of YouTube

Simon McCoy BBC1 – courtesy of YouTube

We’ve all had our moments, though, where instead of fumbling and trying our best to explain it away, we just act like we meant to do it. We just style it out.

Two years ago, in the middle of winter, there was a slick surface left in the office parking lot one morning after a snow storm clean up. I exited my car and, strutting in my knee-high platform boots like I owned the whole damn place, slipped and fell smack on my derriere right there in the busy car park. I didn’t bat an eyelid, but swooped right back up, right hip now hurting, and continued walking, albeit a little gingerly, like that incident didn’t just happen. Was I embarrassed? Hell yes, I was! But I was determined to style it out.

Another one of my great achievements, was at a particularly boring dinner party after work for some overseas suppliers (long ago when I had these obligations). I was so tired from schlepping these visitors around all day and now had to be at this dinner with a few other work colleagues, I was actually falling asleep at the dinner table. All I can tell you at this point is that someone at the table mentioned something about bauxite and I piped up from my somnolence with much alacrity: “Oh yes, the red mud lake is the residue from bauxite manufacturing. It’s very caustic.” The table fell silent and one of my colleagues looked at me quizzically and said, “Oh is that right?” All I could do at that point was to style it out and say, “Um, yes. I read up on it the other day”, averted my eyes, and shoved a forkful of whatever I was eating into my mouth. They all looked at me like I had horns or something and then continued with their conversation. To this day, I have no idea what was really being said, or why the heck I opened my mouth in the first place.

So I’m curious to know if anyone out there has had an opportunity to style out their grand public flubs and exactly what did you do?

And the aforementioned runway model? She just pops back up again each time like it never happened, doesn’t she?

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6 replies

  1. The show must go on! I really like this. A lot. I just need to get some style first methinks…. nah, lost cause. Hmm, I think I blocked my public flubs from memory, because I am coming up blank and I know I have to had something.

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  2. Sometimes a well-worded apology (I’m sorry–I completely misunderstood what was expected–let me fix that!) saves the day, and when heartfelt, it comes off as very classy (as long as one doesn’t weep copiously, writhe or grovel, although a little well-up of tear in the eye is fine; it shows humanness).

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  3. You caught this and I am laughing! I have pressed a deck of cards to my head thinking I was grabbing a phone! And although I wear contacts, one near and one far and should have bifocals, it is because I am kind of hectic in my movements! Laughing and still smiling at how he held his wits together and continued, forging on!

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