“I have a story for you,” I texted my youngest sister.
“Awkward club occurrence?” she responded.
I love that she knows.
Let me begin by stating that, typically, I am not easily embarrassed. I put my life on the internet for people to read; and if you suspect that I don’t actually speak as I write, meet me. I am the same chick who openly discusses her sexual mishaps in person as I am on my blog. Yet, somehow, I’ve managed to mortify myself to the point of replaying the awkwardness in my head in an unsuccessful attempt to prove that it wasn’t that embarrassing. I mean, I’ve fallen outside of a club lineup, I’ve left a venue missing a shoe (an awkward club occurrence story to come, so stay tuned), and I’ve cried on a random guy’s shoulder in a lounge. This was nothing!
I failed to convince myself. I instigated enough awkwardness that I’m still feeling it as I write this – which I was not going to write, by the way. I wanted to forget it happened; not make written record of it. It was so awkward, and this is coming from a girl who thinks walks of shame should be applauded. Fortunately for you, I am proudly shameless. I’ll tell you what went down. We don’t need to rewind six years to my clubbing days for this one. This one is fresh. You’d think I’d be awkward-club-occurrence-free now that I don’t often club. Not so, friends. Not so.
If you find me at a club these days, it’s for one of three reasons: I’m supporting a friend, I’m conducting a happiness experiment of some sort, or I’m in an I-need-to-feel-better-about-being-single mood. (Warning: Clubs are not the cure. They can take you from the palatable I-want-a-boyfriend mindset to the anxious I’m-never-ever-going-to-get-married-because-the-only-guys-left-still-say-“bra” mindset.) Thankfully, I was not clubbing because of the latter. (I’ve actually been more appreciative of my single status lately. ) I went for my friend Paul Quzz, who was playing for the launch of ALL BLAK Records and celebrating his birthday as of midnight. Lesson of the night: Neither the infrequency with which I club nor my supportive intentions behind it can save me from awkwardness.
I had no idea it was coming for me. All was perfectly non-awkward until the end of the night, when I went to bid Paul goodbye. Behind the DJ booth, I had already said bye to the few people I knew when I saw Paul packing up his equipment. His back was toward me, so I think I tapped him (I’m not sure; I’ve already begun mentally denying this happened) before proceeding to hug him goodbye. It was at this point that I saw Paul in my peripheral.
“Oh my God,” I turned to the friend I came with, feigning calmness to the people around us, “that wasn’t Paul!”
“I know,” she said sympathetically, placing her hand on my shoulder. (Good to know that she is more capable of distinguishing my friends from strangers than I am.)
“Why wouldn’t you stop me?” I asked under my breath.
“I couldn’t. You were already going in,” she explained.
“Oh my God, I need to say bye to Paul so we can leave!”
I chatted with the real Paul for a few minutes (as if I had not just awkwardly hugged someone I don’t know, who looks exactly like him from behind) before hugging him goodbye and bolting.
On the walk back to the car, while trying to ignore comments from the drunkies of Queen W, I continued my slow demise into awkwardness.
“The best part,” my friend laughed, “was when you were like, ‘Happy birthday again, Paul!’”
“I did not say that!” I adamantly exclaimed in disbelief.
“Yes, you did,” she laughed harder.
“What? How do I not remember that?” I asked rhetorically. “It all happened so fast!” I defended myself.
“What made you think he was Paul?” she wondered.
“They’re identical from behind! I noticed the guy wasn’t him once he turned, but I was somehow already mid-hug. At that point, it would have been more awkward to stop it. – Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God, that was so fucking awkward!”
I woke up multiple times throughout the night thinking about it. What was wrong with me? I approach strangers on the reg. I’m totally comfortable with it! Without thought, I’ve tried to pick up a waitress on behalf of one of my old managers (she had a boyfriend, so he was SOL; but had she not been taken, I definitely would have gotten him in); I’ve hopped into some unknown guys’ pickup truck because Italy killed France in a Euro Cup match, apparently curing my fear of hitchhiking (up and down Woodbridge Ave); and I’ve been steps away from accidently hitting on a married guy. Yet, there I was, lying awake wondering where I had gone wrong in the time leading up to the most awkward hug of my life.
The next day, I was fucking dead. I woke up at 1 pm, about four or five hours later than usual.
“You’re home?” my mom asked in surprise.
“Yes, and I am dy-ing!” I emphasized through grogginess.
“Yeah, I saw you walk in at 7-something this morning,” one of my sisters said.
“I was downtown last night, got to my friend’s place after 4 this morning, crashed there for a couple hours before coming home, and I’ve been sleeping since, but I still feel like death,” I said with my arms stretched across the kitchen table and my forehead to the tablecloth. (FYI: I am blaming my exhaustion on the awkwardness. I refuse to believe that my arms were shaking and my legs could barely make it up stairs because of old age. I’m a late-night champ! Even when I drink, I’m up early with enthusiasm the next day. I get the opposite of hangovers: post-alcohol energy bursts! Fuck you, awkwardness; you nearly killed me.) – “Oh my God!” I jolted up, suddenly wide awake. “Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God!’ I burst into laughter as I stuck both of my hands in my hair to hold my head upright. “The most awkward thing happened last night!” (Never mind the fact that I bumped into the guy I lost my virginity to, who I hadn’t seen in the five years since. – Yeah, that happened. – I woke up concerned about a hug.)
I told my mom and my sister the story, to which they replied through laughter, “Were you drunk?”
“No!” I whined. “That’s the worst part! I was 100 percent sober!”
Paul, FYI bud, you have a back doppelganger!
Finally, to Paul’s back doppelganger from the random girl that hugged you, let me explain: you are my friend’s/our friend’s (because – oh God – maybe you know Paul too #fuckmyawkwardlife) back twin! I’m sorry; I didn’t know he had one! In my defense, it was dark. (Except that it wasn’t. The lights had just come on.)
About the Author
Maria Bellissimo was the protagonist of a sad, boring life until she turned her story into a happiness experiment. She chronicles her search for happiness on her supremely awesome and appropriately named blog, The Happiness Experiment, which she hopes will inspire others to launch their own happiness experiments. Follow her adventures on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.