Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Public embarrassment - staging an underwear show

Mortification doesn't begin to cover the feeling I had when I walked back into the room where I had been working all day with a colleague.

I had just returned from a visit to the lavatory and walked back into the room saying that I wouldn't mind working in the space again.  The room was just the right size with a wall of big windows.  It was conducive to thinking, writing and being creative.

I pulled the chair out to sit down, smoothed my dress at the back in readiness for sitting and it was then that the moritifcation occurred.  My dress was tucked up into my stockings and knickers at the back!  I had walked the length of a corridor in this state!  I immediately blushed, then cringed, then looked accusingly at my colleague - had he seen?  how much had he seen?  why hadn't he said anything?  Oh god!

He was looking at me, clearly registering that there was something wrong.  So I told him: "My dress is tucked into my knickers! How long has it been like that?  Did I go to lunch like that?" (I'd been to the lavatory just before lunch too.)

Smirking turned into a wide grin as he shook his head.

"No it wasn't like that at lunch."  He went into a reverie.  "I do remember the time I was following a woman who had toilet paper trailing out the back of her pants."  He laughed.

"Did you tell her?"

"No.  I didn't."

He didn't!  How could I trust him in this situation?  Surely after all these weeks of working and travelling together our relationship was such that he would have said something.  Surely.

I spent the rest of the afternoon in a state of nervous paranoia, compulsively smoothing the back of my dress and adjusting my underwear.

The first thing I did when I arrived home was tuck my dress into my knickers to see how bad it would have looked.  I wanted to know what others had seen as I walked the length of that (very long) corridor.  With black stockings, black knickers and a black dress, it didn't look too bad.  Perhaps that's why no one said anything.

I would always let someone know if their dress was tucked up or their fly was undone or they had toilet paper trailing.  I once told my boss her dress was on inside out when she arrived at work.  That's one of those random acts of kindness I reckon.  It's about having and showing empathy.

Tomorrow I'll find the whole thing hilarious and see how I can exploit the story for entertainment.  Until then, I'm off to look at my rear view in the mirror.  Again.

Do you tell strangers embarrassing things they need to know?  Or do you let them walk around in blissful oblivion? What would you prefer?

1 comment:

  1. HIGHlarious. That reminds of the toilet paper lady I saw at Central that day. I feel guilty I never said anything.