Friday, January 26, 2007

Open mouth; insert foot.

I am frequently the first to absolutely lose it when some idiot sticks their foot in their mouth. I am a pretty sensitive girl, and don't take well to teasing or insensitive comments. I will roll them over and over in my mind, allowing them to attack me again and again long after the moment has passed. And yet, I am also infamous for my own foot in mouth maneuvers. When I drink, I say whatever is in my head. The fallout can be really ugly for both sides. In fact, I hang on to my insensitive comments and torment myself with them, convince myself that I am the meanest, rudest person alive.

Here's a few excerpts:
  • As I entered the lunch room of my former lab, I exclaimed, "Holy shit, what the hell is that smell? It wreaks in here!" At that point, the source of the smell became obvious. A very, very kind Chinese postdoc had heated up his lunch which consisted of some sort of fermented fish. Upon hearing my comment, he blushed and excused himself from the lunch room. He even apologized for his lunch giving the room its lovely aroma. I was mortified and equally apologetic for my comment. I begged him to stay and finish his lunch. He left anyway. I am such an ass.
  • I was standing behind a fellow grad student and friend of mine one Friday evening while hanging out at our favorite bar. Suddenly, I found myself staring at the top of his head. Without even a thought, I said out loud to him, "Hey, looks like you're losing quite a bit of hair up here." Silence followed when he turned around and stared at me, jaw on the floor. He finally says in his saddest tone, "I'm losing my hair?" Doh!! What the hell was I thinking? Oh yeah, I wasn't.
  • A few minutes after the midnight celebration of the transition from 1999 to 2000, I was happily chatting with then-husband's good friend, D. D was relaying a story to us and said, "...I'm a reliable and dependable friend, right? So I...". I interrupt with,"No you're not! You are a really really flaky friend actually." OK, so we weren't exactly in a legally approved state of mind, but still. I got that stare that says, "I can't believe you said that". What do I do to recover? I burst into tears, and my poor insulted friend ends up trying to console me.
  • For the grand finale, I recall making this statement to a fertility challenged friend upon finding out that her last round of IVF worked (granted this was about 10 years ago, way before I had a clue) and she was pregnant with twins. I said, "Wow, twins...well at least you're not having triplets." She was kind and didn't blink an eye. I later discovered, that actually she was originally pregnant with triplets, but one died not long before they made their twin announcement to me. If karma tries to balance out in a single lifetime, I am really in for it.
Am I the only one who has foot in mouth disease? Have any of you said something really insensitive to someone without thinking? Or am I the only asshole in the blogosphere?


serenity said...

Nah, you're not the only @sshole in the blogosphere.

Back when I was in college, one summer I worked in telecom. I came in one morning and heard this god-awful music on the radio. Said "What is this CRAP we are listening to?"

Turns out one of the guys I worked with was in a band, and that was what was on the radio.


And when my girlfriend was pregnant - prior to infertility, of course - I actually had the gall to ask her if it was a planned one.


You're not alone, hon.

Not so little sister said...

At the beginning of my freshman year of college, a bunch of us girls were sitting around the lunch table talking about pet peeves. I can't remember exactly how the conversation started, but I said, "Man, I really hate when people from the midwest call soda 'pop'." Directly to my right was a girl from Illinois. I wanted to crawl under the table. Yeah, I'm a dumbass too.

Aurelia said...

My foot in mouth comments are legendary, and not just in my own mind, although occasionally CAUSED by my ADD mind. I have said awful things, especially when drinking, to every person I know. *hangs head in shame* And some of the comments I've left on people's blogs when unmedicated, or hormonal, grief-stricken, or just a bit nutty? Yeesh...
Worst stories are from my political days, prior to diagnosis & meds. I could deliver a zinger so cruel it would freeze an entire room.
20 years ago, we were debating gay rights at a young l!berals policy meeting. I'm firmly in favour of gay marriage etc, which was still freaky back then, and I'm debating with this right wing nerdly guy in front of 300 people.
But do I keep it professional & legal, oh no...after the earnest young nerd says that sex would be so much risker, no one would know what the rules were...I shoot back, "How would you know? You're still a virgin...have you ever even HAD a date?"

The room goes silent; the only sound a horrified intake of breath.

He sinks in humiliation as everyone laughs AT HIM.

Our side won the debate but for the last twenty years, he has never spoken to me, and everyone remembers the moment I sliced and diced him, and they remind me of it regularly.

If I could go back in time...

Jackie said...

I have done this more times than I can possibly count. I think I have blocked out some of them because they were so heinous, they killed some of my brain cells with the nastiness. I am remembering one now, that I can't even bear to write here. I was out to dinner with a group of my best friends and their husbands. I blurted out something that made me have 'that feeling' in the pit of my stomach/back of my throat for about a week after. I was drunk. I was freaking out because I couldn't get pregnant. I was without social contact for far too long (due to a move). My social editor was on holiday. In any case, I was worried that none of my friends would speak to me again, but it's water under the bridge. I have also said some nasty pompous things at work when I'm trying to be funny and just come off as a bitch.
Since the IF, I am much more careful about the things I say to everybody. I also reread, edit and massage tenderly every email and blog post I write. I also drink much less than I used to. It all seems to help 8)

Cibele said...

First of all I want to say that you are so funny! Thanks for the laughs I need it. I am guilty too; first I did the same thing with my fellow Indian grad student when he was heating up his food. I could not imagine that something eatable could smell like that. Second several years ago one of the ladies of my church in Brazil had a big tummy and I though she was PG. I rubbed her belly and said: Oh, congratulations, when are you due? She was not PG... What was I thinking? From this day on I never asked if somebody is PG unless they are delivering the baby in from of me. My most recent one, one year ago my husband played drums in a band that he hated it , but he did not want to leave the band because the guy he played with was of my professors in Grad school. One day they were playing and this crazy professor of mine asked me if I could record them playing. As I am recording , a friend of mine asked if my husband liked the bad: I said, HE HATES IT and I went on and on why, how bad of a singer my professor was bla bla bla. Well, I forgot I was recording and speaking very close to the camcorder. The very next day he saw the recording and heard what I said and sent an email telling my husband he should not feel obligated to play with them if he hated it so much. I was very embarrassed when I saw him the other day in school… he said: you are very good with the camera, the sound was also very clear… I almost died LOL
The list goes on and on....
I am exercising thinking before I speak...

Dino aka Katy said...

I don't mind being teased but I am also good at putting my foot in my mouth. More often or not my mouth opens and I say things without thinking. Examples:

after my first year in the US I came back to my hometown and stuck around with the Mormoms to keep my english going so we where standing outside the temple trying to decided where to go and my coment was I DON'T WANT TO GO TO THAT GOD DAMN PLACE all of a sudden everyone got quiet.

mhh there are other everything from calling someones beloved do ugly to insulting hometowns and worse. What can I say ...

Mary Stebbins Taitt said...

MORE HUGS!!!! ((((HUGS))))

Because I think we all say things like that! I sure do. I beat others up (my husband for example) for his insensitivities and then I say something really stupid. I can think of about 12 already.

There was a girl who worked at the museum with me, she was brand new. I told her nicely that she had something on her nose, so she could wipe it off and not be embarrassed (you know, like spinach between your teeth.) Turned out it was a birthmark and I could have sunk into the floor. She quit right after that and I always felt it was my insensitivty. And it gets worse--way worse.

so--MORE HUGS!!!! ((((HUGS))))

They're good for what ails you!

Ol' Lady said...

I would comment on this post of yours but I have to remove my boots but first I have to take them out of my mouth...I think everyone has the same problem at's o.k. we all have far :)

Veronika said...

I think we all say things that we wish we could take back. I'm notorious for that, Nicole. We never realize how much we hurt someones feelings until it's too late. I'm too embarrassed to mention some of the things I've said!!! After the damage is done, I keep playing it back in my head and just beat myself up for it. Honestly, I don't think it hurts the person as much as you think.

Amateur Dancer said...

hi nicole,

i have seen you a lot on some of the other bipolar planet blogs...

so, this is my first time to read you.

first, congrats on your life-wow...all that you are going for right now, that is awesome!

second, oh...i do it all the time too. and, i am one of those really energetic/center of attention type, when i stick my foot in my mouth the entire room watches. or, my exboyfriend sees me and thinks, "how could you say something so awful".

yeah....then, i think, "how could i say something so awful".

and, when it was coming out of my mouth, it felt like it was funny or normal, and never intended to be "awful".


Sara said...

Oh, Nicole, I have done this too many times to count. Like you do, I replay my indiscretions over and over in my head, feeling worse and worse. I have even managed to acccidentally insult people by comments I leave on their blogs, even though you get the preview option and a chance to retract. You are definitely not alone.

Aurelia said...

Just wanted to comment again to say that I think I just did this this week again when I insulted someone by email. It wasn't on purpose...I've been having some wild hormonal moments this week, and I think I screwed up by pressing send on my rant.
And I don't know him well enough to say, "I'm waiting to Pee On A Stick (POAS), hope you don't mind me being awful and bitchy."
grrr, I have no idea how to fix this now.

SmarshyBoy said...

Oh man, I have a two-fer, one night when I said 2 doozies.

I was at some christmas party with my parents, I was about 22 and clearly not happy to be there. I was wandering around this strangers house, looking at pictures, and I stumbled upon this picture of these two standard poodles with their hair cut all poodle-ly, and they were in a dog show, being awarded "best in show" and runner up. I was struck by the attire, and the, um, utter gay-ness of the 2 guys holding the leashes. I'm not homophobic; but what they were wearing just struck me as kind of comical and stereotypical. So as I was looking at it, I hear a voice behind say "aren't they beautiful?" and I said without turning around "Yeah, the dogs are cute, but look at these two wierdos, I mean, look what they're wearing!" I turned around and I was facing one of the guys in the picture.

About 30 minutes later, some lady found me by the bar and asked if I thought the house was nice. I knew it wasn't her house, so I told the truth: the house was great on the outside, but the inside was kind of crazy and ugly.

Turns out I was talking to the interior decorator.

Hows that?

thrice said...

I have tried to take my foot out of my mouth, for my whole life. I have improved tremendously, yet I have so much more room for improvement. The worst part is that I don't even know that I'm doing it.

As Aurelia touched on, it's a classic add/adhd symptom.

Barbara said...


For me. as I get older the time between mean comments increases. I guess people learn from their mistakes.

TInk said...

Ha ha ha ha ha... I'm sorry, I don't mean to laugh but it's good to know that I'm not the only one here. And you're not either. I don't want to post the whole story but if you'd like, go to my MySpace Blog ( for 10/12/2006 'Whoa! Anyone ever seen Detroit Rock City????'

All in all, I have a very close friend who just happens to be a large black male. ((And with me being a petite white chick, we make for one interesting combination))

Anyway, en-route... actually before even leaving the house, a friend's car was stolen. Inside after the incident, I said.... "it was probably 3 black guys that took the car....." Then cue silence... everyone was SHOCKED with what I said! I didn't even realize what I had said until my friend said, 'why do they have to be black?'

Oh shit! Heather f*&%ed up!!!!!

He laughed and everything was fine.... but honestly, I don't even see his color. I see him for who he is as a person. He later told me that he thought it was hilarious and that it was completely excusable because we're so close. Although anyone else probably would have been in some big doo doo!

Ooooo... don't forget to work out! :D

Renee said...

We were at the house of one of my DH's highschool soccer buddies. I notice the art on the wall and quip
"Is that a Jackson Polloc wanna-be?" to which the owner of the house and the artist replies "Yes, I made it." oops! quick recovery? "It looks really nice, a whole lot like his work."

Another time I was visiting my friend who was at work at a Things Remembered in the mall. She was working on a nametag that looked very expensive to me. I say "Boy that's an aweful lot to pay for a nametag!" the buyer was right behind me. oops! Turns out this guy kept loosing his nametags for the theatre and had to of course buy new ones all the time.

Bumble said...

Hi Nicole!

Just found your blog and this post (and all the comments) really made me cackle! I am a classic foot-in-mouther.

Even from when I was about 3 or 4 it began... My dad was in the driveway talking to a friend of his when I went outside and loudly interrupted them with "Mommy says she doesn't want THAT man inside her house"! My poor dad!

Later, I was visiting my sister and we were laying around in the pool. Her sister-in-law was sitting on a little park bench watching us, when I said to her, "Watch out Dalene that bench doesn't break, it looks a bit dodgy" My sister mumbled to me "She bought it for us you moron, would you like something to wash your foot down???"

Then only last week, my hubby was outside on the back deck when I heard him fart very loudly. I shouted from the kitchen at the top of my lungs, "HEY!!!!!! I HEARD THAT!!!!!!" He came into the kitchen laughing his ass off and said "It wasn't me, it was the neighbour!"