A moment during which everybody present is made to feel intensely uncomfortable. The worst of these come about in an innocent fashion and can be quite difficult to dispel. All anybody trapped in these situations really wants is to forget about it and move on, but it isn't always possible, as my example will illustrate.

Scene: Lblack, Sister and Mother are in the family room, watching the television. A commercial comes on, advertising those marvels of feminine hygeine, tampons.

Lblack: Are those like napkins?

Sister: (bursts out laughing)

Lblack: (with all the indignation of a nine year old): What's so funny? What are they?!

(Sister begins to look alarmed. Shows no inclination of talking.)

Mother: They're for girls.

Lblack: What do you mean they're for girls? Boys can't use them?

Sister: (laughs, involuntarily)

Lblack: Stop that!

Mother: Well, you see, girls aren't the same as boys...

Lblack: I know, they don't have wee-wees!

Sister: (sneakily leaves room)

Mother: Well, even more than that.

Lblack: What do you mean?

Mother: I suppose you're old enough... (Mother gives lengthy explanation of menstrual cycle and the tools used to tame it, carefully denoting the differences between tampons and pads. She then launches into lengthy explanation of how sex works, why sex works and who should be having sex and who should not.)

Lblack: (dazed, possibly bleeding from the ears) Goodbye.


For the first bit of conversation, I'm sure that both Mother and Sister were praying that I'd be distracted and shut the fuck up. For the second bit, Sister had managed to sneak away and so it was Lblack wishing to God that somebody would die so that the conversation would end. From what I understand, Mother was none too fond of having to explain everything from menstruation to contraception to her nine-year-old son when all she really wanted to do was watch some TV.

This was an uncomfortable moment, not to be confused with an embarassing situation.

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