An expert in humiliation

Embarrassment: the shame or guilt you feel when your inadequacy is made public.

You might think that coming from a small island to a huge city in a foreign country just screams awkward situations. And you would not be wrong in thinking this.

My week has ONCE AGAIN been full of embarrassing moments. Having to dry my own hair in the hairdressers due to a miscommunication, being called Jan all night due to a misunderstanding and leaving the house with extremely singed hair after a mishap with a candle. A personal embarrassing highlight of the week was when it was silent in class and my stomach decided it would be a great opportunity to practice its wonderful dying whale impression.

I don’t want to go into the highly humiliating details but let me just warn you – you may be asked if you want to dry your hair yourself if you enter a German hairdressers. The answer to this question should be NO. Unless you want to cringe your way through faffing about with the big round brushes and powerful hairdryers whilst being scrutinized by everyone in the place.

Warning number 2: If you say your name is ‘Jen’, to Germans this sounds extremely similar to the German equivalent of the name John.

Warning number 3: If you have long hair and are clumsy get rid of all candles now. It’s just not worth it friends.

Bonus warning: Do not ever trust a nightclub that has wifi. Checking in to a club on Facebook is just NOT COOL. And will lead to many regrets.

I’m sure many people who have crossed my path this week have experienced ‘Fremdschämen.’ Die Fremdschämen describes the phenomenon that is the process of being ashamed for someone who you do not know. This perfectly describes how all the other customers were feeling in relation to the combination of my misfortune with round hairdressing brushes and zero talent with hair.

I’ve heard that our tolerance to embarrassment gets better with age. The lady that I teach English exclaimed to me the other day to not worry because ‘when we become old, embarrassment is nothing to any peoples.’ And I really hope this is true. I don’t think I’ve every really wished to be older recently but I mean if this is one of the perks, maybe getting older does have its perks. Like I’ve said in my last blog post – being human is to feel stuff. And we are happy to be humans aren’t we? And so what else can we do but embrace it the embarrassment? How embarrassing it is to be human.

We need to get to that stage where we can internalise the fact that we can be wrong and that we can do stupid things. But I feel like this might be a life long growth process/development? If there are any shortcuts to being at ease with your humiliating moments please let me know!

In happier news it is one month today until Christmas.  It is happening people.  You can all stop denying it now 🙂

 No one can make you feel inferior without your consent. – Eleanor Roosevelt

p.s Germany was named the best country in the world this week in a survey that rates nations on how they are perceived by outsiders. Read the article here!


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