Coffee Talk

Remember that time you spilled coffee on yourself mid-meeting, locked braces kissing, and, like, totally committed social suicide in front of the coolest guy at school? So do we. Here are the embarrassing moments that made us blush at the time and still make us squirm:

Emily: When I was an assistant at Condé Nast, there was a group of girls my age in the same position at different magazines. It was such a fun atmosphere and we did practically everything together, including bathroom breaks. On our way back from lunch one day, my friend Alissa and I made a quick stop at the restroom down the hall from our desks. We were in a deep conversation and I was still chatting, obliviously looking over my shoulder, as we entered our respective stalls. I closed the door, secured the latch, turned around and was face to face with Gina*, who’d apparently been in there for a while. We locked eyes And. I. Froze. Like, didn’t move an inch. The shock held me in place and I just stared at her (understandably) horrified face. You’d think I would have bolted so quickly that she would have barely known I was in there. But that didn’t happen. She literally had to ask me to leave. ‘Get outttt!’ she screamed, and that’s when I finally fled the stall and ran back to my desk. I was mortified. And it didn’t end there because Alissa had heard the entire thing. When she eventually passed by me, she was in tears from laughing so hard. For the rest of the afternoon, we took turns breaking into spontaneous fits of hysterics until the HR person had to ask us if we needed to leave for the remainder of the afternoon. Needless to say, it took a really long time to recover.

*Name has been changed to protect the innocent.

Geoffrey: There are two stories that immediately come to mind, but the first is way too gross for this format, so I’ll share the one that still makes Emily laugh. We’d been dating for a little over a year and were out shopping one Sunday afternoon. I had just gotten my first smartphone (RIP original Motorola DROID) and was consumed with the new apps and services that came with it. We walked into American Apparel and I blindingly followed Emily around, scrolling through Twitter while she browsed the racks of ringer t-shirts. As she was preparing to checkout, I started walking towards the exit, head down, completely unaware that there was a six-inch drop in the floor directly in front of me, and as I casually strolled through the store, I missed the step and fell forward. Normally, this is where a person would immediately fall, but considering I had my new phone and wanted to salvage it plus myself, I began to flail my arms wildly in massive windmill movements, trying to regain any sense of balance, before I ultimately hit the ground with a good amount of speed and slid across the floor on my chest (Emily later likened it to being on a slip-and-slide). I made enough of a racket to set off an alarm, but not one person even acknowledged my display of stupidity, until Emily walked over and asked if I was ok. At this point I was still sprawled out on the floor, still in shock over what had just happened. I brushed myself off and as we walked out, she asked me again if I was ok and once I assured her everything was fine, she lost her shit and started cackling like I’d never heard before. It took her a good ten minutes to catch her breath, but she obviously had to share the experience with her mom, so while were driving home, I got a double dose of good-natured humiliation on speakerphone. I couldn’t help but laugh at the situation myself and this story ended up in my wedding vows.

Alina: This is honestly so embarrassing and leaves me open to the judgement that I’m a total creep/desperate, which wouldn’t necessarily be wrong in this case. After getting out of a five-year relationship, let’s just say my skills in the field were a little rusty (go easy on me). There was this cute guy in our office building who I had a crush on and would flirt with me in the elevators, so the connection wasn’t totally one-sided. Well, I don’t know what got into me but one night while working late at the café downstairs, I saw him inside at the cash register and something completely came over me. I jumped up from my table, and basically flagged him down, gesturing and more or less yelling: “Curtis!” Luckily he didn’t run the opposite direction and we chatted a little. But that’s not the worst part. I texted my friend about the incident, who couldn’t believe I still hadn’t found out his last name so we could Insta-stalk him and she could see what he looked like. I told her I’d get on it, and the very next day, I went to the front desk of our office building and had the balls to ask the doorman for his last name. The doorman (whose name is Justin) sees me every day and we have a rapport, so he knew I wasn’t a stranger off the street. I actually said: “I’m sure you don’t give out people’s last names but you know me (smile, wink). I was wondering if you could give me Curtis’ last name?” As he started to spell it out for me, Curtis walked in. Justin was saying: “So he goes by Curtis but that’s actually his last name. His name is Stephen. Stephen Curtis.” I then asked if Stephen was spelled with a ‘v’ or a ‘ph,’ before realizing Curtis was there, listening to the whole thing. At that point, I flat out did a 180-degree turn and speed-walked out of the building, more mortified than I have ever been. It was horrifying. Within a span of 12 hours I had flagged him down and been caught asking for his biographical details. I’ve never felt like a bigger stalker or someone with less chill about a crush. It also doesn’t end there. When I walked back inside after grabbing a water and killing a few minutes to avoid Curtis, Justin told me: “After you walked out I told Curtis you’d been asking for his last name.” Just in case there had been any confusion on what Curtis had heard. I laughed out loud, covered my face in shame, and rhetorically asked Justin: “….whyyyyyyyyy?” He laughed, I think genuinely feeling bad for my level of embarrassment and also probably enjoying this innocent building “romance” (a.k.a., stalking). And where this story ends is: I literally never saw Curtis’ face again. It’s been six months. I’m fairly certain he moved out of the building shortly after namegate. Cringe.

Leslie: It’s really hard to pin-point just one embarrassing moment because they literally happen All. The. Time. I’ve forgotten lines on stage twice, done an epic belly-flop from a high dive in front of a crush, fell Geoffrey-style into a store window and cracked it just last year, and decided that my voice was good enough to solo at a high school talent show (it wasn’t). But my worst moment happened in eighth grade. During morning assemblies at my middle school, eighth-graders sat on the floor at the front of the gym, with the entire rest of the middle school in rows behind them and teachers at the back of the room. One morning, I was late to assembly but had to use the restroom, so I went really quickly and was the last one to walk down the aisle to take my seat on the floor with my classmates. When I sat down, I immediately realized the ground felt cold. The reason it felt cold was because my school-issued Lands’ End skirt was tucked completely into my underwear. Not only that, but about two days before, my best friend and I had decided to try out wearing thongs—which my entire school became aware of during my walk to the front of the gym.

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