Embarrassment proves to not be selective


Mikaela Acton

[heading style=”1″]Discomforting moments are an inevitable part of school[/heading] Untitled-1Barely into the first month of school, sophomore Sarah Freyermuth wove her way through the crowded RBHS hallways, dodging, sidestepping and avoiding students as she hurried to her next class. With a bookbag full to the brim with binders and folders, not hitting anyone with the school supplies-filled parcel proved to be quite difficult for Freyermuth.
Unfortunately, the semi-smooth trek to class would not go as planned for Freyermuth because her overstuffed bag seemed to have other plans.
“It was the stereotypical movie scene where a girl’s bag strap breaks and her stuff flies all over the hallway except unlike in the movies, no cute boy came to help me pick it up,” Freyermuth said. “I just had to throw it all in my broken bag and run away really fast because I was so embarrassed and all these people were staring at me.”
The idea of an embarrassing moment is one most people are familiar with. Many have experienced the creeping heat of blood rushing to their face, the feeling of a million eyes on them at once, regrets flooding the brain and the overly intense urge to flee from the spot.
“During the situation I felt really embarrassed, and I could feel my entire face turning tomato red and I just wanted to get out of there as soon as possible,” Freyermuth said. “Looking back on it, I’m still pretty embarrassed, although it’s not nearly as embarrassing now as it was then.”
Though few make it out of high school unscathed, humiliation is just an unavoidable part of growing up. At the time the experience might seem unfair but many ‘victims,’ like Freyermuth, look back on the memories with affection.
“Researchers have found that people who display embarrassment at their social transgressions are more prone to be liked, forgiven, and trusted than those who do not,” Mary C. Lamia, Ph.D. from Psycologytoday.com.
Dee Crosby, Technical Theatre teacher at RBHS looks fondly on the lessons learned through embarrassment. During his sophomore year in high school Crosby, who thought himself to be a decent soccer player at the time, joined some friends at McDonalds after a varsity soccer game. While in line, he began to comment on one of the player’s lack of skill level. Unfortunately the person Crosby was talking about was in front of them spun around turned out to be none other than the said player.
“I was so embarrassed and humbled … he went on to be a professional soccer player,” Crosby said.
High school, being as physiologically booby-trapped as it is, with it’s ever changing idea of socially acceptable behavior, claims the prize as a prime place for embarrassing situations. In an environment where social order is everything, high school uses embarrassment to set the precedent.
”Embarrassment likely evolved to maintain social order,” Lamia said, “since being embarrassed, people communicate to others that they recognize and regret their misbehavior and will try to do better.”
The fact is the worst part of about embarrassing moments is the split second after it occurs and the realization of what you just did sets in, senior Cameron Grahl said.
“I remember thinking ‘Holy crap, what have I just done,’”Grahl said about a waterlogged incident in her junior year chemistry class.
“There was this huge tub of water where we would hold something underwater for a period of time. I’m holding this thing underwater,” Grahl said, “and I’m leaning on this tub and I start to zone out and end up putting all my weight on this tub, and just dump the whole thing on myself.”
Grahl said, looking back it was hilarious, but ending up having to wear wet clothes for the rest of the day and explain her drenched state multiple times for the continuum of the school day was “really unfun.”
Embarrassment is a part of high school, and getting through those seemingly devastating situations is an opportunity to learn from the experience, which in turn, will lead to avoiding future identical circumstances.