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Red in the Face

By Sarah Larson | Comment Diversions | March 10, 2010 | Comments ()


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When I was in junior high, our school only did three types of fundraisers. In the fall, we sold magazine subscriptions, because I am old and this was back when words still happened on paper. In the winter, we sold ginormous candy bars the size of paving stones which cost $6 each and you could only get someone to buy them if you were cute, you had a really good "sad face" and they were a TOTAL SAP. In the spring, we sold those gourmet lollipops that came in flavors like cherry limeade and blue raspberry coconut, and they were pretty much exactly like Sonic on a stick.

So because of my junior high fundraisers, I was probably borderline diabetic for the five years that either my brother or myself attended that school, and I also had a subscription to basically every teen magazine in existence. This was back in the day when Milla Jovovich and Denise Richards were the two biggest teen models, and Love's Baby Soft had cornered the market on creepy ads, when American Apparel was a mere twinkle in the eye of a deranged Canadistani. I remember those magazines were always trying really hard to convince my 12-year-old self that I should be madly in love with Chad Allen, but even as a pre-teen I recognized gay when it was staring me in the face with a look of trapped desperation. Poor Chad Allen, right? I wonder if he's happier now?

Anyway, when they weren't trying to set me up for a romantic life of confusing disappointment or attempting to convince me that I should be wearing neon clothing made from cast-off parachutes, those teen magazines ran columns like, "Am I Normal?" where girls wrote in with questions about whether the color of their nipples made them a freak or if using a tampon could turn them into a whore and get them pregnant. Then there was the standard column about embarrassing moments, and usually that was a just a bunch of girls writing in letters about farting on dates or getting their period in white pants, unless it was the prom issue, and then it was all about having spotty skin and wanting to die.

Teen girls are so stupid.

I'm not exactly what one might describe as "normal" so I'm only passingly familiar with concepts like shame and embarrassment. I'm one of those people who will tell a story about the dumbest things I've ever done to someone I just met five minutes ago. Recently, however, one of my guy friends (we'll call him John to protect his identity) got really, really drunk and told me the story of his secret shame. When we were younger, he had a gigantic crush on the mother of one of our mutual friends, whom he happened to be dating, and once when he was in bed with his girlfriend, he called her by her mother's name. And she was... less than pleased, you might say. And she told her mother, who told his mother, who apparently tells this story to every girlfriend John ever introduces her to. John also told me that his sister once walked in on him jacking off to her undressed Jem and the Holograms dolls, so poor John is convinced that his whole family thinks he's some kind of pervert. And because I'm a bad friend and I was drunk, I laughed when he told me this story, and then he cried. Like, the blubbering snotty sobbing kind of crying. And then I felt like a total asshole.

So I promise not to laugh and be an asshole if you tell me about your most embarrassing moment.

Sarah Larson lives in Minnesota, where she is usually up to no good. She is still, to this day, a little bit ashamed of the fact that she stole a Hello Kitty pen from a Dayton's store when she was seven, and then felt so guilty about it afterwards that she cried and told her mother and begged to be taken back to the store so she could return the pen and cry some more to the manager, who she remembers was really uncomfortable about the whole thing. She is a hardcore crime lord, yo. She only updates her blog when bullied into it, but you can read the archive here if you're bored enough.


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