Social Question

keobooks's avatar

Have you ever had a conversation just suddenly go from normal to extremely awkward in one sentence?

Asked by keobooks (14296points) February 6th, 2015

I was sitting around with a friend of mine talking. Her sister just had a baby and she was talking about being at the hospital for the event. She said, “And then you know, there’s that period of time where everyone is sitting around, waiting for the results of the paternity test…”

I kind of spluttered and said “Uhhh… wait.. what?” She thought I misheard her so she repeated herself. I was a bit surprised she said this so casually. In my family, this would be a shameful embarrassing thing to talk about. Up until that moment I had not known a single person in my (real life not on Jerry Springer show) life who had taken a paternity test.

It turns out, in her family, just about everyone takes one after the baby is born. She said her husband acted all funny about it too when she insisted on it. She said “You never know! I don’t wan’t it all up in my face a few years from now when he doesn’t look like you!”

This is only the most resent awkward moment I’ve had with this woman. She once asked me what do I do at Christmas time for my relatives in prison. She was genuinely surprised that I didn’t have any relatives there and assumed everyone had at least one relative there.

She was the first person in her family to graduate high school—AND go to college, AND graduate from college. She’s really worked hard to get where she is. She’s considered the wealthiest, smartest and most successful person in her family.

I don’t want to be a snob, but sometimes talking to her is just really awkward when she works her family life into the picture. Has anyone else had situations like this?

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6 Answers

marinelife's avatar

Nope. That is a new one on me. I have had conversations turn weird. Like when I told my girlfriend that her brother was gay.

keobooks's avatar

I just thought of when I made for my own awkwardness. I can’t go into specifics or else I’ll take this thread to NSFW. But I used to be in a theater troupe with a bunch of San Francisco drag queens. Also in the troupe there were a lot of strippers and other sex workers (no prostitutes, but phone sex and stuff like that) Without even realizing it, I picked up a lot of sex industry lingo and slang and it was talked about so frequently, that it was kind of normalized in my mind.

So anyway—when I moved away from the West Coast to the Bible Belt, I had a few awkward adjustment moments. Mostly things like a Bible loving old lady would innocently say a phrase that just happened to be a euphemism for something really hardcore raunchy. I’d start snickering and looking around. NOBODY knew what I was laughing at.

Another time a woman was going out on a date with a friend of mine. She asked me what he was like. I reeled off a speculative list of gay personal ad lingo to describe what I guessed he was most likely like in bed. She just looked at me confused, but when she slowly figured out on her own, she looked absolutely aghast. I couldn’t help it. That’s what guys I hung out with wanted to know about their prospective dates. It didn’t even occur to me that was totally inappropriate and tacky.

That was 20 years ago. I mostly have all that out of my system. But I STILL snicker at phrases that nobody else blinks an eye at.

fluthernutter's avatar

Haha…I’m that crazy lady friend of yours. My family is cr-razy.
(Except I don’t assume other families are like mine.)

CWOTUS's avatar

Those must be some interesting conversations, for sure.

I don’t have anything comparable, except for a story I heard once from someone whom I had no reason to disbelieve. He told me of taking a Dutch girl to the beach once. She was visiting in the States, had never been here before, and was not particularly close to this guy, but as a friendly gesture he took her to the beach one day with a crowd of others. She had a two-piece swimsuit on, since she knew at least that she could not be topless on an American beach (at least at this place and time, now forgotten to me). So they all enjoyed the day and had a good time. When it was time to pack up and go home, she did what lots of Dutch girls do almost without even thinking of it: she took off her wet swimsuit, casually toweled off and just as casually put her clothes back on… right there in broad daylight, with everyone all around, including strangers on the public beach.

I gather that time stood still for my friend just then, and activity all around them came to a complete halt until she was finished, but I imagine that your conversations must have been something like that, in a verbal but not physical way.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

I have been, but not for the situation you describe. These days I would not bat an eye about what she said. Sex, loyalty, and relationships are not what they use to be, solid and strong, these days it is like soggy milk toast.

stanleybmanly's avatar

The part of the tale that I find interesting is that the incident reflects an entirely different mindset on social norms and interactions. I pretty much took the view that the Springer show and its ilk amounted to the heartless exploitation of ghettoland Black folks, PWT, and Hispanics confined to the very large bottom of the economic ladder. But your conversation is startling in its implications that the paternity test lynch pin of these programs has permeated this woman’s societal strata to the extent that there is no longer any shame associated with its necessity. It’s like circumcision or vaccinations, just a routine aspect of childbirth! The husband apparently understood the inescapable conclusions associated with the “need”.

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