At a very lovely party I went to last weekend, which ironically happened to be a baby naming, don’t worry, you’ll get the irony later, I had one of my more humiliating moments. Let’s say I’ve had more my share of humiliating moments (See Humiliation on the Roller Rink, a Freudian Slip to make Freud Blush and the time I was an amateur stalker). I was talking to some ladies I’d been introduced to moments prior and because people’s names tend to leave my head as quickly as they enter, I found myself fumbling for their given monikers.
I have a few tricks when I forget names. My go-to tactic is to quickly get distracted into conversation, ask a question of a peripheral person or run off to one of my children to wipe off a stain, a booger, a smirk… This allows the two people I’m with to take the reigns and awkwardly introduce themselves. I try to stay close enough to eavesdrop and once I hear the name I’d forgotten I turn back and say something like “I’m sorry, Laura this is Sheryl” or “Sorry about that, have you two met?” Maybe it’s totally transparent, but you can’t prove I didn’t need to know where the person directly behind me got her shoes, can you?
My other strategy is to stand there like an idiot until the two people I’m standing with introduce themselves and then I get to dorkily say something like, “I’m sorry, that was rude of me not to introduce you.” or “I thought you two knew each other.” The “I thought you knew each other” can only be used in few situations. You can’t expect your parents to know your yoga instructor, or your hubby to know your child’s pediatrician. (Was that below the belt? Well, I’m an equal opportunity offender.)
So, I was introducing my daughter, who’s name I do remember, to these women and I introduced one of the gals as Claire. She gave me the look I’ve seen too many times, which said, “My name is not even close to that, I mean we’re not even talking same first letter.”
“You’re name’s not Claire is it?” I surmised.
“No, it’s Ann.”
“Oh, I’m so sorry. I don’t know where I got Claire.” (uncomfortable pause) “Claire’s a horrible name. I mean you certainly don’t look like a Claire, you’re much prettier.”
“Thank you,” she said as if she wholeheartedly agreed, while the ladies laughed at my quick recovery.
The truth is, I really have no negative feelings towards Claire’s. The name is cute and Frenchie. Plus, I loved My So Called Life and her cow hugger, I enjoy that I can get 157 items for $9.99 at Claire’s namesake fashion accessories stores. I’ll even hunker down with an eclair every now and again. I can only blame this superflous, mean-spirited name bashing on the immortal words of one dissident teenager, John Bender who said: “Claire’s a fat girls name… You’re not fat at present… One day you’re gonna get married, you’re gonna squeeze out a few puppies and then, uh uhh uhh…”
When you’re doing off the cuff, face saving comedy or “gorilla comedy,” as I like to call it, you don’t have a ton of time to plan your set. You just make a quick association and go with it.
I went on to sully the good name that is “Claire” for quite some time. Saying something like:
“Ryan, Ann’s a great name for a girl but Claire sucks.”
“Claire’s a slutty girl who will definitely be knocked up in high school and won’t even get a reality show. ”
“Claire could not be a more awful name. When I hear it I want to scratch my eyes out.”
Look, I don’t remember the exact Claire slurs, but they were extreme. As the ladies laughed and we jovially got past my gaffe, I turned to the baby of honor’s godmother, who I had not yet introduced to my daughter.
Knowing her name was Diane or Dana or something with a D, I said, “I hope your name’s not Claire. Snort snort hee hee.”
Nope, but my daughter’s is.
Well, now I guess we know where I got it from.
The laughing quickly stopped.
The look on her face was not quite that of someone whose name I forgot, it was someone whose favorite name in the whole world, the one she chose to name her only daughter, I just raked through the mud.
“I’m so sorry, I was just trying to make light of the situation. (Pause to get no reaction whatsoever) I actually like the name Claire.”
Good save Jenny, the term “actually” made you sound as if it would be odd to like the name Claire, like saying, “Most people probably don’t, but I ACTUALLY do.”
“Well, I do,” she said with a well deserved sneer.
“I should shut up now.” I followed. And I actually did, which is rare. She then walked away.
The mother of the baby of honor, thank goodness I had the good sense to confirm his name before my arrival, caught the tail end of our conversation.
“What just happened?” She inquired.
“Well, I don’t think your best friend and I just bonded,” I said, and went on to tell her the tale… leaving out the part about the Jud Nelson association bit.
She said, “Don’t worry, I’m sure she didn’t take it personally. I’ll tell her you’re funny and that you write a blog.”
Wow, if only that really held some weight.
Jenny did what? Jenny stood you up for lunch?
Don’t take it personally, she writes a blog.
Jenny called your mother fat and kicked her in the shin?
Oh, that Jenny, you know she writes a blog.
Jenny robbed a convenience store?
Those bloggers. Yep, she writes a blog and she’s funny, officer.
Well, assuming that her explanation of why I can get away with being offensive and rude didn’t work, I have one less fan in the universe. Luckily, I write a blog, so people get to subscribe and unsubscribe to me daily.
By the Way: No Claire’s were harmed in the making of this post, which is more than I can say for Claire’s mother. Sorry.