Jeff O'Brien's Facebook post about high school embarrassment brought back a lot of memories for me, so I figured I'd talk about the most embarrassing thing that happened to me in those halcyon days of dogshit on shit-bread with a bit of diarrhea sauce for flavor.
I'm not going to talk about the worst thing that happened to me back then. Somehow, the worst thing is not nearly as bad as the most embarrassing thing. But . . . here we go.
We had a swimming pool at my high school. My parents met at that same high school, and they both told me--independently--that the common practice was for the boys to swim naked. That would have killed me, since I had an awful gut back then (which I lost for college, and then gained back for all my years after). In my day, though, they required boys to wear what we all called Black Beauties, not because they looked like the classic pencils from Berol, or they reminded us of the old black stallion, but because they were little more than banana hammocks colored black. They were not flattering for those of us who were more than ten pounds overweight, and I was about forty overweight back then.
My first day out, they only had one pair of Black Beauties that fit me, and the drawstring was broken. I figured it wouldn't be too bad, since my girth would probably hold them up. Donning a postage stamp-sized bit of black cloth to cover my privates, I went out to do the one lap swim to decide which swimming class I belonged to. There were three levels: beginner, intermediate and advanced.
We all took our turns, and most people wound up in the intermediate class. Then, it was my turn. I didn't jump in like the others did. Cautiously, I sat down and then slid into the water. Then, I pushed off the wall and swam for the middle of the Olympic-sized pool.
I'm an all right swimmer. I'm not great, but I can stay afloat. However, because of my broken drawstring, my Black Beauties shot down to my ankles as I swam my first stroke. Embarrassment filled me instantly, and I paused long enough to pull my BB's up and continue to swim. Except . . . well, they kept trying to slide down. I had to swim one-armed while holding my BB's up with my free hand, even though I knew everyone had already seen me naked and were laughing. Have you ever seen a guy's junk hanging down from behind with ass cheeks spread apart? Especially if the guy in question is super-hairy? It's not very flattering. That's what they'd seen as I drew my feet up to my groin in an attempt to pull my BB's up.
What class did I end up in? Well, there was a fourth level that no one talked about, and it existed to teach those with handicaps and Down Syndrome to swim. That's the class I wound up in. Hell, even the swim teacher laughed at me. No shit. She didn't even apologize to me later, not that I expected it. Back then, I figured I deserved to be ridiculed.
I think this incident, in addition to something else in my past (which I will someday talk about) led me to some of my adult behavior. When I was in college, I was nearly a nudist, and it wasn't because I felt natural in that state. It was because I knew showing my dick off to friends would either get a laugh or it would get a horrified reaction. Both were true, but in retrospect, I know that it was a mental self-defense mechanism to combat this one incident from my high school years. I guess I viewed it as my way to strike back at the society that made me feel ashamed of my nudity when I was a kid.
Even if that's so, I still look back on that scene with embarrassment eating at me.
As an aside, there is an interesting story to come of this. The gym teacher who laughed at me was stuck teaching my class, so she had to teach us how to float on our backs, which is something I already knew how to do. We had to do this for a half an hour, and as I was doing so, I noticed the beginner teacher--a guy--wander over to my teacher. He very clearly started hitting on her, and she didn't want his attention. I know it's a stereotype, but in this case, it was true. She liked women. I smiled, watching him fruitlessly hit on this woman, and then he caught me smirking at his failed attempts. He sneered at me, and then he ticked his head back a few times. The message: stop fucking looking at me, asshole. But it was also advice: you need to tilt your head back to properly float. I looked away, mostly because my legs really were dropping in the water, but even through the heavy auditory experience of having one's ears below the surface of a pool, I could still hear him getting shot down. Good. He was a slimy bastard, the kind of guy who believed that every woman felt weak in the knees at the very thought of being in his presence. It was a pleasure to catch him in that one moment when he realized he'd been living a lie. I don't know if this is true, but I heard--A RUMOR ONLY--that he got caught trying to fuck one of his students. It makes sense to me.