I've been around for awhile, and I've had my share of embarrassing moments. But one moment has always stood out in my mind.
I was fourteen at the time, and quite the dashing young man. I had good friends and a budding social life.
Our circle surrounded this one buddy of mine who had three beautiful cousins, all from different families, and all in our same age group. That made him a very popular guy. Besides that he had two lovely sisters, but those two, needless to say, were off limits to his friends.
As the years went by, I would end up going steady with all three cousins. But at the time we were all just flirting and developing into young adults.
This one evening we were out at a party somewhere, and I was having a great time. I remember it was one of those days when everything you do seems to go your way; everything you say sounds clever and charming; and all the girls are looking and smiling at you. I was feeling like a total stud!
I danced with one of the girls and swept her off her feet. Then the next one; then the next one. Everything was flowing smoothly.
At the end of the evening, my friend's mother was picking us up. We crowded into her car and drove off in the rain.
The girls were all spending the night at my buddy's house (lucky devil!), so I was the first to get dropped off.
Now, we lived in an apartment building. It was a small, six story structure, with parking underneath. The steps to the lobby were broken down into five sections: two steps, a flat six by six square area, then two steps to the right, another flat six by six square area, and finally four steps to the left that lead to the main entrance. The entire stairway was walled in by a short brick wall. When it rained, the flat areas flooded.
That was the case on this occasion.
Full of spunk and arrogantly pleased with the air of conquest about me, I was feeling nothing short of invincible. I'm sure by then everybody was getting pretty sick of me, but at the time I was foolish enough to think otherwise. It was then that we arrived at my stop.
Every guy knows there's a "cool" code of behavior for just about every situation. This particular situation was no different. After gallantly kissing all the girls goodnight, I stepped out of the vehicle, seemingly oblivious to the rain. See, this rainfall called for a quick dash to safety, but not so fast that I might appear hurried. That wouldn't be cool. So I got out of the car, smiled at them and softly closed the door. My buddy's mother was waiting for me to reach the door, to ensure that I was safely home.
Knowing that all eyes were fixed upon me, I graciously spun toward the steps and, in the way men will run when they wish to look cool and at ease (the guys know what I'm talking about), I picked up my shoulders and lifted my elbows and engaged in a little half trot to the steps. I cleared the first set of steps in a single leap and, as I was turning right to face the following set and give my adoring fans one final wave, the foot I landed on kept slipping on the surface, straight into what was now a sizable puddle and out from under me. Time stopped right then, as I realized that I was about to fall on my ass with all those pretty girls watching.
Slam!!! I hit the ground with a powerful thud and proceeded to slide into the wall. As I tried to bounce back up, I failed to get traction and, after skating in place for a moment, fell flat on my face.
Though I refused to turn to see them, I could hear their laughter through the rain. Or perhaps I just imagined it, but that makes little difference. When I finally got up, I summoned up a phony little smile and a vague little wave to make like I was okay, and I carried my sore ass up the rest of the stairs. Slowly.
I don't remember if there were any comments on that matter afterwards. I know I never brought it up again. But when people ask about my most embarrassing moments, this is the first thing that comes to mind.