At a social function this weekend (read: raucous birthday party), I found myself in two awkward situations.
The first was when I decided to show my newly married friend, who is very excitable about engagements and betrothals, my spiffy glow-in-the-dark nail art. I did this by holding my hand up to her face, similar to how... say... a fiancee might brandish some new jewelry.
LA's face lit up. She inhaled a giant gulp of air and I could hear the squeal forming in the back of her throat, when I realised what she thought I had just tried to tell her*. At the same time, she realised that there was, in fact, no jewelry to brandish. The squeal petered out and her expression went from delighted to bemused, while my hand went from stationary to frantically flapping.
"No, no, no, no... it's not that! Oh god, no. Sorry. Look at the nails.... they glow. In the dark. Um. Not so exciting now, after all of that."
Moving swiftly on.
Later that same night, LA and I had the (dis)pleasure of meeting a Dodgy Old Man. Urrrgh, I get the grils just thinking about him now. Dodgy Old Man was introduced to me, shook my hand and stepped in closer for a few cheek-to-cheek kisses. Now, it may be the Dutch way to greet people with three cheek-kisses (right cheek, left cheek, and right again) - but that's for people that you know and have met before. for people you have just met, you shake hands. Klaar.
Anywho, there's more to this story. So, he gets a few cheek kisses in, when his girlfriend pipes up with, "that's how we met... we went from cheek kisses to french kissing in one action!"
But there's more. They demonstrated this 'action', in case we were having any difficulty trying not to picture it.
LA and I tried to carry on as politely as we could. We got the topic back on to safer ground and he mentioned his daughter. I asked how old she was.
Dodgy Old Man: "She's thirty four."
Dodgy Old Man's GF: "Same age as me!"
Dodgy Old Man: "Except she's five months older."
I had nothing. He's 61, she's 34. I had just seen them snogging for public benefit and now learnt that he might as well be shagging his own daughter. Lost for words, I felt there was nothing to do - except blow the party blower I happened to be holding.
And on that note I walked away. I'm really not sure what the etiquette books would recommend for that situation. What do you think?
* Note: this is not unlike the email I recently sent to Little Big Sis, which - for lack of a better subject - was titled 'Week 11'. Little Big Sis is apparently in a very fertile crowd at the moment and so knows lots of pregnant women - all of whom give her weekly updates, "week 12 through to 36... ".
Little Big Sis initially thought my email was a pregnancy announcement. Sorry to disappoint everyone. I am not engaged and I am not pregnant. Just thought I'd clear that up.