November 26, 2007

Would You Rather

Someone you admire, but have never met is giving a talk near where you live. You go to the venue and before the talk you have the opportunity to shake this person’s hand and exchange a few words. This person then graciously offers to send you a copy of a book you would be interested in and takes your card for your contact information.

He/She takes off a long coat and turns away because the talk is about to begin. Right then, you notice something embarrassing about his or her clothing. (For instance, if he is male, his fly is down) It’s a 90 minute talk, and everyone in the room will eventually notice.

Would You Rather

  • Awkwardly re-approach the person and tell them of the problem
  • Let the person speak and later realize that you were the last person who could have warned him/her about the situation (when they see your card).
Posted by James at November 26, 2007 10:00 AM
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Oh, I'm the queen of awkward. I would awkwardly re-approach and risk the person hating me in order to save the person the embarrassment.

Posted by: Maggie at November 26, 2007 10:17 AM

Tell them of the problem, of course. I have no qualms about doing this. I would want someone to tell me of the coffee stain on my ass/unzipped fly/lipstick on my teeth/toilet paper on my shoe/dress tucked into my nylons.

It would be mean not to let them know!

Posted by: Patti M. at November 26, 2007 10:26 AM

I'd speak up. I can't imagine that anyone would be offended by this.

I once bought a pair of fat pants and wore them to work with a very large size sticker on the leg all day long. (I didn't see it when the pants were folded up, and it was sort of to the side so I also didn't see it when I glanced down while wearing them.) Nobody said anything to me. I still don't know whether that means nobody noticed, or if they thought it was funny, or if they were too "nice" to say. It was really not a big deal, but it would have been nicer if someone had pointed it out.

Posted by: Julie at November 26, 2007 10:59 AM

Tell them. Absolutely.

Posted by: leslie at November 26, 2007 11:12 AM

Easy - tell him. Even though it is doubtful that the person will equate the embarassing situation with my business card and make the realization that I could have told him.

Posted by: mjfrombuffalo at November 26, 2007 1:04 PM

Exactly what MJ said. I can't imagine that I'd EVER look at someone's card and say, "Geez, he coulda TOLD me about my open zipper, and he DIDN'T. What a MOFO!" Ain't gonna happen. And there's nothing awkward about telling someone his/her/its outfit needs an adjustment.

Posted by: Barry Leiba at November 26, 2007 2:45 PM

I know people who definitely realize that something was wrong after the fact and think about the people who saw it and didn't say anything. Maybe they don't think "what a MOFO," they probably attribute it to being too embarrassed to say anything, but certainly once you realize what's wrong, you have a mental list of who knew about it!

Posted by: Maggie at November 26, 2007 2:50 PM

I would certainly remember.

Posted by: James at November 26, 2007 3:25 PM

I'm going with the masses on this one as well. I tell him and if he really wants to be mad at me for helping prevent further embarrassment, then I'll live with that.

Posted by: briwei at November 26, 2007 4:30 PM

I don't think anyone would be mad that you helped prevent further embarrassment. It's whether or not you feel comfortable in front of a bunch of people telling someone that their fly is down. Or whatever.

Posted by: James at November 26, 2007 4:40 PM

Ah! I get it. What I usually do in that situation is say "If someone here had something in their teeth, would they want me to tell them?" Then everyone within the group self-consciously checks and I don't have to single anyone out.

Posted by: briwei at November 26, 2007 5:05 PM

LOL, Bri! Count on you to inject some humor into the situation and lower the discomfort level. :-)

(Maggie, surreptitiously checking her teeth.)

Posted by: Maggie at November 26, 2007 5:22 PM

Well played, Bri. I'm filing that one for a future Miss Manners column.

Posted by: James at November 26, 2007 5:55 PM

Oh, I would SO have to tell them. I couldn't let someone I admired embarrass themselves if I could prevent it.

Posted by: Kitten Hearder at November 26, 2007 10:53 PM

I hope I would be able to tell them, because it's the right thing to do.

I want videotape of all our attempts, though, for a reality show special. I hear the networks are going to have open slots, so I'm pitching this next week in Burbank.

Posted by: James at November 26, 2007 11:12 PM

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