Is it possible for your face and brain to have different reactions?
People often say about me
“Aw, look at him. He’s blushing.”
Which is pretty rude because I’m right there in the room, chap. But is also true.
My face is a prude of the worst order. Even the most innocuous remark will cause the blood to rush to my cheeks and my face light up like an emergency lamp.
Pretty much anything embarrasses my face and instantly it flares hot and red like a match being struck.
I was once trapped in a lift with some very drunk women who were on a hen do. It was a Moulin Rouge theme, so lots of bossom was being offered for view.
That wasn’t what embarrassed me though. I am old enough and gentlemanly enough to survive close proximity to breasts without gawping at them. (Well…within reason. It’s impossible not to skim read the main facts of a situation. But too much scholarly interest is crude to the point of rudeness.)
What embarrassed me was the fact that these girls had thick Northern Irish accents, which I was learning that I found utterly incomprehensible.
What is the most important thing to do when in sudden, involuntary close quarters with a group of women dressed mainly in complicated underwear? Why, be as charming as possible, of course.
Instead, I felt my face getting redder and hotter, like a brick in an oven. My embarrassment. Not the flesh, but the increasing number of times I’d had to say
“I’m terribly sorry, please could you repeat that?”
And the decreasing number of repetitions before it came across as terribly rude. And that’s the last thing you want to be in front of half-dressed members of the opposite sex.
They, of course, assumed my discomfort was boob-related. But no, my face was a flame with shame because I was worrying about offending people because I couldn’t understand their regional accent. I hadn’t been quick enough to feign deafness, either.
Meanwhile, my brain was squatting down, as close to my ears as it could and muttering
“As soon as I can make out even one damn word, these ladies will be charmed to the point of marriage.”
Then the lift door opened and they were gone. I wiped the steam off my glasses and made a mental note never to visit Belfast.
Anyway, that’s one working example of my face’s terrible social awkwardness.
My brain however knows no shame. If I was an Ealing comedy, my face would be Ian Carmichael. And my brain would be Terry Thomas, because it’s a rotter; an utter scoundrel.
Brain won’t spare anyone’s blushes. His conversation verges on the lascivious. What he won’t tell you would kill a whole convent of nuns.
Perhaps that’s the right way round though?
Better by half to hamper the beastly brain’s connivance with a flustered face than have a saintly brain trapped behind the leer of a demented pervert?
Written in response to the prompt Blush. (Also, written on the train as a first draft so lacking the usual second-draft-before-I-gave-up polish.)