If you don’t understand the title’s reference (which you probably don’t, because it’s from a rather obscure cartoon that was on Cartoon Network a few years ago called “Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends”), here’s a clip that probably isn’t as funny out of context of the entire episode. (I know what you’re thinking – Yes, I love cartoons. What of it? And if you, by chance, did get that reference, please let me know, because we should probably be best friends.)
Ok, so now that you’re caught up there, allow me to explain:
I have a pretty cool brother. He’s nearly 18 (ironically enough, his birthday is December 21) and a senior in high school. But according to my dad, he looks older than me. I beg to differ, but I will admit that the kid is a large mammal.
Naturally, since I’m home for a relatively short while, we tend to go places together once in a while. Occasionally alone. Which is where the conundrum begins.
Do you have any idea how awkward it is for people to assume the person you’re out with is not, in fact, your brother, but rather, your boyfriend? It makes us both want to vomit.
The first time this happened was when I was a senior in high school, making Tanner (my brother) about 13. We were minding our own business, going through the checkout line at Wal-Mart, the Mecca of Williston, when the cashier, out of nowhere, asked, “Are you guys dating?” Why would you ever ask a random customer that?
After cleaning all the vomit off the floor, I managed to explain, “Uh, no. He’s my little brother.” Don’t mind the fact that he’s 6 feet tall and 170 pounds. He’s 13. Except I didn’t say that part. We both just silently grappled with the idea that people who don’t know better could think that we were dating, and then verbally accosted the cashier to ourselves once we made it to the parking lot.
This has probably happened without me noticing multiple times since then, but it came to my attention again when my brother and I were shopping at the Verizon store. The characteristically clingy, albeit helpful, store clerk gave us information about different phone cases and made up prices and discounts on all of them, since there were no prices listed on anything. (Sketch, I know, but that’s what you get in Williston, ND.)
Anyway, the clerk guy gave me the non-verbal impression that he thought we were dating the whole time. Enough to make me feel really awkward and kind of want to bolt. I was so tempted to drop into the conversation that we were siblings, but I wasn’t clever enough to think of anything other than, “Hey, BROTHER, come look at this,” so I felt like that would make things even weirder.
It didn’t help that the guy was making up deals and discounts left and right. And, of course, never one to pass up a great deal, I succumbed and bought a screen protector, while Tanner bought a whole bunch of crap. The guy gave us a weird look while Tanner and I haggled over splitting the price half and half, paying for exactly what each of us bought, or having Tanner “write me a check.” (Yeah, ’cause that’s really convenient, Tanner.)
Neither of us said anything about the weirdness that was The Verizon Affair, which it came to be known, until we got in the car and, as usual, vented about how awkward it was.
On the opposite side of the spectrum, my high school boyfriend and I were often confused for siblings, which was not so much awkward as it was offensive, for some reason.
Luckily, I will never have that problem in the family I’m marrying into. I kind of stick out like a big Norwegian sore thumb.
P.S. This is how I wrote the majority of this post.
Has anyone else ever experienced this horribly awkward encounter?