Now We’re Brother Significant Others!

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.

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Tanner in cat form

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.

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Another cartoon reference. From “Chowder.” If you are also familiar with this, we definitely did just become best friends and you need to come forward.

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?

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I think we both gave the guy this kid’s awesome “WTF?!” look.

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.

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So unfortunate that the second “vomit” is, for some reason, misspelled. It would have prevented this spelling & grammar perfectionist from adding this, but you have no idea how hard it is to find photos that don’t induce projectile vomit when searching “projectile vomit” on Google images.

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.)

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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.

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Man, I need this shirt.

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.)

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Exactly. We all know how that turns out. (Unless you never saw Popeye, in which case, that’s more evidence I’m getting old.)

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.

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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.

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I also hope they don’t mind me putting them on my blog…

P.S. This is how I wrote the majority of this post.

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She loves to “help” me blog.

Has anyone else ever experienced this horribly awkward encounter?

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Well, that was awkward

You know what I’m talking about. At least … I hope you do. Those ridiculously is-this-really-happening-or-am-I-on-some-terrible-game-show moments. They happen to me more than the average human.

I had never heard of the awkward turtle hand signal until a few years ago. So it was kind of awkward when someone did it and I was the only one who didn't catch on to what he was getting at. I don't know if I'm out of the loop or if it's common to be ignorant of the awkward turtle, but if you aren't familiar either, you can Google it.

There’s the “please don’t see me” — The little jolt of panic you get when you’re walking through your local grocery store minus a shower, any hint of makeup, and still wearing your pajamas, when you see you’re on track for a head-on collision with the one person you didn’t want to see. It could be your ex. It could be your arch-frenemy. It could be that acquaintance that thinks you’re best friends, but hearing them open their mouth makes you want to jump off a building. Regardless, you didn’t want to run into them — Especially when you’re not looking your finest.

Like the now infamous Katy Perry Muppet-like no makeup Twitpic.

You duck in between a display of guacamole and a magazine rack, but escape attempts are futile. They’ve spied you and you’re stuck now. Plus, you’ve got to make up some bogus excuse about how you were out of guacamole and couldn’t miss the latest issue of Ok! Magazine, and that’s why you were careening in between the displays, not because you’d rather visit a razorblade and lemon juice factory than talk to them. (Karma gets you double if they talk to you all the way to the checkout line and you’re stuck buying the guac and Ok!)

I'm guessing karma in guacamole form looks like the Grinch.

This happens to me every time I visit my hometown. You’ve got to get dolled up if you want to go to Wal-Mart (Williston, ND’s, only major store) because you know it’s going to be a high school reunion the second you step foot in there.

This would be the only thing that would make it worse: Cameras to document your meeting and immediately declare it to the world on Facebook.

You probably know about my debacles with texting. Have you ever accidentally texted the wrong person? And, of course, 9 times out of 10, it will go to the worst possible person? Whether you end up bragging about last night’s hookup to your mom or send a flirtatious text to your best friend’s little sister, it’s not going to end up well. In my case, I ended up sending a particularly wrathy four-messager about the irritating qualities of one of my friends to the subject of the text. Whom I was physically in the same place with at the time. And immediately called me out on it. Talk about mortification.

At least this one was a random wrong number. And, surprise, there's a whole site dedicated to these, too: wrongnumbertexts.com. That's where I found this one.

Have you ever bailed on someone in favor of better plans and then run into them while you’re out? That’s a fun one to explain. “Uh, hi! Fancy running into you here! Ummm. I just … ended up not doing the whole bathing homeless cats at the animal shelter thing annnnd … so-in-so here was walking along the street in the rain while I was on my way home, sooooo … we ended up here?”

Yeah. Painful. They know. Give it up. Admit defeat. Scamper away with head hanging and tail between legs.

Awwwww.

First-time meetings breed awkwardness. Whether you’re meeting a classmate, a new co-worker, your friend’s mutual friend, or your significant other’s parents, disaster hangs out here. You’re grasping for common ground in an effort to kick off the conversation and note a glimmer of recognition in your conversation partner’s eye when you mention coverage of the PGA that was on in place of your favorite soap opera. You go on spouting about how golf is the lamest sport ever invented. In fact, you say it shouldn’t even be considered a sport. You continue to rip it to shreds for the next few minutes before you notice your conversation partner squirming a little. They then mention that they’ve been a member of their local country club for years, where they teach golf lessons for a living. Fail.

But, hey, at least once the initial sting of the awkwardness goes away, you have a entertaining story to tell.

The epitome of awkward, courtesy of AwkwardFamilyPhotos.com. Definitely good for a laugh at the expense of others' awkwardness.