Do you know your nickname? Not the fake name you give to random dudes at bars, or the one you used that week you decided to become a DJ. I'm talking about the name your old classmates called you behind your back. The name you got that time you let out an oops poops in algebra and tried (unsuccessfully) to discretely clean it up with pages ripped from your textbook. The name that reminds everyone that, deep down, no matter how grownup and successful you've become, you were once a fucking loser worthy of torment and ridicule.
If you are a human being who has spent any time whatsoever in close quarters with a group of your peers, you've done at least one thing so horrifyingly embarrassing that people are still talking about it. The awkward combination of puberty, crushing insecurity, and monotone beige classrooms means, for most people, school is nothing but a petri dish of humiliation and shame—each new embarrassment building upon the ones before it until the sweet release of graduation sets us free.
Below are seven stories from people who experienced thoroughly mortifying moments at some point during school.
My mom tried to raise me to be very open with her about sex and weird body stuff. This often backfired, because she'd always tell me about things way before I was old enough to understand them.
For example, she couldn't wait until I was actually going through puberty to give me the period talk. She told me in very graphic detail what was in store for me down there, and gave a quick run through about how to use a tampon. I didn't start my period until I was 13, so by that time the conversation was a little blurry. I got my period one morning before school, and, vaguely recalling my mother's instructions from years before, I grabbed a tampon and stuck it up there—applicator and all—and went on my merry way.
Of course, this was uncomfortable AF, but I figured I was a woman now, and this was what women had to deal with. To be honest, I was a little proud of how casually I'd transitioned into adulthood without making it a big deal.
My pride didn't last long. The plastic applicator was not very absorbent, and I got a stain on my ass during my first class. A friend pointed this out to me very quietly when we got into the hallway, and being both a frantic 13-year-old who'd just gotten her first period and the kind of person who would come up with a fantastical lie to avoid being embarrassed, I made up a story trying to explain it away.
I'm rambling on with this ridiculous story involving borrowed pants and a bunch of other obviously false intricate details when I felt the plastic applicator fall out, and start sliding down my leg. My pants were pretty baggy, and as I started turning away to make a beeline for the bathroom, the bloody tampon/applicator combo dropped out of the flare and onto the floor beside my foot. My friend looked at the tampon, then looked at me, and then just kind of shuffled away, mortified. I kicked it against the wall and ran to the bathroom and cried and cried until someone heard me and got a teacher, who brought me to the nurse's office, who sent me home. No idea what became of that hallway tampon. My friend never mentioned the episode again.
FARTS AND FITNESS
I was a fat little kid. I was 260 pounds my freshman year of high school. That year, it was required of us to take the physical fitness test in our gym class. You know, push-ups, sit-ups, running, and all that jazz.
During the sit-up portion, someone would sit on your feet and count when your elbows touched your knees or thighs. I was nervous. And when I get nervous, I get gassy. I knew I was going to erupt, but this kid was already sitting on my legs.
The whistle blew and off we went! I held in my gas with all my might as I went up for the sit-ups. One .... Two .... Three ... and then it began. With each sit-up, I pushed out a little bit of a fart. Four ... prrt. Five ... prrt. Six ... prrt. Seven PRRT.
Each fart was a bit louder than the last. I got more and more embarrassed as we went on, and it became clear that everyone could hear. Worst of all, every fart made me lose a little more control. They were getting louder and longer.
This poor kid on my legs was dying. Clearly grossed out, he let me get to ten before he screamed and let go. Everyone laughed. Scared fartless, I ran out of the gym and hid for the rest of the day.
It was my senior year high school orchestra awards banquet. I was excited about getting my letter, but dreading the superlatives. It was rumored that there was going to be a new award this year: "most gullible."
I just knew I would win it, and sure enough, I did. I was halfway to the stage when the student orchestra president said "Haha, just kidding! Go ahead and sit back down." So I turned around and walked back to my seat.
Everyone lost it. It was a real award, and I really did win it. I buried my face in my hands for a few seconds, then got back up, walked to the front, accepted my plaque, and sat down again. My face was brighter than a tomato.
That was eleven years ago, and my friends still like to remind me of it.
JAMES DEEN AND THE HORRIFIC PEEN
I was kind of a black sheep in college. I was a bit aloof and was enrolled at a very conservative Catholic school, even though I wasn't very religious. All my classmates knew that and judged me for it. In the last semester of my senior year, I volunteered to keep all the necessary documents for a group project on my computer. One afternoon, my entire group was crowded around my computer, and the rest of the class was working quietly when I opened the screen up. A VERY loud and VERY intense James Deen (link NSFW) sex scene immediately resumed playing, full screen, on my web browser.
It was hardcore anal. My group-mates were horrified. These were very religious people, and I stammered trying to offer an explanation.
The next time I was in that class, I got "peened" in front of a classmate. For the uninitiated: "Peening" was a game some of my friends and I used to play. We'd find pictures of really terrifying dicks on the internet and send them to one another, the grosser the dick the better. The goal of peening was to send the photo when the peen in question would likely be seen by anyone the recipient was with, so he or she would think you were dating some gross guy with a herpes-infested penis or whatever. Great game. I recommend it.
In the same class that thought I was a porn addict, I was quietly working when my phone, which was sitting face up on the desk, pinged with a text message. At the time, I had a Blackberry Curve, which would display picture texts on the main screen even when it was locked. It had GREAT picture quality, I'll say that for it.
I didn't look down at my phone right away, but I heard an audible gasp from the girl next to me. I looked over at her, and she's staring at my phone, pure terror on her face. To be fair, it truly was a terrifying peen.
I apologized. She moved away from me immediately and never sat by me again. In fact, the seat next to me remained unoccupied for the rest of the semester. Everyone in that class was truly sickened by me.
SOUTH OF THE BORDER BOMB
My whole school career was pretty much one big embarrassing moment, but one memory in particular stands out. It was during a school trip to Mexico. I was a major dork, and I got picked on a lot, so getting to spend time with the popular crowd in another country was a dream come true. Naïvely, I figured we'd all come home as new best friends, and my days of being a loser would be over.
In Mexico, the food was delicious, but it wreaked havoc on my guts. One morning, as everyone was gathering together, I let out this_massive_fart. It totally snuck up on me, and I could do nothing to prevent it. I'm talking the loudest, longest fart_ever_. All I could do was stand there horrified while everyone looked at me. For the rest of the trip, they called me Farty Pooter, a reference to Harry Potter, of whom I was a big fan. Of course, when we got back to school, that nickname had made its way around. I lived with it for a long, long time.
I've always been a nervous wreck, and I have a history of vomiting when I get worked up. In seventh grade, I chopped all my hair off the day before school started and dyed it with streaks of pink and purple. I arrived to my first class on the first day 30 minutes late, and I was so stressed out that I stood up, ran to the back of the classroom, and barfed everywhere.
I turned around and said, "I threw up."
Everyone was looking at me, and my teacher just said, "Yeah. I can see that."
My buddy John and I were the weird guys in fourth grade, the class clowns who weren't embarrassed by anything. There was this other kid in gym class who would always try to follow us around and become a member of our two-man crew, and one day we decided to let him in on some of our antics.
We all three went to the bathroom and started peeing next to one another, which naturally became a pissing contest. We were alone, so the whole bathroom was fair game. I flicked a little pee on the mirror above the sink, and then John started peeing on the sink itself. I hit the bathroom stalls with all I had. Suffice to say, it got out of hand, and pretty soon there wasn't a surface in that bathroom that wasn't covered in our piss.
The other kid couldn't hang, and he stood there watching us piss over the entire bathroom. Later, of course, he snitched. So John and I had to go to the janitor and help him clean the bathroom, which turned out to be fine because the janitor was a cool dude. He showed us his badass underground office, and we got to skip class for an entire hour and clean, so we figured we were in the clear.
When we got back to class, we quickly realized we weren't. Our teacher made us stand up in front of the class and told us to tell everyone what we'd done. We stared at the ground and said, almost in unison, "We peed on the bathroom walls." Everyone laughed. Even the cute girls. I've never been so ashamed.