For whatever reason, I happened to come across three stories that brought up very socially awkward situations — in Britain, France, and Japan.
First, we have this gem on social awkwardness in the Japanese corporate workplace:
Mr. Sakamoto, a sales team leader at an IT systems company, got off to a rocky start when he was transferred to his current office. At the first meeting with his underlings, all in their 30s, the 43-year-old boss detected a tense atmosphere.
“I’m the only one in their 40s, eh? I guess I’m going to raise the average age of the team, ha ha.” Only two in the group of eight managed a chuckle. The remainder sat in stony silence…
If Sakamoto had an awkward experience on this first day of work, day two was even worse. The sales boss paid an introductory visit to a client’s office with a couple of young colleagues in tow. The summer heat wave was raging that day. After wrapping up the stiff formality of exchanging business cards, the client decided to relax the mood by stating: “It sure is hot! I just wanna drink beer or something from the afternoon on.”
The two junior guys remained straight-faced when one of them flatly responded: “Not for me. I’m wearing sweat-absorbing underpants.”
Wait! There’s more!
We’ve then got the humorous needling of the new leader of Britain’s Labour Party, who gave a victory speak that left many in the audience uncomfortable as they applauded their new leader.
[The new Labour leader] began by saying something completely unbelievable: “Never in my wildest imagination did I believe I would one day lead this party.”
He must have a pretty tame imagination. MPs with far weaker talents have dreamed of leading their parties.
He proceeded to thank his brother: “David, I love you so much as a brother and I have such extraordinary respect for the campaign you ran.”
Once again, it was difficult not to wonder how credible this was. If the younger brother had such love for the older one, why did he stand against him and deny him victory?
And if you think that’s good cheeky British journalism, you’ll really enjoy this one on the civil war taking place at a French nudist colony between old fashioned nudists and free sex swingers, which is enough to make a nudist blush:
About 30 traditional nudists (fully dressed) applauded her words from the public gallery. One said: “We bought a flat here 34 years ago because we wanted to live naked, to live with the sun. We wanted a natural life. Now, we are surrounded by wild animals.”