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February 05, 2008


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I grew up in Northern Ireland during the 70s and 80s. One of the earliest memories I have is standing in the middle of a group of kids with them shouting the rhyme Stinky Malinky Long legs, big banana feet at me... my mum had seen fit to dress me from head to foot in a yellow tee-shirt, yellow dungarees, yellow shoes and probably even yellow socks. The Banana thing stuck for a long long time. In fact most of the bullying I remember from when I was little was mostly based on the 'interesting' outfits she dressed me in. Cheers Mum.

Scottish Girl

Do you guys know what Y fronts are? I don't know if an American thing or a British thing? anyway, for those British readers...Birchsprite, you'll know what I'm talking about!

My granny bought me a lovely 3 pack of Y fronts from the market and gave them to me for Christmas. Y Fronts are for boys!!!!

My mum wasn't great at keeping on top of the washing and when I had run out of knickers (for girls!) she made me wear the Y fronts.

This would have been bad enough anyway (just the thought of wearing them underneath your school uniform would be enough to mentally scar) but the horrific thing about this day was I forgot my gym kit. When you forget your gym kit in a Scottish school you have to take the class in your underwear (or at least you did in the 80's)!!!

Imagine having to take an hours gym class dancing around in white boys underwear with a big red Y on the front...arghhhhh the mental torture!

Papa Bradstein

"Mothers can work a 30-years-gone umbilical cord like Roy Rogers working a lasso." That alone is worth the price of admission.

These journalists who are asking you to speak for a generation of dads, do they know you fed the Peanut dinner out of the dog food bowl?

Ian C.

We must be related somehow, MD. I rocked the orange corduroys and the girl's bike also back in the day. I think I've gotten over it. Some days, I'm not so sure!


Them to Me: My dad was out of town for work a lot and, as a result, most of my friends didn't know him. One day after school during my sophomore year a bunch of random (and cool/popular/older) students students were coming up to me saying "Your dad's here to pick you up". These were kids I assumed didn't know my name, let alone who my father was. I exit the building and my dad runs up to me yelling "My BABY" and tackled me in a bear hug on the front lawn.

Me to Them: My daughter is only 4-months. Anything I've done to embarrass her (most likely limited to froo-froo outfits/hair accessories) she won't remember and therefore doesn't count.Them to Me: My dad was out of town for work a lot and, as a result, most of my friends didn't know him. Once, after school during my sophomore year a bunch of random (and cool/popular/older) students were coming up to me saying "Your dad's here to pick you up". These were kids I assumed didn't know my name, let alone who my father was. I exited the building and my dad ran up to me yelling "My BABY" and tackled me in a bear hug on the front lawn.

Me to Them: My daughter is only four months old. I am convinced that when she’s older she’ll find her Grandmaster Flash onesie as cool as I do. If not, she won’t remember anyway.


I'm usually a lurker, but I'm chiming in for the Asian leprechaun. That is so hilarious! Sorry for the dude that endured that.


Dad was headed to the store and asked if I needed anything. I said, "Q-tips." He came home later and set a box of "Kotex" in front of me. "Here ya go," he said. "Umm ... Dad? I said, 'Q-TIPS," and motioned like I was sticking one in my ear. We both turned various shades of red.


i used to think bowl cuts were the pinnacle of fashion... just because all my asian friends had em. I remember thinking how come my barber didn't know how to make that perfectly nice step in the back...


We migrated to the US in 1980, and the only clothes we got was from charity and all 5 of us kids wore bowling shoes, that's right babe...bowling shoes and we thought they were the coolest thing, with the sizes emblazoned on the back of the shoes, not to mention plaid shirts/skirts, and the "demi garcon" haircuts for all 3 kids. Apparently, that was the hottest style back in Vietnam in the '70's!!

I don't remember much of what my Mom did to embarrass me but I'm sure Tyler will need therapy when I packed him "rice and nori" for lunch in his first grade, and his friend taunted and taunted him by saying that his lunch looks like "poop", so Tyler whacked him in the face. I wrote about that a while back. Not much diversity in the boonies where we live, that's for sure. But still, I think Leprechaun Stephen is still the best one though!

Happy New Year to you and your family MD!


i honestly dont think i have one...

how much of a freak am i? O.o

Jay McG

all the bike comments make me want to share my bike anecdote... my folks bought my first bike at an auction of bikes that had been abandoned for years under the bleachers or some nonsense. it was an ORANGE PEELER and cost 75 cents. it had no seat so my dad stopped off at Sears and picked up a banana seat. there was no need for training wheels since I didn't get a bike until a year or two after I should have. I was so excited to ride it that I took it out into the street as soon as the new seat was on... but before my dad had a chance to adjust the handlebars (they were WAY too high).

anyway, I had a blast riding around on the street just outside our house. then, on the way to come inside for lunch, the front tire hit the curb and - due to the height - the handlebars knocked my front teeth out. blood and tears, blood and tears. those were some good times.


Sorry to keep flogging the horse but that Leprechaun story? Hysterical. Hell, what comes AFTER hysterical?

I don't have any stories that can even begin to compete with all this hilarity, but I do agree that the line between "parental faux pas" and "sadistic intent" is, more often than not, too close to call. When I was about 15, I had to go to an open day thing at a university in the city. I lived in the suburbs about a 2 hour train trip from the inner city, and didn't know my way around. I was really intimidated at the idea of making may way there by myself, and navigating myself around a university campus with all the "older people". I therefore pleaded with my parents to come along. After quite some time spent telling me to quit bitching and get over it, my Dad finally agreed, grudgingly, to come along. What does he wear to accompany me there? A bright yellow polo shirt, bright purple polyester rugby style shorts, giant white woollen socks with sandals (I thought socks + sandal combos only existed in fairy tales?), topped off with a big black bum bag. 8 years on, and I'm still getting the full body creeps just thinking about it. I gotta hand it to him-that experience sure taught me a thing or 2 about the need to develop my personal independence. Well played, Dad. Well played.


When I was probably 10 or 12, my mom took me along with her to help my aunt get her studio ready for an art opening. This was in our home town, which was fairly small but not tiny. The studio was a few blocks down main street from where the stores were, and we parked around the corner, just off main street, about 20 feet down the side street and 20 feet along main street from the door. We had brought our very old vacuum cleaner. It was a big cylinder, like a giant thermos tipped on its side. It was so old that the original wheels had come off and my dad had replaced them with wooden rails along each side with wheels at each corner. Then it had a long hose coming out of one end. The whole thing was a hideous grey vinyl-ish material with metal. It was also quite heavy for its size.
When we got there, my mom asked me to carry the vacuum in, and I said I didn't want to. She asked why and I said that people would make fun of me. She laughed and said there was no one around and we would only be walking 20 feet on main street. She said I had to do it and I did, grumbling the whole time. As soon as we turned onto main street, a car full of teenagers drove by. They rolled down the windows and one of them leaned out and yelled "VACUUM CLEANERRRRRR!!!!!". Dismayed, I turned and said "see, mom!"


Being her first child to go to high school, my mom did not know that kids were not required to wear the "official" gym clothing that could be bought at the local sporting goods store. Royal blue polyester short shorts, and a nearly see-through white t-shirt with blue trim. She didn't know that you definitely don't write your child's name in the slot provided (Spitzer written HUGE across my chest) on the chest. To top it off, she bought me a pair of lemon yellow Nikes because they were on sale. To be a 12 year old freshman, nearly naked because your shorts are so short and your t-shirt shows your training bra perfectly, and have to meet a new kids, all of whom are wearing hip gym clothes -- this is a memory that I still have nightmares about. I didn't speak in gym class for the better part of that year.


I was in the third grade and was already a latchkey kid because my mom worked first shift as a police dispatcher. Well I had to call her one winter morning and tell her that I had missed the bus. I knew she was going to be pissed but to teach me a lesson she had a police cruiser pick me up, put me in the back of the car, and drop me off at the front doors of the school. It just so happened that my classroom faced that same way. As the officer got out of the car and opened the door I ducked my head down and ran into the school so fast you would have thought that I was actually escaping police custody. I was mortified but didn't miss that bus for the rest of the year!


Yeah, but would you really want to be the adult who spent his childhood conforming? Never mind, maybe we all want to be... Bossy used to go to school with cream cheese and olive sandwiches. Got Diet Coke?


My worst ...
When I turned 11 my parents got me a grey kitten for my birthday and we named her Pussywill (I wanted to name her Andy, FYI).
The next year, grade 7, I was attending public school for the first time and my parents helped me write my speech. It was about my cat.
It was in first person. Using my cat's nickname.
They let me get up in front of 1200 students and say "My name is Pussywillow, but everyone calls me Pussy."
18 years later people still make fun of me.
Their response "get your mind out of the gutter dear. A pussy is a cat, nothing else."
My cat died last year, and to her dying day my dad would yell for her at night, out the back door "PUSSY! It's time to come in."
I'm still traumatized.


You mean, like the time I peed in my pants because I didn't make it to the bathroom in time -- that was first grade.

I think that's pretty light. I came through with minimal embarrassing moments. My mom came up rough, so she wasn't about to let that happen to her baby! That comes with it's own set of issues, all of which are covered in my therapy.

I had the bike with the big seat for a long time, while all my friends had BMX's, Redline bikes (remember those?), snake belly tires, cobra hand grips, and NO kickstand! Yeah, I suffered through that for a while, but like you, we didn't have the cash for those extras.

Good to have you back MD, this was a good one!

brian j.

Freshman year in college. I lived near school so I thought I'd bring a bunch of my new friends home for a much-needed home-cooked meal.

Right before dinner, my mom sent me out to the store to pick up a few missing ingredients. When I returned, I was mortified to see my mom showing all my friends naked photos of me when I was younger. Mom was sort of a hippie/naturalist so all the photos of me until I was about 10, I was COMPLETELY NAKED!

For the rest of freshman year, my nickname was Free Willy.

Mama Nabi

Back in the 70's, Korean Elementary schools would ask kids to bring in stool samples now and then (school was responsible for annual physicals, lab tests, eye examse, vaccinations, etc..). Well, obviously, my dad wasn't around to help out with stuff like that. My mom taught English out of our house (used to be illegal back then, private tutoring) - she didn't tell me that she had about a dozen middle-school boys (on some of whom I had a big crush) coming in for a lesson that day but did tell me to deposit a whole 'stool sample' on a newspaper and just leave it in the bathroom so she may pinch a small sample, put it into a baggie when she could get to it.
I followed her instructions, left the 'complete sample' on a sheet of newspaper, happily went out to play. Imagine my horror when I realized, upon my return, that she held her class that day and each of her students (quite a few of them hunky, in my opinion back then) had most definitely used the bathroom at least once during the 3 hour long lesson. I prayed that she had gotten to my 'sample' before she started her class... oh, of course not. If she had, why would I be telling you this, right?
To this day, as my mom still keeps in touch with her students, I cannot look at any of them in the eye.
Gah... don't get me started on her fashion sense back in the 70's... or even 80's. Bowl cuts, tight perms... you name it, I sported it.

Ava Von Snarky

The most embarrasing moment was in seventh grade when I had thick glasses, along with braces and a bite-anator. So I had to talk through all this metal in my mouth. So dressed in my k-mart clothes and shoes, what does my mother decide would really put the icing on this already awkward cake? She cut my hair and permed it, giving me an afro. Afro's are cool on other people other than me. Afro's don't look good on 12 year old white girls with thick glasses and braces. She never did that shit to my sister.

The most embarassing thing I have done so far to my son is I accidently sent him into the girls bathroom to go pee. I didn't see the sign and he was in a hurry. Luckily he is only three so I don't think it will scar him to much. However, I make sure his hair looks good.


When I was about 11 years old and in the most awkward and socially inept period of my life, my mom thought it would be perfectly normal to go to my parent-teacher meeting dressed as a clown. Yes, that's right, dressed as a CLOWN. Big shoes, wacky outfit, huge red wig, full face paint. (She liked clowns and liked to go to charity events dressed as one. She claims she 'had to' go to the teacher meeting as a clown because of some event.) And if that wasn't mortifying enough, the school AV squad was covering the parent-teacher meetings for the televised announcements the next day. There I am, sitting in 7th grade math class watching the announcements when my MOM appears on the tv dressed as a CLOWN, waiving at the camera. Luckily one of my friends was nice enough to ask, loud enough for the whole class to hear: Isn't that your mom??

She also, on a totally different day, sat in the stands cheering for my brother through the entirety one of his high school tennis matches dressed as a clown.


My parents were also Korean immigrants to this country and every day, my mother packed lunch for me. While other kids were eating sandwiches, I always had kim bop, fried rice with Spam, or pork buns. Although the other kids thought it was a little weird, nobody really gave me a hard time about it.


One day I was invited to sit next to these girls who were part of the cool and popular group. I was beside myself with joy and envisioning a whole new social life opening up before my very eyes. As we all opened our lunch boxes, one of the girls saw mine and started screaming.

Turns out that, as a special treat, my mom had packed me a pig's foot!

BAM! I was a social outcast all over again. I still don't think I've gotten over that trauma.


I totally LOVE embarrassing the hell out of my kids. Their teenagers now so they're completely mortified by their parents. That's why I like messing with them so much. Last week, as a joke, I picked my daughter up from soccer practice wearing my pajamas and my hair in rollers. A few months ago, my son brought his girlfriend over to dinner and I spent the whole time telling stories about his fear of underpants.

I'm telling you, MD. Wait until the Peanut gets older. The opportunity to embarrass your kids makes parenthood all the more enjoyable.

Sean Endriga

As a teenager, (13 or so) I was a sullen thing. One day my mom and I were going to a concert, and it was below zero outside. I refused to button my coat, and got out of the car. My mom burst into song in front of hundreds of people waiting outside. "Button up your overcoat! You'll freeze your cute little butt! Button up your overcoat my baaaaaaby boy!"

spain dad

As for a new role for dads, I work from home and also spend a lot of time with my daughter. Sometimes I wonder if the largest potential I have to really mess with her life is because I try too hard to be like a mom.

Dads are spending more time with their kids, and that's good, but I think those of us who are dads still need to discover what it will look like for us to care for our kids like a dad, not like a mom.

A practical example is I can only do one thing at a time. My wife, on the other hand, prefers to do many things at once, and my mom always did many things at once as well. I still haven't figured out how to be a good parent without multitasking. I assume lots of dads feel the same way.


Definitely nothing I do is embarassing my baby since he's only 11 months old now. But in a few years, he might find this video to be embarassing. (Don't worry I'll never mention it to him that his auntie thought he looked like a monkey in the video)


One hellish day in 7th grade gym class some of my classmates informed me that I needed to get a bra because they could see my nipples through my shirt. I was mortified.

That night I begged my mom to take me to the mall to get my first bra. She eventually relented, and all was going relatively well until we got to the checkout. The cashier asked my mother if she was a member of the bra and panty savings club. My mother replied, triumphantly and at the top of her voice, "YES, I AM A MEMBER OF THE BRA AND PANTY CLUB," and proceeded to dump out the contents of her purse on the counter, looking for her membership card. As luck would have it, her plastic baggie of feminine hygiene products burst, sending tampons flying in all directions.

Literally everyone in the ladies section of the store was staring at us.


1. I'm Asian and I have been taught to call my elders "Aunty" or "Uncle". And yes, when I first came to the States I met a friend's mom and went "Hi Aunty!!!" thinking it was very well-mannered of me to do so. It was only when I saw the look on her face that I knew I said the wrong thing.

2. My dad loves marking his possessions with his name. He will write, in big bold letters, his name and phone number on everything that he owns. I guess he reasons that in case his stuff gets stolen, it can be returned to him. When I first started out in preschool, my dad diligently carved the wood out of all my color pencils so that he could write my name on it. He proceeded to use a marker to write my name on my water bottle, my lunch box, my books and my bag (thankfully not on my shoes). When I was leaving for the States, I had to write, in big bold letters, my name on my suitcases, just to stop him from nagging!

3. Last but not least, I want to grouse about how my parents are the typical Asian kind who think that by complaining about your children, you make them humble in the eyes of everyone. I hate how my parents used to "bitch" about me in front of their friends. I still feel sore about this point, and I hope I will never do that to my own kid in the future.


when I was in the 6th grade, my mom made me get a perm. Imagine this - a metal-gear crooked-teeth, big glasses, geeky chinese kid with a fro as big as China. and let's not forget the long pulled up socks "to keep my calves warm. "


Embarrassing moment:
My mom pulling up in our avocado green, wood paneled station wagon at school with my grandmother and grandfather in the front seat because we couldn't leave grandpa home alone, he had Alzheimer's. On the way home my two friends being harrassed by my grandfather. "You whore, bitch, no nothing slut...you think you can just ride for free. You piece of shit..." He went on and on and said something sexual, too. My grandmother and mom trying to calm him down. I sat there mortified and telling my friends..."he's not well" My mom saying to my friends when we arrived at their house, "Okay, we'll see you tomorrow..." as they quickly got out of the car...yep...embarrassing!!


Just feel I ought to add this...

The Asian Leprechaun's mom was sweet and well-meaning.

Misdirected, but sweet nevertheless.


When I was five, we went to the beach. At some point, I told my mother that I needed to go to the bathroom, and she said to just go in the ocean WITHOUT ANY FURTHER INSTRUCTION. So, I walked until the water was about ankle-deep, and I proceeded to pull down my bathing suit and squat.


My mother used to make all my clothes. I can't even think about it now. High school was a traumatic experience for me.


My mother went to university to be an opera singer and definitely has the pipes to back that up. Unfortunately, it didn't pan out and now she's an environmental geologist. Things change, I suppose, or some things do.

HOWEVER, she never lost her desire or ability to sing at high decibel and after her divorce from my father, she used to take me grocery shopping because I was too young to stay at home alone. Let's just say that I used to take long, solitary walks to the produce section to pick up that piece of fruit I knew I'd forgotten - just to get away from my mother who'd decided that the frozen foods aisle was the perfect place to practice an aria from Figaro. Or Aida.

The worst part was that sometimes my timing would be off and I wouldn't meet up with her as she was approaching the checkout, so as I was meandering towards the frozen foods section from produce, I'd hear, "AlieMalie, please come to register 3, your mother is waiting for you." And then I'd just pray to be invisible because you know that EVERYONE knows who you are when you're 7 and EVERYONE would be staring at you as you sulked to register 3.

Maggie's Mommy

After being forced to go on a cross country trip with my father and step mother, I only had the Grand Canyon to look forward to as an opportunity to - maybe - meet people my age. Of course, the chance of my making new friends was ruined the moment my (opera loving) parents decided to sing an acapella version of God Bless America for our tour group in honor of the amazing scenery.

My daughter is 6 months old and was "supposed" to be a boy because of our ultra sound. I'm too cheap to buy new clothes so she spends the majority of her time in blue onesies. And when people tell me how cute my son is? I respond why thank you. She'll have plenty more to complain about later, I'm sure.


You don't know embarrassment until you've gone through high school at a place where BOTH your parents are teachers!


I just discovered your site after seeing it in Parents magazine and StrollerDerby. Don't know how I never came across it before. I didn't even know there was such a thing as "daddy blogs." Great stuff. I'm looking forward to reading more!

a is for awesome

my most embarrassing moment was a culmination of countless confrontations in public women's restrooms by old farts accusing my sister and me of being little boys. we were usually dressed identically in clothes my mom made with boy haircuts. when she finally let me dress myself, just once, I ended up in the public pool locker room with my underwear outside my swimsuit, spitting at some old fart who was looking at me sideways while I told her I was NOT a boy (bitch). after that I lost all control of my life and showed up to school in the fifth grade dressed by mom in a powder blue satin silk jumpsuit with pastel racing stripes, an ogilve home perm that made my A-fro look very much like a cleopatra wig on a tranny after a night of heavy lip-syncing, tinted bifocals with turquoise tortoise shell frames and a lunch box full of alfalfa sprouts and gouda. when the teacher announced that it was time for class pictures and put me in the front row, I knew I had reached my rock bottom. my sister pulls out that photo every holiday to laugh her ass off now. maybe it was worth it just to make one person fill with evil glee.

Busy Mom

I will never look at St. Patrick's Day the same way again.

As a parent of a teen, I try to plan my embarrassing moments carefully.

My rendition of Rhianna's "Umbrella" in public while departing the cheerleader banquet in the pouring rain was most unappreciated.

That is followed closely by my making good on the threat to do the "Wildcat Dance" from High School Musical on the soccer field if she didn't do whatever it was that I needed her to do at that time.

As for my own parents, they were pretty good at not doing things like that.

I guess my kids lost that lottery.


Oh my gosh, where to begin... My dad, who is hard-core evangelical, seeing fit to give the plan of salvation every time he said grace when we had friends over, "just in case they needed to hear it." My mom occasionally dressing my sisters and me in MATCHING HOMEMADE COULOTTES, IN PULIC no less, until I was about ten. My parents forcing my sisters and I to wear giant T-shirts over our bathing suits whenever we swam with boys (even at the age of, say, SEVEN) so as not to incite lust, and everyone giving weird looks and asking, "Why are you WEARING that?" What was I to say? "So you don't look at my as-yet invisible breasts?"


I know I'm late to the game and leprechaun boy already won (deservedly) but I'll post for posterity and amusement. I was a wee awkward in high school and was thrilled at ANY attention I got from anyone outside (or inside for that matter) my very small group of geeky friends. Being "rolled" - when a group of kids threw rolls of toilet paper up into your trees like streamers where it stayed until the next rain - was considered cool. We lived on 2 heavily wooded acres and my very temperamental stepfather would be furious when this would happen (rare).

Now, for perspective, he'd grown up rough in the mountains, somehow escaped abject poverty and went on to get his PhD and become a remarkably distinguished college professor. Occasionally his redneck side would come out but no one except us at home ever saw it. Also he's about 15 years my mom's senior. Our 2 wooded acres was actually in a fairly nice rural 'hood where our neighbors were doctors, dentists, a few lawyers and such. It was a very small town where everyone knew EVERYONE.

One night the boys next door (kids of the town's only ENT doc-who sometimes helped my mom out through work) were in the process of rolling us when my stepfather woke up and heard them. He grabbed his shotgun (that always stays by his bed) and ran downstairs and out the front door to chase them away, hollering and screaming and cursing. Only in his haste he did not bother to get dressed and his saggy old ass chased my neighbors up our very long driveway in some old tighty-whiteys with holes in them. And a shotgun. And nothing else.


As I am told:

I was very young, and acting unusually shy. My mother asked what was wrong. I looked up with wide eyes and said "Mommy, I saw your fur."

Fastforward until I reach age 18:

I find out my mother has told this story to all of our family friends and it is a long running joke at their supper clubs.


My mother replied, triumphantly and at the top of her voice, "YES, I AM A MEMBER OF THE BRA AND PANTY CLUB."

I laughed for long time at that one. I've never heard of such a club.

Big Pumpkin

Oops, I'm a little late...

Nevertheless, my six year old brother (I was ten then) told an office full of mom's male colleagues that his sister had a 'LINE' down there.

I swear I felt my vagina grow a dick right then.


My parents were not that bad (in retrospect, of course). However after my parents divorced and I moved in with my Dad (at the obnoxious age of 15), if he dared say something wrong or didn't give me what I wanted I would make sure to make him feel uncomfortable by saying things like, "Can you see my bra through this shirt?" or "Dad! Take me to the store...I need tampons!"

Ah, the good ol days.

Vanessa Van Petten

My dad used to be seriously afraid of herpes (there was an outbreak at a local high school in my area) and would leave pamphlets on my desk for me that were highlighted for important points, eg "Don't Have Sex" and would highlight articles for me about rape, herpes, drug use with teens and leave them on my breakfast plate in the morning...this was awful enough, but it was really bad when I had sleepovers and he would make two copies for both of us.

lisa k

When I was around 17, I remember sitting at the dinner table with my parents and noticing a HICKEY on my mom's neck. Ewwwww!!!


Sometimes when we'd be driving about the town on errands or soemthing, my father, a detention officer, would point to a homeless man and say, "That's what crystal meth looks like, Kristy." And then he'd sing along to the radio.

Actually, I think it's kind of charming.


you know when you're reading something funny at work, your whole body shakes with no sound coming out and you're just trying to stiffle a laughter and you're staring at the monitor trying to pretend that you're working but actually you're laughing hard inside? that's me right now.

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