Awkward moments. I used to dread them. Now I embrace them. It’s a lot like that old Norwegian saying; There’s no such thing as cold weather just poor wardrobe choices and a bad attitude. So, with that in mind here are six really awkward scenarios and my suggestion on how to deal with them. Some are universal. Some are applicable only in Israel. Here goes:

1) Guests are coming over in an hour and you and the wife/husband/lover/significant other/blowup life size sex doll of Tzipi Livni have a major, nuclear argument. You’re not talking to each other. Each of you is planning on revenge in your own separate way. She will give you the silent treatment. No sex for a gazillion years. Revenge is best served cold for a woman. You are already planning on smoking that cigarette/joint even though you promised her you’ve quit. Or drink more. Lots more. Maybe start gambling.

How do you go from a cold war stand off to pulling off a great dinner party? Overcompensation and shit loads of wine/beer/Quaaludes. Or not. Sometimes guests make great arbiters in these awkward situations. Otherwise call and tell the guests that your having a hafsakat hashmal, a power outage, and ask to reschedule.

2) You’re invited to the wedding/bar mitzvah/brit of a co-worker’s son or daughter . Granted, you’re on cordial terms with the co-worker but you have never once heard about his or her son/daughter. Matter of fact, you had no idea that he even had a son or daughter, let alone that he/she is getting married/having a bar mitzvah. Now you’re expected to drop a nice sized present in the gift box at some shitty reception hall in Yavne. In this country it’s a check (250 NIS and up) It’s like getting a car ticket or a fine. For jaywalking. Or Littering. Totally useless. You have absolutely no intention of ever going to the joyous event, and as a result you are about to have a very strained relationship with said co-worker because you bet your ass he knows exactly who gave money and who didn’t. He’s keeping a list.

Solution: Quit your job. Or lower your head in shame every time you see that co-worker. Or smile and ask him how the wedding was and let him know that there was an Ebola virus scare in your apartment complex and you were quarantined. The cat died tragically but your wife and kid are safe. Otherwise you would have attended for sure.

3) You’ve gotten fat and as a result a number of things happen. First off some of your old friends and acquaintance who haven’t seen you in a while don’t recognize you. You have to constantly reintroduce yourself and remind them of the person you used to look like. Secondly, your brother in law, who lost a kilo, will unload all of his old “fat clothes” on you. You graciously accept and vow never to wear any of his hideous looking clothing. Until the day arrives when you can’t fit into any of your cool shit and you, out of desperation wear your brother in law’s Ed Hardy shirt to go downstairs to the grocery store. Ironically, he happens to be in the neighborhood and sees you. Awkward! He then nods and tells you how good the shirt looks on you.

Solution: Wear a name tag at all times with a picture of you pre-obesity. Second problem, sell all brother in law’s clothes on eBay. Or burn them. Immediately. Resist the urge to wear at all costs.

4) Your sister in law, her husband, their kids and your mother in law stop by unexpectedly after a trip to Eilat. You are, oddly enough, wearing the Diesel jeans that are too big on him. But that’s not the awkward part. They bought a remote controlled race car for their five year old son. It cost them a fortune but since they bought it in Eilat it was VAT free. Your son grabs it and smashes it on the floor. He laughs as you try and put the plastic pieces back together. You make a joke that you were a mechanic in China when you were younger. Your mother in law shakes her head and says: “He loved that toy”.

Solution: Send your son to a three week shoe making/toy workshop course in a Taiwanese sweatshop.

5) Your good friend who you care about deeply is ridiculously (and quite virulently) racist and bigoted towards Arabs/African illegals. He’ll come over and cook dinner all the while rambling on about how the Eritrean and Sudanese brought the polio with them from Africa. Or how they’re ruining this country. Or how the Palestinians in Gaza should be bombed to smithereens. Daily. Or he’ll regale you with stories of his days as a paratrooper commander in the West Bank rounding up suspects at random and beating the shit out of them with the butt of his M-16. Or keeping them imprisoned and blindfolded over night at a checkpoint. Nothing is more uncomfortable for you, the liberal and the peace loving humanist (who has had African refugees over for dinner and who has Palestinian friends) than to hear such awful things.

Solution: Remind the aforementioned racist/bigot that both his parents were born in Egypt which makes him both an Arab and an African Refugee rolled into one bald package.

6) Perhaps one of the most awkward moments is attending a funeral in this country. For a complete stranger. In the middle of the day. Wearing flip flops. It happens. A friend’s grandmother died. She was very, very old God bless her. I never knew her. That didn’t stop my friend, her grandson, from sending a cab to my place to pick me up to take me to the funeral. I’m surprised he didn’t just ask the cab driver to do it. After all he knew the deceased as well as I did. They needed a Minyan (a quorum of ten Jewish male adults). But I didn’t own a suit. All my shirts weren’t ironed. Who cares? The cab will be there in five minutes. Wait for him downstairs.

Solution: Get to know old people. Go to nursing homes. Talk to care takers from the Philippines. Do all the research you can because you never know whose funeral you might be attending today.

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