Open mouth, insert foot.

23 May

As someone who often sticks my foot in my mouth, I revel in the moments when I catch other people doing the same thing.

Imagine then, about a week ago, when Alan – looking at my thigh – said, “Do you always have these?” and traced his finger along my veins, which sit close to the surface and show through easily.

I raised an eyebrow. “Only about as long as I’ve had blood flowing through me.”

I knew he meant no harm and was just curious. It’s an odd bit of nature that puts women’s veins closer to the surface than men’s. I shrugged it off, until he said, “What are they called?”

I knew what he was driving at, but I felt obligated to bait him. “Veins?”

“But isn’t there a special word for veins like these?” he asked.

In fact, the veins he was questioning were totally normal. Close to the surface, perhaps, but nothing that had otherwise caught my attention. “Are you thinking of varicose veins?” I asked him.

“Yes!” (He was clearly excited to have found the word for what he thought he was seeing.)

“These are NOT varicose veins,” I told him emphatically, and I could tell he was disappointed. To make it up to him, I swiveled my leg and showed him a few oddities on my calf. “But these most definitely ARE.”

He looked satisfied, tracing my veins gently with his finger as I showed him the difference between a vein that was just close to the surface and one that was truly a varicose vein. He seemed fascinated, looking at his own legs and seeing that there was no neat comparison to draw.

As we wrapped the topics, I felt obligated to morph the lesson from anatomy to psychology. “The thing is, varicose veins are in the same category as cellulite, cankles, stretch marks, acne and weight gain. They’re somewhat unique to women and we really don’t like to have them pointed out.”

Alan turned red. “I just thought it was cool,” he tried to recover.

In fairness, Alan is one of the politest guys I know. He doles out compliments, opens car doors and does his best to put people at ease. He’s also one of the smartest. So you have to let me enjoy it when I’m able to teach him something AND embarrass him in the same fell swoop. It’s a rare occurrence.

Besides, as a man who will be told that his graying head of hair makes him look “distinguished,” we all know who will have the last laugh. My goal is to remind him of this incident so that laughter is impossible… because, well, YOU try laughing with a foot in your mouth:

2 Responses to “Open mouth, insert foot.”

  1. popdialectic May 24, 2010 at 10:37 am #

    That’s an actual picture of the incident. It’s impressive, the blind spots of which men are (or I am) capable. Sorry, dear girl.

  2. Alicia May 27, 2010 at 11:02 am #

    did you tell him how Auntie Fran calls them veryclose veins?

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