A Real Pain in the Ass

In the summer of 2011 my boyfriend and I were living in a little apartment in Brooklyn, when he got offered a job in San Francisco, starting in a few weeks. So we packed up our worldly possessions, our cats, and flew across the country (side note: NEVER FLY WITH CATS). 

angry cat

I will destroy you.

My parents graciously took us all in, and were so excited to be invaded that they decided to take everyone out for a shmancy dinner at the Cool New Restaurant in town. Sweet! Free food!

Now, you should realize that my parents had, ya know, met the boyfriend before, but they were suddenly confronted with living with him. And he was on his best behavior, which had to be exhausting. So I’m sure I was the most relaxed person in the group as we slid into the reclaimed wood booth, ready to order our gourmet California-Italian hybrid cuisine. Which was when I discovered that you should never, ever try to slide your butt over reclaimed wood. Especially if you’re wearing a skirt.

spintery wood

See where I’m going with this?

So, there was a splinter in my butt cheek. A really big, painful one. Stabbing me. In the butt.

I’m sure there are people out there who would have handled the situation gracefully. Who would have just smiled and dealt with it, so as to avoid embarrassment on all sides. Tragically, I was born without a sense of propriety. Or dignity. Or a general sense of how normal people behave in awkward situations. So instead I yelled out, “OW, MY BUTT!” at the top of my lungs, and proceeded to explain to everyone – including the mortified hostess – that there was a giant splinter poking me in the ass.

Luckily, I get my lack of social graces directly from my mom, who immediately realized that this was a job for her, so she whisked me off to the bathroom to get that sucker out of there.

Note: for the next half an hour, my boyfriend was stuck sitting and making small talk with my dad and uncle, while all three of them tried to avoid discussing the fact that I had a splinter in my butt.

The problem with going to Cool New Restaurants is that the coolness extends everywhere. Including the bathrooms. The interesting art installations and well-curated mood lighting would probably have made peeing one of the most relaxing experiences of my life, but when you’re bent over, hiking your skirt up, and trying to explain to your mom where the splinter in your ass cheek is… it’s just not as romantic, is what I’m saying.

“Wow, it’s really in there!”


“No, I mean, I don’t know how I’m going to get this out.”

“You don’t have, like, a first aid kit in your purse or something?” (apparently in my head my mom is prepared for everything)

“Hold on a second, I’m sure the restaurant has something…”

So she left me in the mood-lit bathroom, complete with throbbing cheek, while she went to inform the closest waiter that her daughter had a butt-splinter, and did they possibly have a first aid kit on hand?

No, they didn’t, but for some reason they did have tweezers. Why? I’ll never know. But at least now we were armed and dangerous, ready to attack this thing!

Only, the mood lighting wasn’t exactly helping. At this point we were both deep into MacGyver mode, and decided that the obvious choice was to try to arrange all the tiny candles sprinkled around the bathroom into some sort of butt-spotlight. When that didn’t work, the only thing left for it was for me to hold a tea light dangerously close to my ass, while my mom poked at me with tweezers.

votive candle

It was every bit as romantic as you’re imagining.

Which is when the eleven year old boy burst in.

Picture this: two women are huddled together in a bathroom. One of them is bent over, hiking her skirt up above her waist, and holding a candle to her butt. The other one is crouched down, with her face mere inches away, closely inspecting that butt.

I have no idea what that kid thought was going on, but I’m pretty sure he wished my mom had remembered to lock the door. He went running out as fast as he could, probably mortified and deeply confused, and my mom went after him, desperate to explain that actually that was her daughter, who had a splinter, and the light was bad, so we needed a candle, but it was okay, and why are you still running? Come back! There’s a perfectly reasonable explanation to all of this!

Eventually, we had to give up. That splinter was not. Coming. Out. In fact, I think we just managed to push it in deeper. So we went back to the table, probably saving all three of them from the world’s most awkward conversation, and decided to have dinner. I just sat very gingerly on one cheek for the rest of the night.

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