Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Faux pas

1. French for “false step”
2. A violation of social etiquette, a blunder.
3. What I did last year on Black Friday.
3. What my mother got this summer when her foot was reconstructed by a certain Dr. Faux (I swear, it’s true).
4. What I did today, i.e. made such a social blunder/false step that my foot is still firmly wedged in my mouth.

I’ll explain. I was out walking with Nora this afternoon when I ran into one of my neighbors, a woman whose 16-year old daughter is in my Sunday School class. My neighbor mentioned her daughter and how she has been dividing her time between her best friend and her new boyfriend. “Aha,” I said (ignoring the shut up stupid! voice in my head), “Has she delivered her friend the ice cream* that she owes her this week because of that boyfriend?”

Total silence.

From the look on this woman’s face, it was obvious that even though her daughter had casually mentioned the ice cream news to me, she had pointedly NOT told her mother anything about the ice cream news or the loss of her “Virgin Lips” that it signified. Ouch. I tried to back away from my remark, but the damage had been done. Man, I am such a turkey. This is not just a violation of good manners, it’s probably an ethical transgression as well. I mean shouldn’t the Sunday School Teacher/Student privilege be as strong as the Psychiatrist/Patient one? Can she sue me for a violation of privacy?

I’m wondering what kind of conversation is happening tonight in their home…

*Explanation: where I come from when you kiss a boy for the first time, you have to give your friends ice cream. Is this just a Utah thing? A Mormon thing? A teen girls who get silly about boys and romance thing?


Pale Bear said...

When I was reading it, I instantly knew exactly what you were talking about. I was telling Scott about it and he interrupted me and said, "Wait a minute. What am I missing here?" When I was at Ricks College, I had two friends who were very much into kissing guys and providing ice cream. I'd never heard of it before then. They were both LDS, and they were both from Las Vegas. So I think it is a girl thing but it isn't a Utah thing. Don't know yet about the Mormon thing.

mindyluwho said...


I've never heard of the ice cream thing, I'll have to ask my teenagers...but I don't want to give them any ideas!

bubandpie said...

The ice cream ritual sounds so lovely and innocent - but I probably would have hated it when I was a teenager, since I had to wait until I was 19 before I was in a position to treat anyone.

Kelly said...

Never heard of the ice cream gift -- which is a good thing for my friends weight, I'm thinking.

But as someone else who has worked with teenagers for years, I'll cringe with you about the story. OUCH!

Maybe some ice cream will help repair the damage? Or is there a chance the mom has no idea what you're talking about and will let it slide from her memory?

Jen said...

I think anytime your kid has a boyfriend/girlfriend you pretty much assume they have kissed or will soon...maybe this mother is a little naive?

We did the ice cream thing in college, and I never told my mother about any of the boys I kissed, then or in HS.

An Ordinary Mom said...

Oops :) !! I echo Jen's sentiments, though.

I never heard about this ice cream thing until I went to college at the school you teach at.

Kate said...

Whoops. I hate those incidents... but with a little luck, she'll be from somewhere like New York, where we never heard of such a thing.

Sending *~*~ignorance~*~* vibes her way... though if it turns out to have repercussions, I do love the idea of buying the makings for sundaes for the family. Just because it's cute.

Luisa Perkins said...

I have to say: is the mother in a serious state of denial? She's thinking her 16-year-old ISN'T going to kiss her boyfriend?

I know I don't live where you live, but I'm shocked that her mother was surprised.

But yes: awkward. I hate it when that happens. I'm sure your student will forgive you, though. It was only a matter of time, right?

My dermatologist's name is Dr. Shackne. No lie.

My Ice Cream Diary said...

I spent my last two years of high school in Rexburg, Id (Ricks college land) but I'd never heard of the ice cream thing. But then again I was considered QUITE experienced in the ways of the world because I had held hands with more than one boy and had french kissed (Funny becuase in NY I was considered a prude for not having sex).

I hope your foot can come out of your mouth soon.

marinamo said...

Hmmm...I come from where you come from and even though we were teens together I have never heard of the ice cream thing.

If I were the mother, I would make sure I used the information in such a way to ensure I got some ice cream out of the deal, too!

Ann Kroeker said...

Man, I am so behind on what the trendy terms and rituals are. I guess now, to get up to speed and be informed, I ought to google teen girls' stuff. Or get on Facebook and pay attention to what they're reporting and how they're phrasing it.

Never heard of the ice cream ritual, and I'm not at all Mormon. As for geographical explanations, I live in the Midwest, if that helps you narrow things down.

I'm an expert at sticking my foot in my mouth, so I feel your pain and awkward feelings. Why, just last week, I shoved my foot straight in there when talking with a sweet and hopefully forgiving friend. I can't even tell the story, I'm so embarrassed.

I have no advice; only commiseration.

Geo said...


Well, they probably will have an interesting chat at home, but I bet you a buck they won't have it over banana splits.

Perhaps you should go and get yourself one though, for the sake of consolation.

Sheela said...

never heard of the ice cream thing before - but I know how your student feels: many a days back in school, i have innocently shared tidbits with my class-teacher/counselor forgetting the fact that they meet my mom in the staff room way more often than they meet with me - well, to clarify: my mom was a teacher in the school i went to - in fact, i think she put me in that school as she was teaching there already... oh whatever. you get the picture.

but, i do feel your pain - of late, I've opened up my Sent mail folder in the middle of the night to see if I sent the gossip along by mistake to the person being gossip-ed!

Quelle Horreur!

Jennifer B. said...

So unfortunate!

(Also, I am LDS in California--never heard of the ice cream tradition before now.)