Posted in friends, humor, life

Now open: Membership in the Silly Sisters Club


Ever done something so stupid or so embarrassing that you will NEVER forget it? Worse, have you ever done it in front of others who you are sure will never forget it either?

In 2000, I was heavily involved in planning an annual conference for about 600 people. We spent almost a full year in the planning process and during that time I got quite close to the other three women on the planning committee. Two were county welfare agency directors, the third my boss. And, I joined the  Silly Sisters Club.

The Silly Sisters Club was born years earlier when a few women were sitting around drinking and eating and sharing stories and the stories quickly became about the really stupid, embarrassing things they had done or had happen to them.

One night in a hotel room, fatigued from hours of planning, the four of us sat on the floor eating our room service dinner and giggling, and my boss encouraged/forced me to share a recent embarrassing moment with the other two.

I was scheduled to attend a meeting of about 25 people who were stakeholders in a newly launched $2 million program for which I was the project coordinator. These people were important to the project, people from all walks of life that were the big money behind the project.

That morning I’d chosen a favorite pantsuit with an elastic waist (always my go-to for comfort) and long matching sweater top because it looked professional but was comfortable enough to wear while sitting around all day in a meeting. When I put it on, however, I discovered the elastic had not made a successful trip through the last dry-cleaning. I was running a little late and determined to wear that suit, so I found a big pin and pinned the elastic ends together.

The meeting was set at our offices. We were in a fairly small room, tables set in a u-shape so we could face each other and interact, and there was a nice coffee set up to the right of the tables.

Loony Tunes: The Booze Hangs High (1930)

About an hour into the all day event I got up to check the coffee supply. Facing the coffee urns, I had my back to the tables, with about two-thirds of the group able to see me easily, when the pin on my elastic popped open and my pants fell down!

It took me a few seconds to realize what had happened before I bent over, pulled them up, gathering the front tightly in my left hand, one of the coffee urns in my right and made a hasty retreat.

In the kitchen I found someone to refill the coffee urn while I sat down and tried to recover what little was left of my self-respect. At that point, I’d have gone home and crawled back into bed FOREVER quite happily, but was expected in that meeting for the rest of the day.

Silly Sister Club nominee.

I had pretty much convinced myself that it happened so quickly that no one had noticed when one of my staff who was also in the meeting, came out to see if I was OK. She wasn’t particularly fond of me (putting it nicely) and the feeling was mutual. She appeared sympathetic, but I think she took great pleasure in telling me how she’d seen it all as had several other people, including the very staid gentleman from the French Embassy who had been sitting next to me.

She also said she thought the state director of human services (also a man, of course) was very embarrassed as he had turned red and put his handkerchief to his face. She explained how several other people had shown dismay or giggled. About then I wanted to smack her. Sadly I didn’t, because she felt it necessary to comment next on my underwear. She remains on my shit list to this day because if it wasn’t bad enough to imagine what people saw and thought, she explicitly shared it with me, thus ensuring my total humiliation. I now had to face these people knowing that they’d seen it. So much for the happy state of denial.

Shortlisted for Sisterhood.

I thanked her for her concern and sent her back to the meeting. Made a note to kill her later. Regrouped, I went back to the meeting and took my place at the table. At lunch, our director (a great guy, very easy-going and friendly) joined all of us and in front of five other people at our table, the same charming co-worker loudly and with laughter told the him what had happened. I wanted to die. He, being a decent guy, changed the subject quickly.

Later he asked how I was and even later I asked the co-worker why she felt it appropriate to bring that up at a table of our project funders, most of whom we’d only met that day. She said she’d just thought it was funny. Like I said, she’s still on the shit list. Forever.

The day finished well and no one mentioned it again, except my friends at the office who had heard and we all just had a good laugh about it. For months afterwards, in fact, they would stop me before we went into meetings and ask if my pants were properly fastened.

Honorary mention for a guy who belongs in some kind of “I embarrassed myself and everyone else in the room” club

At the hotel that night with the other event planners, everyone (including me) had a laugh riot about my mishap, especially because they knew most of the people in attendance at that meeting.When we stopped laughing/crying, the two directors inducted me into the Silly Sisters Club and told me their stories.

I was sworn to secrecy about theirs, so you’ll just have to be satisfied with mine. Certainly you’ve had something awful happen to you. Please. Don’t leave me out here on Humiliation Island by myself. Share.

PS, just a tip. When your elastic breaks or is stretched out, pick another pair of pants.



I'm a writer making my way through life and offering observations as I go. Old enough to know better but that doesn't stop me.

19 thoughts on “Now open: Membership in the Silly Sisters Club

  1. Thanks for my best laugh of the day. Well, it started that way, but then when you described the actions of that obviously unhappy woman, I became disheartened instead. Why would someone treat another human being that way? The nice thing to do would be to minimize it: “Oh, don’t worry, hardly anyone noticed. It happened so quick” or something like that. Or maybe share their own embarrassing story. Oh well, at least you can take pride in the fact that the pants fell off your skinny bottom instead of holding themselves in place. 🙂

    1. Ha! I guess you’re right — although maybe it would have been better if my bottom end was huge! Don’t stress the thoughtless co-worker and I’m sorry she ruined the story for you. She was a piece of work, true, but then again, so were my pants on the floor!

  2. London. Somewhere in the late 80’s at the start of my career in the music industry. Having lunch with famous rockstar at the most fahionable restaurant in Chelsea. I am wearing this pretty black dress with a wide skirt and a double belt. I get up to go to the restroom and, when I come out, I am not aware the back of my dress is caught in the belt. I walked the entire length of the restaurant showing my backside to all and sundries until an unflappable waitier pointed the wardrobe malfunction to me. I still cringe at the thought. The only upside: at least it was my 20 year old butt on show….

    1. I groaned, “Oh no” aloud as I was reading this — this is exactly the kind of thing I’d do! Congrats, you make the club!

  3. Heeheehee, I am so sorry that happened to you and you are a wonderful person for sharing.

    Too bad I can’t be in the Silly Sisters Club. Nothing silly -ever- happens to me. *whistles*

      1. The last thing I remember is about a month or two ago when I was the secretary/minute taker of a large meeting and started the meeting by spilling a carafe of water all over the table and onto everybody’s laps.

        Gosh, I have a lot of stories like that, though. I didn’t get to be sillyliss by being dainty and proper, that’s for sure.

        1. Yes, I figured you to be a natural fit for this club with a name like Silly! Welcome and feel free to step to the podium at any point and say, “Hi, my name is Silly and I’m a silly sister.” We’ll all be there to support you!

  4. OK, I was laughing up until your bitchy co-worker started acting up. What a cow!
    I have had so many embarrassing things happen to me that I’d need a few A4 pages to write them all down. My first night working in a pub during college. I didn’t know how to carry a tray and spilled four pints of Guinness down on some poor man’s lap who was forced to sit with a towel across his pants for the rest of the night. That’s just the tip of the iceberg.

    1. I’m beginning to regret having even mentioned dear Janet. She was a royal pain altogether and I was thrilled the day she moved to another team (it took me months to maneuver that one!). Love the story of the beer spill. You’re in: welcome, silly sister!

  5. I am willing to help you move her body btw. I’ll dig very happily for that nasty excuse for a woman. That is however excellent advice for wearing pants.

    My initiation into the silly sisters came during my medical rotation. I was a fresh faced, doing the rotation that I was most excited about; neurology. I was sitting with the technican, there was patient in the MRI, feet sticking out. I leant over and spoke into the Mic. “you’re doing really well, Mr Dummy” Dummy was the name written on the report after all. Everyone in the room laughed. A few people spurted out their morning coffee. Mr Dummy was a dummy. They were testing the rollers. Mortified and was there after known as Dr. Dummy.

  6. OH, there are a few to pick from….actually quite a number. There was the time during my first ever grown up job that didn’t involve making burgers, that I was sent down to the post office to do the mail and thought the numbers on the stamps were the box numbers. I wondered aimlessly for hours trying to find them. Someone came to rescue me and then told everyone about it. 😦

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