Stumbled upon this here article while on Sparknotes (for no reason whatsoever…cause I definitely don’t use it…) and thought it made some interesting points about awkwardness. I am definitely guilty of viewing “awkward” as all cute and quirky and “adorkable.” Just look at the past posts on this blog. But I do understand the point that there are actual, uncomfortably awkward people out there and Zooey Deschanel, while a cool “spacey, messy, DELIVERED-tomato-soup eating, jazzy-music-pajama-dancing indie fairy,” is not one of them.


I’ve never really been into her “awkward girl” act because I see it as just that: an act. She markets herself that way because it works. In reality, she is a saavy Hollywood actress who knows what sells. Read and see what I mean. Eric Garneau puts it really well…

Regardless, though, I will always love New Girl. And Zooey’s clothes.



Teenagers need money and parents of toddlers give out money to teenagers willing to hang out with their kids for a few hours. So we babysit. And, because we’re teenagers and not parents, we don’t always know what we’re doing. I tend to feel super awkward when I walk into a strange house and am expected to take care of scary children all night. The possibilities for awkward are endless and I think I’ve encountered all of them. The salty things that can happen while sitting on babies…

  • Lying Kids

Little kids are sneaky. They have one goal when there’s a babysitter around: do everything their parents don’t allow. They are ruthless, swearing that their mom lets them have ice cream before dinner and stay up extra late. I never know what to believe. I don’t want to be that babysitter that outlaws dessert and makes them go to bed early. But I also want to avoid having to explain to the parents that I actually believed their 4 year old when she said she was allowed to have 3 bowls of ice cream and watch Tangled until midnight. An awkward conundrum that usually leaves me giving up and reluctantly letting the kids have as much ice cream as they want.

  • The Food Question

The parents of babysitting families are really nice. They thank you profusely for watching their children and are genuinely appreciative. They insist that you “make yourself at home” and “help yourself to anything in the kitchen.” But can you really? I get hungry wrangling babies for 5 hours. But what exactly am I welcome to eat? Some things look like they’re being saved or they haven’t been opened or they’re specifically for the kids’ school lunches. I don’t want the parents to be cursing me Monday morning when they try to pack their kid some Pringles and they’re gone. So usually I just starve, afraid that the granola bar I want is being saved for some sacred purpose.

  • Falling Asleep

Most nights, babysitting in the last thing I want to do. It’s an exhausting job and I end up spending the entire time wishing I was napping. So when the kids are asleep and it’s getting late, it’s not uncommon for me to doze off while hanging out on the couch. If I know I can’t force myself to stay awake much longer, I’ll set an alarm for a safe amount of time. But then I end up in a half asleep state of paranoia, worrying that the parents will walk in and find me snoozing like the irresponsible babysitter I am. So I often just end up scared and groggy, more tired than I was to being with.

  • The Early Arrival

There’s this thing babysitters do when the parents are about to come home. When I realize I’ve got about 15 minutes until they arrive, I start becoming “Model Babysitter.” I put away all the kids’ toys, clean up any food I dared to eat, double check that the kids are asleep, sit up straight on the couch and change the channel from The Hangover to something a little more respectable. And usually this works out fine. But sometimes, they come home earlier than they said they would. So they walk in to find a messy house and me, half asleep and sprawled out on the couch watching MTV. Awk.

  • Kids Awake When Parents Come Home

This is just babysitter failure. You don’t get the kids to bed in time, you lose. Life is salty.

I am a really awkward runner. I’m short and slow and just not particularly athletic–which I’m totally ok with because I’ve known it for a while now. When I was younger, I used to sit in the grass and make dandelion chains in the outfield at softball and invent baton routines with my stick at lacrosse. So yeah, group athletic activities have never been for me. And freshman year, when I was still under the delusional impression that I could do sports, I attempted cross country. Ask anyone from the team (ACTUALLY NO PLEASE DON’T): it was rough. It looked something like this…

I was a champion.

But despite all of my athletic disasters, I’ve started running more lately. In January, a few friends and I decided to sign up for the Flying Pig Marathon relay, in which we each have to run about 6 miles. While that isn’t all that much to those doing the whole marathon, it’s a big deal for me (which I’m pretty embarrassed about considering that many of you Journalism-class readers are fantastic runners). So I set out, a failed cross country runner and established non-athlete, to train. And, against all odds, it’s actually going really well. I’ve improved a lot and I really enjoy it. And now I look like this!

Just kidding. I don't at all. But I really am getting better!

But, because I’m me, it’s been salty at times. As a novice runner, I’m not quite up to the caliber of the cool kids yet. Here are some loser-runner circumstances I’ve encountered…


Running around Mariemont, I inevitably see the town’s entire population while out. I try to be pretty friendly, but seriously: do I have to wave to everybody? I look like a hot mess when I run and the last thing I want to do is give a wave and a smile to everyone I see. Cause I’m pretty sure, in my running state, they don’t want to have to look at me. Also, I kinda get in my zone. I like to look straight ahead and I get distracted if there are a bunch of Mariemoms patrolling the town that expect my greetings. Finally, on rainy days, I run at the Sportsmall. The track there is incredibly narrow, which makes for salty times. Am I allowed to pass people? I always feel annoying when I squeeze by other runners. Also, why do people think it’s ok to walk side by side?! I just don’t get it sometimes.


My theater-geek tendencies are no secret. So it’s no surprise that my affinity for showtunes extends to my running playlist. While others like blaring rap or some inspirational pop, I just blast Sondheim and the Spring Awakening soundtrack. I realize that this further decreases my running credibility but I don’t care; Merrily We Roll Along makes me go faster. Thankfully, when I run with my iPod, no one should be able to tell what I’m listening to. Except everybody does because I mouth the words.


In addition to my lack of appropriate music, I also don’t wear the right thing. I don’t do the whole Nike ensemble; I basically just opt for an old t-shirt and whatever athletic shorts are somewhat clean. In my shabby clothes, I always get jealous of those runners who look like they jumped out of a LuluLemon ad; I don’t get how they can look that good running. Also, I also don’t have an iPod arm band. I just hold mine, which is like a flashing neon sign that says “New Runner!” But I like having it in my hand…it makes it easier to pick the best songs on my Broadway playlist.

So clearly I’m a salty new addition to the runner club. But I’m trying to improve and I feel like I’m getting less awkward with time. By the day of the Pig, I should maybe sort of blend in! So if you see the kid tentatively passing people, singing Sweeney Todd, and almost looking like a runner, wave and give me a confidence boost! Life is salty.

Sorry I’m not going to be funny this week but this week just wasn’t very funny.

A few days ago, I planned to write a silly post about how awkward it is to cry in front of people. Last Sunday, I had my final experience on the MHS stage. After my very last performance of high school, I took a blubbering, sobbing final bow. It was a really emotional experience—I grew up on that stage and I owe everything I am today to what I learned in that auditorium. I made the best friends, faced the most difficult challenges, had the funniest/happiest/scariest/angriest moments of my life in there. I loved every second I spent learning lines and running blocking for the past four years. Of course, no one in the audience last Sunday could understand that. So when I stood up on that stage crying in front of a packed auditorium, I was awkward and embarrassed. Crying in front of other people, especially a room of 400 classmates and parents, felt salty (pun very much intended).

Then, on Tuesday, everything changed. The community found out that we had lost Collin Barton, a junior at Mariemont. I was shocked and upset. Honestly, I hardly knew Collin. But he was a Mariemonter and that means he was family. We care about each other around here; this community is full of so much love.

I went to a prayer circle (one of many) at Kusel Tuesday night after we all got the news. I sat on the scratchy turf with about 100 other kids and prayed and told stories about Collin. It was terribly sad but soothing to hear people laughing about the fond memories they had of their friend. Nearly everyone was crying. But I noticed no one was embarrassed about it; no one was trying to hide it. They were sad and hurt and they didn’t care who saw or judged them.

I thought back to my self-conscious crying of the past weekend and realized something: I shouldn’t have been embarrassed to cry in front of that auditorium. There’s nothing wrong or awkward about feeling something so deeply that you break down over it. Grief isn’t something to be awkward about.

I realize my selfish sadness over the end of my high school theater career and Collin’s death are miles apart on the scale of importance. But whether it’s about the last moments onstage or the last moments of someone’s life, people get sad sometimes. It’s natural and real and shows you’re alive. And that’s nothing to feel salty about.

When I was in 1st grade, I thought that all of the teachers lived in a big room hidden behind the art room in the basement of the elementary school. I figured that, after the school day was over, they all headed downstairs to their communal living space where they’d hang out and grade homework.

I have since realized that teachers are people who have families and homes and such. However, I still think they are a separate species that doesn’t go out in public. So when I see them out in the world, it’s a little jarring. Like last weekend for instance.

I was out to dinner with a couple of friends at Green Dog Café (YUM). As we were eating, I noticed a guy a few tables over who looked exactly like our student teacher from Mrs. Lowery’s class freshman year, Mr. Raley. I mentioned this supposed doppelganger to my friends who sneakily turned around to see for themselves. This Mr. Raley look-alike looked right back. Awkward eye contact ensued. We quickly turned away, but the saltiness was not yet over.

“Ok, ok, you can stop staring at me,” said the man who was in fact the real Mr. Raley, as he walked over and sat down at our table. HE SAT DOWN. A man we hardly knew and hadn’t seen in four years. My friends and I stared at each other for a second then snapped into “polite mode” and greeted him.

“Ok,” he said as he looked around the table. “Katie Wray. Claire. And Lizzie.”

Ummm. What?!

So, this man—who, may I stress again, we hardly knew and hadn’t seen in four years—still knew our names off the top of his head. Needless to say, we were creeped out and felt exceedingly awkward. Especially when he updated us on his life and his cat for about 10 minutes and proceeded to advise us to not “sleep in until 4 everyday like me” in college next year.

In all seriousness, he is a nice, friendly guy and it was kind of cool to see him again. It definitely brought me back to freshman year for a disorienting minute. But I think I’ve had enough of seeing long-lost teachers outside of school for now. Life is salty.

               I’ve come to realize that college is awkward. I know I’ve already posted about some salty college-related experiences, but don’t you worry—I’ve got more.

                Last weekend, my family and I went up to Chicago. We had nothing to do on the long weekend so we drove up for a little family vacation. We shopped aroundLincoln Park, took pictures at the Bean and walked around the Northwestern campus. On the bright side, any little reservations I still had about my college choice were erased. I’m positive that I made the right decision and I can’t wait until I’m a student there in September. On the other hand, I got myself into a salty situation, per usual.

                So on Saturday night, we stayed at a hotel a few miles from campus. We came back from dinner (deep dish pizza, which I actually really hated) and were walking through the lobby on our way back up to our room. We passed a guy on his laptop, which was covered in NU stickers. He looked about my age, so I thought he may be an admitted student like me. So I really wanted to say hi.

                My parents thought I was crazy and quickly scurried away while I stood by myself trying to muster the courage to go talk to this kid. I was so excited to meet a Class of 2016 classmate and I figured (if I could just be cool and introduce myself) I could make a friend. So after standing and staring from afar for a solid five minutes, I finally made myself do it. This is what went down.

Me: Hey, are going to be student there next year? (pointing at the NU stickers)

Him: No, I’m actually a student there now. I’m a junior.

Me: (Silence. Awkward stare. Embarrassed to be talking to a cool college junior. Doing the math to realize that he’s probably 21. And noticing that he’s super cute.) Oh. Cool.

Him: (Quizzical look. Trying to salvage the conversation.) Sooo, what school are you going to be in?

We talked for a few minutes. He gave me some freshman housing advice. I stayed awkward the entire time. After, I realized that I’m definitely going to need to work on my “Meeting New People” skills before I head to school. Any tips or advice on that subject is welcome. Hopefully I can improve. But for now…Life is salty.

     I have joined a Quidditch team. After years of dreaming and wishing, I have secured a spot as Chaser on the world-renowned Gryffindor team. I don’t care that it is fake Quidditch on a haphazard high school team. It is the greatest thing that has ever happened to me.

     However, the gaggle of Harry Potter fans who participate in this new school sport have faced some backlash. There have been some mocking comments and tweets from other students—but as mature teenagers who run around the Bell Tower field with brooms between our legs we are, admittedly, an easy target. Regardless of how ridiculous we look, though, it’s fun.

     The Quidditch haters got me thinking about the excessive awkwardness that comes with obsessive fandom. I, as a dedicated Harry Potter fan since 4th grade, have fully embraced the crazy saltiness that comes with a fantasy series about wizards.

     In 5th grade, my friends and I made a schedule likening every school subject to a Hogwarts class. We pretended each science or social studies was Potions or Flying or Transfiguration. Then, for Christmas that year, I got a Time Turner (exact replica from the movie!) and wore it to school every day. The next Christmas, I got Hermione’s wand. I have dressed up for multiple midnight premieres. I have a signed Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone movie poster hanging in my room. I’ve made my own Butterbeer. I talk Harry Potter trivia with Braxton in chorus class regularly. I cried at the end of the last movie (and at the end of a few of the books…). I saw Daniel Radcliffe on Broadway in December. In a few weeks, I’m going to Florida to visit the Wizarding World of Harry Potter theme park.

This is real.

So is this.


     While they enjoy the occasional HP movie, most of my friends aren’t huge fans like me. They love to tease me for my obsession and make jokes when I quote the movies. However, I really don’t mind. Because the truth is, I don’t care how many people diss Harry Potter or laugh at us fans. I love those books. I love the other people who read them. I love the magic and the characters and the stories. I love that still, as a near-adult, I can open a Harry Potter book and fall completely into that world. I love that no matter what happens in my life, as JK Rowling said, “Hogwarts will always be there to welcome you home.” So I’m going to stay a die-hard fan and continue to proclaim my love for the series that defined my childhood. Because Harry Potter is salty and I love it.

My name is Elizabeth but I have always been called Lizzie. Since I can remember, I’ve answered to that. However, as I began to fill out my Common Application last August, I decided to make a big change: I would become Liz. Personally, I felt that it was time to transition to the more grown-up sounding version of my name and the jump to college was the perfect time to do it. So when I filled out the “Preferred Nickname” line of my App, I wrote Liz.

Soon after I was accepted into college, I joined the Northwestern Facebook group and it was time for another big step: changing my Facebook name. If I wanted to meet fellow students, I had to go by my new adult name! So I changed my Facebook title and that’s when the awkward began.

Everybody freaked out. I got multiple confused wall posts from friends and family. Even some texts. Apparently my name meant more to people than I realized. And that next day at school, my friends would call pointedly across the hall, “Hey LIZ!”

So now I come to the most awkward aspect of The Big Name Shift of 2012. Last weekend, my friends and I went to hang out with a St. X kid we know and all of his friends. I didn’t really know anyone and realized I’d have to introduce myself. I decided to finally put my name change into action, testing the waters to see if I could be “Liz” for the rest of my life. So when I walked in and faced all of the strangers, I smiled and said, “Hi, I’m Liz.” My friends giggled. But I stood my ground. To these new people, I would be Liz.

However, throughout the night, I met a lot of people. And I started to slip up. I’d start to introduce myself and realize “Lizzie” was coming out of my mouth before I could stop it. By the end of the night, half the people there thought I was named “Liz” and the other half thought I was “Lizzie.” It made for some confusion, to say the least. Life is salty.

Hopefully by the time I get to college I’ll get used to the change and not screw it up like I did the other night. But I don’t mind that the transition is happening slowly. For now, I like being Lizzie. It’s who I’ve been forever and changing my identity is a scary concept. Last night, I was looking at old Facebook pictures and came across some ones of Freshman Lizzie. Contrasted with Senior Liz, the difference is definitely noticeable. I got all nostalgic and thought about how much I’ve grown up over the past four years. And I realized I’m really glad I still get to be Lizzie for next few months.

Goofy Freshmen.

Seniors. Still goofy.

Summer before Freshman year. Lizzie.

Summer before Senior year. Liz.

One thing that makes awkward moments somewhat managable is when you can prepare for them. If you see them coming, they don’t feel as much like a sneaky ambush of salty coordinated by the universe. So that’s why I’m glad that, as 2012 begins, I can already identify (and prepare for!) the awkward times in my future this year. With the second semester of my senior year, graduation and the first months of college on the horizon, my year is going to be awesome. But, if I know anything about my life from the past 17 and a half years, it will be ridiculously salty as well.

First, I dread the Graduation Walk. For the past few years, I’ve gone to graduation and watched as each class magically transforms from little high school kids to cool collegiate adults. A huge part of that special day is the walk. One by one, each student’s name is called and they proceed to strut down the track toward Dr. Renner and their diploma. It’s exciting and cool and symbolic….but it also looks really scary. When I finally get my big graduation moment, I am quite sure that it will be incredibly salty. I am terrified that I’m going to trip or make a weird face or not know what to do with myself as the entire crowd watches me. And I’ll be in heels! The probability of this event going awry is quite high.

Also, shopping and packing for college. What do you bring?! I’ve never been to college! I don’t know what clothes are necessary, what appliances I need, what dorm decor is appropriate. And I worry that, when I arrive (on September 20th! Not like I’m counting down or anything…), I will have forgotten something or bought something totally wrong. What if my roomate doesn’t like my Darren Criss posters? What if our bedding clashes? I’m sharing a room with someone I hardly know and bringing things they don’t like would be altogether a salty and bad experience.

Finally, another college worry and definite awkward situation: meeting new friends. I have lived in Mariemont since I was born. I have known my best friends since I was literally a baby. And only a handful of times in my life have I been thrown into a situation where I know no one and must make brand new friends. I did fine in those instances but they were only temporary. College, on the other hand, lasts a while. The friends I make may be my friends for years. Thus, I’m nervous about those first few weeks where I’ll have to introduce myself and make good first impressions. I can be awkward and weird sometimes (see previous posts). Hopefully my fellow Class of 2016 Wildcats will take pity on me and be my friend.

Life is gonna be salty.

      Television is the land of shiny, cool, glamorous people. Serena is consistently gorgeous on Gossip Girl, Meredith is always cool and doctor-chic on Grey’s Anatomy and the ‘60s swag on Mad Men is ridiculous. However, once in a while, a qwerd bird will slip through the cracks and end up starring on a primetime show. They stick out like Sketchers in a sea of Louboutins but they sure are entertaining. Below, you’ll find a few of the best awkward characters on TV, via salty quotes and pictures…

1. Jess, New Girl

Zooey Deschanel as Jess

“Well, I guess I can’t hide my crazy.”

Zooey Deschanel stars as Jess on New Girl, basically the greatest new show on television. She rocks the awkward and the nerdy like no one else can. Her improvised songs and badly timed comments make me laugh at (yet totally sympathize with) her. And she works geek glasses flawlessly.


2. Liz Lemon, 30 Rock

“Lizzing is a combination of lauging and whizzing.”

Tina Fey’s Liz Lemon is so painfully awkward but still so endearing. The writing for 30 Rock show is genius and Tina Fey’s delivery of every salty line makes it perfect. From her affinity for ham to her lack of romantic game, Liz Lemon is the awkward girl we secretly all want to be friends with.


3. Dwight Schrute, The Office

“When I die. I want to be frozen. And if they have to freeze me in pieces, so be it. I will wake up stronger than ever, because I will have used that time, to figure out exactly why I died. And what moves I could have used to defend myself better now that I know what hold he had me in”

Everyone knows Dwight—Rainn Wilson has made this exceedingly creepy office worker a completely iconic television character. Watching him fight pointless arguments and fall victim to endless pranking is consistently entertaining and I laugh every time. He’s so set in his weird and awkward ways that you have to respect him and his prized beet farm.


4. Phil Dunphy, Modern Family

“Glen Whipple. My college rival. Captain of the cheer squad. Winner of every robot battle. Every second I spent with the guy just made me feel worse about myself. Only thing I could compete with him in was close-up magic.”

Ty Burell as Phil Dunphy is the epitome of “awkward dad.” He tries so hard to be awesome (watch the episode when he tries to tight rope in the front yard) and fails every time. Nearly every episode he is in some ridiculous situation and fights to emerge from it looking cool. But, as evidenced by the time he got trapped in a Port-A-Potty, he is and always will be incredibly awkward.