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Faux Pas – Social Blunder – Foot in Mouth

November 1, 2008

Faux Pas:  a word to describe those seemingly unforgivable social blunders that we make; a term that refers  to  those “I wish I didn’t say that; yes, you shouldn’t have” moments; the word with which to invoke the times when we wished the ground would open up and swallow us whole and a Coriolis storm would sweep down and stamp out all traces of our existence.

This is faux pas according to Merriam-Webster (2008):

faux pas: blunder; especially a social blunder

Pronunciation: \ˈfō-ˌpä, fō-ˈ\
Function: noun
Inflected Form(s): plural faux pas \-ˌpä(z), -ˈpä(z)\
Etymology: French, literally, false step
Date: 1676

That says it all, don’t you agree?  You can call it something else though.  Personally, I prefer the much more indicative phrase:  “Foot-in-Mouth” which works wonderfully well in illustrating those times when someone opened his mouth so widely that his foot inadvertently slipped inside.

Cartoon from Toady's Treasures and Archives. Free to download for non-profit purposes. Right-click cartoon and "Save As"

Cartoon from Toady

I had my ear to the ground today and heard quite a few fascinating faux pas stories.  If you have some of yours, do share! 

M had to go downtown.  She flagged down a trike (* for a description of a tricycle, go to Bhenki’s Day Out) and zoomed (or rather “brrmmmmd”) her way to her destination.  Halfway through, a former classmate with a baby-toting woman got on.  M chatted the former classmate up.  I heard you are already married.  Yeah?  That your son, then?  How cute! She said all the right “small talk” words and made all the usual cooing noises  at the baby.  It was going well until she opened her mouth and said:  “Where is your wife, then?  I would have liked to meet her.  Why did you bring your son’s yaya (nanny) instead?”” As it turned out, the woman with the former classmate – the one carrying the former classmate’s baby – is the former classmate’s wife and the baby’s mother.  M felt her foot slide into her mouth.  She called the driver to stop, got off the trike, and stared at the Palasyo’s (Bishop’s Palace) perimeter walls until the trike was but a speck in the distance.  Then, she walked to her destination.
T was talking to her daughter’s friend. She is very good at small talk and making her guests feel comfortable. It was inevitable that her children’s friends all liked chatting with T. She is, in their opinion, one of the coolest moms ever. Unfortunately, T brought up a topic which proved to be her downfall. She said, “I saw you two days ago. You were talking to someone who looked very much like a talking and walking clothes hanger. (and disdainfully) Who was that?!?” after a few seconds of silence, the daughter’s friend answered, “But that was my sister, Tita T!” The sound of T‘s foot slipping into her mouth was unmistakable.
T was talking with the mother of her son’s high school classmate.  Their sons attended the same university and lived in the same boarding house.  The classmate’s mother said, “It’s good that your son and my son live in the same house.  I hear it’s dangerous in Manila.” T responded.  “Oh yeah.  That’s what I heard. By the way, my son tells me a homosexual named P lives in the same house with them.” And the classmate’s mother responded, “But my son’s not gay!” As it turned out, T was talking to P‘s mother. T swallowed another foot.
D was talking to an acquaintance, J, about school uniforms.  He commented, “Look at N.College‘s uniform.  It’s so corny, so tasteless and so dowdy, HA HA HA HA.” J answered, “That’s what my Lolo (Grandfather) wanted for the school.” As it turned out, J is the grandson of N.College’s s founder.  Another foot hits the mouth.
Y‘s friend, L was pregnant.  Y was singing to the baby in L‘s tummy.  She said, “We should sing to the baby so he or she would be a great singer when he or she grows up.” J unthinkingly piped in with the bit of wisdom she learned from her Psych 101 course, “But someone with a good voice should sing to the baby lest he or she grows up with the desire to sing but none of the talent required to do so competently.” Y was flabbergasted; she did not know how to react and B, a bystander until that crucial point commented, “Are you saying Y’s voice is not good enough and she does not know how to sing?” J limped home; one of her foot was busy getting macerated in her mouth.
J went to the dorm’s CR to pee.  A dorm mate was in front of the sink brushing her teeth.  J smelled poop and, in the manner of one making a conversation, said, “What is that nasty poopy smell?” Then she saw the eyes of the dorm mate (who was brushing her teeth) widen.  J started looking around the CR and saw feet firmly planted on the tile floor in one of the toilet booths.  It smelled like poop because someone was taking a dump!  J felt her foot starting to slip into her mouth but she made a valiant effort to recover.  J went to the toilet booth next to the “feet”, flushed the water in the perfectly clear toilet bowl and said, “Oh, why do some people leave the toilet without flushing their poop?  So that’s why it smelled like poop in here!” After that, J said a hasty goodbye to the wide-eyed dorm mate (who was still bushing her teeth) and left with her foot barely intact.
F was a choco mallow addict. She has just arrived from the grocery store where she had bought a large jar of chocolate coated mallows. She put this on top of her bed while she sorted out her groceries. One of the roommates – another choco mallow addict – came home at that moment. This roommate stopped, saw the large jar of choco mallows on the coverlet, then her eyes widened like saucers and gleamed the way Smeagol’s always did whenever he sees and thinks about “His Preciousssss.” This roommate said, “Wow, Choco Mallows!!!!” and you could hear all her desire and longing for the choco mallows in that one short statement. F stiffened, stopped what she was doing and looked straight into the dorm mate’s eyes.  F then said, “S***! I forgot to hide it and keep it out of sight… sigh.” J, another room mate and the captive audience of the drama that has just unfolded, said a long prayer for F‘s foot that was no more.
Two of T‘s brothers just had their hair cut. When T saw them, she started laughing hysterically, pointed at her two brothers and said, “The barber must really hate you. Your haircut is awful, terrible, horrible, etc.!. Then she noticed that N, one of the brothers’ wife, was looking piqued. She then realized that N was responsible for her brothers’ haircut and that she’s put her foot in it again.

I solemnly swear that all the above stories did happen. These are true stories and they affirm what has already been said (and has already been turned into a movie title) that fact is “Stranger than Fiction.” Please tell me (and the rest of the readers) about your own faux pas story.

Please make your presence felt by signing my Guestbook or leaving a comment. Thanks!


faux pas. (2008).In Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary.
Retrieved November 1, 2008, from pas

Foot in the mouth cartoon: My boss put his foot in his mouth. (n.d.). Stars ‘n Toads
Retrieved November 1, 2008, from

3 Comments leave one →
  1. November 3, 2008 12:54 am


    You’re welcome; and thanks for taking an interest. 🙂

    – jinky

  2. November 3, 2008 12:40 am

    thanks for the cartoon story

  3. November 1, 2008 6:50 pm

    Hi Aaron,

    I’m sorry your comment hasn’t been posted. I did approve it. Then I deleted some spam. However, your comment was included in the delete.

    I think I know what happened. Bottom line: I wasn’t careful enough. Sorry though; yours would have been a nice first comment on this post. 🙂

    Thank you for liking my post! 🙂

    – jinky

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