It’s common occurrence: You get into a verbal altercation with someone, mumble something dumb and then later that day come up with the perfect, now useless comeback. Far fewer are the moments when that witty retort arrives at perfect moment and lets you verbally obliterate your opponent with a single turn of phrase. These victorious incidents, being few and far between, are precious and worthy of celebration, which is why we’re talking about our sickest burns.

This is a sick burn.

This is a sick burn.

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This is a good Dad Burn.

Another good burn!

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But before we hear your REAL SCORCHERS (btw, you can also submit burns you’ve overheard or received!), let’s honor the winners of last week’s painful Pissing Contest, Your Most Embarrassing Moment at a Middle or High School Dance.

Poor laine :(

We used to have middle school dances that began promptly at 7pm and ended at exactly 10pm. They were awkward as all hell and parents would be lined up by 9:45 to rescue their 13-year-olds from another second of grinding. The night had gone pretty well for me—got there an appropriate 15 minutes late, slobbered all over the guy I had a crush on, had a pretty good time overall. We all started spilling outside around 9:40 to get picked up. I was in a big group of my friends, on top of the world.

10pm rolls around, most of my friends are gone (my crush booked it immediately after the make-out session). Slowly everybody trickles away, no sign of my dad, who was due to pick me up. There were two chaperones in charge of pick-up time and the school security guy, a big retired cop named something cop-like, such as Gary. Soon it’s just me and 5 other kids, then 3, then 1. I’m calling my dad desperately on my circa 2004 flip phone and getting voicemail. By now it’s about 10:45 and I’m the last kid left. I’m shivering outside in my skimpy-ass dress and baby prostitute heels, as the two chaperones (both teachers) and the security guard alternated between comforting me and checking their watches. I don’t think I had ever, and haven’t since, called my dad so many times—I must’ve gotten his voicemail 50 times.

The two teachers got permission from Gary to head home, and after throwing me some sympathetic abandoned-child looks, they leave. So now it’s just me and Gary hangin’ out in the courtyard. Gary, God bless him, is trying to make friendly conversation with me, despite the fact that I am blubbering and literally have never been so embarrassed in my life to be sitting at 11pm with the school cop, completely alone. He tried to bring up how the dance was, how my classes were—things that now seem super nice of him but at the time I literally wanted to die.

I finally ended up having to call my mom (my parents were recently divorced and it was not her night with me, which is why I hadn’t tried to call her already). She got there at 11:20 and thanked Gary profusely as I RAN into the car and tried to sink into the seat. Gary waved at me as we drove away and I cringed.

Of course, I went to that school for 5 more years. I was able to look him in the eye about two years later.

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Poor awkwardturtle :(

One of the most embarrassing moments at a middle school dance seemed to start out as one of the best. I was standing at the side of the courtyard as usual (our dances were outside) and one of the boys in my class, Edward, walked over and asked me to slow dance. This was a huge deal for me. I was 5’ 7”, chunky, nerdy, and developing sarcasm as a defense mechanism to cope with bullying. I hadn’t ever been asked to dance before. He lead me to the center and we started slow dancing. I was so excited. After about 60 seconds he let go, stepped back, and started laughing. I asked him why he was laughing and he said “I asked you to dance as a dare. The other boys dared me to dance with you. I never wanted to. Ugh.” and then he walked back to the side of the room to the snickering group of boys (and girls) and left me standing alone and humiliated in the middle of the dance floor. I went off to the bathroom and called my mom to pick me up. She said it was the saddest she had ever seen me and thinking about it still breaks her heart. I also now hate K Ci and Jojos “All My Life”.

Hooray for middle school dances - the worst kind of despair for us losers. This might be one of the worst of my stories, but unfortunately, it’s one of many.

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And this, Ravelston, might be the best school dance story ever:

Like most people, I was an gangly teen- all pimples and limbs and braces. I had a huge, super nerd-girl crush on someone I’ll call Joe. Joe was a year older than me even though he was in the same grade, and had bit puberty sooner as a consequence, so was more man-than-boy shaped. Ravelston liked.

One look at time on my first day of school from across the cafeteria was all it took- my teenaged thighs went up in flames.

Just a wiff of his Ralph Lauren Polo (then again, our hallways were totally stank of the stuff) and I would turn into a nervous, giggly spaz with the cognitive abilities of a brain-dead rhesus monkey. I would call him then hang up, just to hear his voice (this was in the 80s before caller ID- thank GOD). I became completely clumsy around him, bashing into doors, walls, tables- basically anything that would make me look like a bigger undatable mess than I already was. I would plan my days to find ways to pass him in the hallways. Typical teen-girl crush, really.

Oddly enough, he somewhat returned my affections for a while. Notes were passed. Shy smiles were given. But no dates. I had given up all hope of Joe asking me to go to the Homecoming Dance (my first as I was a freshman), and so I had accepted the invitation of a boy I’ll call Ginger Junior who was in my youth group just so I could go.

But of course, being a selfish teenager, three days before the dance, I did something that was horrible to Ginger Junior, and got me what I wanted. I screwed up my courage and called up Joe. “Please save me Joe, I don’t want to go with him! He’s kind of creepy and he smells like soup? Would you go with me instead? Will you take me to Homecoming and save me?”

Worked like a charm. One more call to Ginger Junior to dump him (three days before the dance- I really was a selfish little shit back then) and the deed was done. I had just asked myself out on my first real date.

Now I need to tell you about the dress- metallics were fashionable that year, and thought I had found the perfect strapless one in silver. Looking back now, considering I had braces and didn’t figure out that my dress actually matched my teeth was not the best sartorial choice, but at the time I was giddy over both the prospects to wear both it and with the then man-of-my-dreams.

My mother, however, had other concerns. I was not exactly fully developed in the bust line- mini-A cups at most. Any attempt to tamp down what little was holding the dress up was not a good idea, and my very strict father would not allow pushups or padding. So I went commando on top. My mother told me she was scared that some mean boy would run past me and pull down my dress to reveal my teeny tiny mosquito bites to the whole school, so she sewed me into the dress at the top of the zipper. Bear this in mind for later...

Flash forward to the dance. Here Joe is in all his awkwardly fitting suited glory, and I’m on his arm! We’re slow dancing! He’s looking into my eyes! This is not a drill, people, this is real life! Holy crap, we’re kissing! Right in front of the whole school! Needless to say, I was in heaven. Eat your heart out, Molly Ringwald- I’m the queen right now.

He then takes my hand and leads me to the senior locker bay. We’re snugged in a corner. We’re making out. He unzips the back of my dress (Jeez, I was a bit of danger slut back then...), but because my Mother had sewed the top of the zipper up, he’s getting nowhere in his attempts to genuinely round second base (which was doubtless her goal all along). Then Joe realizes that he can just take his arm around me and get that little bit further to achieve his goal.

Ingenuity, thy name is is adolescent boy attempting to get some bewb.

That’s when it happened. The most embarrassing moment of my young life.

OUR BRACES LOCKED JUST AS A TEACHER DISCOVERED US- basically every brace-wearing/ sneaking off during the dance to make out teen’s worst nightmare. It was real. It happened. And it was awful.

I can just imagine what he saw- two acne-cursed teenagers, one of whom looks like he’s practicing a rare form of arm yoga, are in a dark corner of a dance and can’t even try to explain themselves because their faces are literally hooked together.

To heap humiliation upon misery, instead of telling us off, once he realizes the situation, the teacher starts laughing. Not just laughing, he’s doubled over from it. He calls other teachers over to witness our misery. They can’t help from laughing either. They feel like a Greek chorus of authority shame. I am cast from Heaven into a pit of Hell. My face, so recently flushed from budding hormones is now red hot with humiliation.

I quickly zip up my dress. Joe and I cautiously make our conjoined way over to the teachers (with flashlights) while Joe tries unsuccessfully to conceal his boner. The teachers, with flashlights in our faces, figure out a way to pry us apart. He goes to the pay phone to call his dad to come pick us up and leave the dance early. The ride home was, not surprisingly, gravely silent. Walk to the door, perfunctory kiss on the cheek, and it was all over. He moved away a few months later.

As a coda to this story, there is actually a happy ending of sorts. We kept in touch by letters and phone calls over the years despite the mutual humiliation, or perhaps because of it. When I was visiting a friend in Virginia, it turned out he was going to college close by, and so came to pick me up for a quick overnight catch up session in person. Needless to say, as he was still hot, I hit that with the power of Thor’s Mighty Hammer. And it was good...

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Okay, let’s do this.


Contact the author at madeleine@jezebel.com.