I don’t have a particularly embarrassing body.
I’d never qualify for a role in Channel 4’s Embarrassing Bodies. Thank goodness. I don’t have herpes or in growing hairs. Not when I last checked, anyway.
But that’s fine with me. I’m happy to forgo nationwide fame if it means I’m free of genital warts.
But while Embarrassing Bodies boldly ticks the ‘public interest’ box in addressing Britain’s infections it does, rather sadly, overlook another embarrassing phenomenon: Embarrassing Personalities.
This, I argue, is potentially more of a burden on the tax payer and the nation’s well being.
Embarrassing Personalities is a hit series in the waiting.
It would also be a series for which I would be well over-qualified.
And not just me, it seems. One distressed woman in America was so desperate about being embarrassed - or embarrassing - that she even wrote to Fox News. Angela, as she called herself, wrote into the news channel about her embarrassment at meeting her boyfriend’s family for the first time because her other half had – apparently – shared some rather personal information with them about her.
But why on earth was she worried about that? Isn’t it a given that your in-laws know all manner of embarrassing information about you? That’s what boyfriends do.
Angela’s embarrassment is nowt compared to what I’ve been through.
She’d never get on Embarrassing Personalities.
Try flooding your boyfriend’s dad’s brand new, hand-built canal boat. When meeting him for the first time.
That’s what I did.
In a truly Oscar-winning act of embarrassing behaviour, I single-handedly ruined my boyfriend’s dad’s barge and turned what should have been a fun holiday into three days of dank, damp, sodden hell.
I knew the barge was doomed the minute I stepped on it.
“Ooohh,” I asked, in a half-arsed Rochdale accent. “It’s not damp, is it?”.
That comment would come back to haunt me. Industrially.
(The thing is; I’d never been on a canal boat before. I always imagined them to be, well, a bit damp.
And being from Rochdale, which is pretty damp, that’s all we do: comment on the relative dampness of our surroundings. It’s like a regional greeting when you enter an unfamiliar building - you either say: “Bet this keeps the heat in” if it’s nice and dry, or: “Eeee.. a bit damp.”)
To make matters worse, my ex’s dad was super posh, an ex-Army officer from Down South with a plummy accent.
He built canal boats and this particular specimen was his pride and joy. The sudden insertion of a northern blonde who knew nothing about canal boats apart from their relative dampness did not go down well.
But there we were. On the boat. There was no turning back. We were to spend about three days travelling through the Peak District. It was supposed to be a pleasant way of getting to know the family.
“Robbie,” shouted his dad, as we moved through various locks. “See if Rachael wants to do the next one.”
I embraced this opportunity with all the strength I could muster but – having never seen a lock in operation before, let alone work one myself – I hadn’t the faintest bloody idea.
I wound the lock with all my power as quickly as I could until it was completely open. That’s what you do, isn’t it?
Suddenly, tons of water – and I mean TONS of the stuff – gushed out of the gate.
The boat was way down in the bottom bit.
“JESUS CHRIST,” shouted the ex-Army officer.
He ran to the front of the barge and opened the front door (even as the idiotic perpetrator of this disaster, it struck me that this a was stupid move on his part). The water burst into the barge’s interior - flooding it completely.
I was paralysed by embarrassment.
After the initial shock, his dad leapt into action, using every towel, bed sheet and garment he could find to soak up water, ringing them out on deck while glaring at me.
For the next three days we sat in silence, freezing to death as all the windows were opened to dry out the boat.
I haven’t been on a canal boat since then and, perhaps needless to say, that relationship didn’t last.
It was never destined to work anyway – he was vegetarian.