We’ve been filming in a London pub this month for Scope’s End the Awkward campaign, and it got us thinking – pubs and nightclubs are the perfect breeding ground for awkwardness.
Take a crowded bar and a little alcohol, and we end up doing and saying things we’d never dream of before sundown. If you’re disabled, that can often mean a whole new level of awkward.
We asked you for your stories…
More people were watching us than the gig – Kelly
I always get asked ‘why are you in a wheelchair?’ by strangers in bars. A lot of people assume I’ve had an accident – because I’m confident and outgoing, they can’t believe I’ve always used a wheelchair.
At the Global Festival, my husband and I were backstage dancing, and more people were watching us dance than were watching the actual gig. They kept tapping me and trying to give me high fives.
People come over on a night out and tell me how much respect they have for me. Just because I’m having a night out! It drops a downer on us when we’re having a good night by saying ‘I’m really happy to see you’re going out.’
What’s wrong with you, then? – Ronnie
I have had many people walk up to me at a gig or in a pub and say, ‘What’s wrong with you then?’ Of course, when I reply I have cerebral palsy they sheepishly reply ‘Oh’, and then shuffle away awkwardly…
On a similar occasion in a pub, my friend Tom and I were chatting to a chap across the table from us. Suddenly, he said: ‘Well, it’s good to see people like YOU out and about!’ His girlfriend put her head in her hands and was hoping the ground would swallow her up.
Hope your friend’s okay… – Tom
Whilst in the university bar I was chatting to a woman; I was leaning against the bar. Things were going well until she asked me to dance on the lower dancefloor, which was down a flight of steps.
When I told her I couldn’t she looked bemused, so I pointed to my wheelchair and offered to dance near the bar. At this point she made an excuse about needing to find her friend who was really drunk, and left.
Some hours later, when I left the club, I saw her at the exit. When she saw me she looked horrified. I just said, ‘I hope your friend is okay…’
Have you had a skiing accident? – Edith
A friend and I visited a bistro in Sloane Square (I’d never been, we’d gone to people watch). She was pushing me in my wheelchair, and I was holding my crutches.
On entering, a rotund man with elbow patches saw me and bellowed ‘Ah! Have you had a skiing accident?’
‘Afraid not,’ I said, ‘I have MS.’ He only faltered for a few seconds before he replied, ‘…That must slow you down, eh?’ and turned back to his wine.
Have you had a similar experience? Send us your awkward stories, and we’ll publish our favourites on our blog and social media.