You can tell a lot by just watching what a man is willing to do in order to save his own face. And can know him even more so from his reluctance to do so – or at least not do it from the account of others – by diverting the attention from his own embarrassing moment away – on someone else, sometimes even by fabricating a new embarrassing moment – so someone else will have to deal with it – the hot potato.
There are many ways people behave when they find themselves in the middle of everyone’s attention (real or imaginary) when something embarrassing has happened. Some examples of such a situation could be being caught preaching the wrong facts, being caught knowing less about a subject than he or she purported to know, being caught stealing, lying, cheating, bullshitting, being caught with trying to pass something off for something that it is not (underhanded compliments, ass kissing, virtue signalling)… Or you just shit your pants in public.
It’s a very social situation, not a very difficult one – yet it takes certain character to ace these moments. Now, when you shit yourself in public and you have no one around to help you cover it up, how would you behave?
Most people would try to disappear and attract not any attention to themselves – they lay low and find a private place to get themselves in order – and HOPE it won’t be brought up again. Oh yes, that dreaded fear of completely helpless embarrassing situations being brought up again… Right when it will serve someone else – to divert attention away from the fact that they just now pooped their pants full and foul.
Sorry for that image, by the way, but it’s an appropriate illustration for the thinking I’m doing here. See, the exact same thing happens in less smelly and sanitarily-hazardous situations – you make a mistake or you get caught trying to wing something, you get caught trying to be cooler than you actually are – and someone around, who maybe pissed at you for various reasons – will be happy to amplify the whole situation – and not to your favour. And you know – where the situation inverted – you catch someone you despise doing something stupid – you’d most likely do the same thing (based on how you judge – whether it’s worth it or not – some people just need to be ridiculed when possible, right?)
Now, next up – I will have you know that I have participated in more internet discussion than I am proud to admit – probably not THAT much, but more than I’d like to admit (after I figured out these discussions don’t actually, on most days, lead to any societal improvements – turns out I was only in it for the adrenaline rushes); and from those days I can recall all sorts of “exit strategies” for moments when someone catches you shitting your pants.
Sometimes you will have a good friend around who will divert attention away from you – and masterfully so – by taking the fire on himself or diverting the attention to something that won’t hurt anyone (humour is an excellent outlet),
Should you not have a friend like that around – the BEST thing you can do is either disappear without a racket (to go and change your pants in private) – or admit to what you were doing, and help yourself with some humour, if you like.
What I see people do way too often (and I have done it myself, too, probably, although why would I want to admit such a terrible thing?) is using someone else’s shitting-vignette with hopes to contrast (“what I did is not as bad as…”) and divert the attention away from himself or herself towards someone who he or she thinks deserves it – you’d think it would always be the one arguing on the other side – but sometimes you just don’t have any SHIT on him or her – so you throw someone else under the bus.
Another dirty exit strategy is of course ad hominems – you call your opponent mentally ill, double down on your bullshit, maybe even turn to violence. People with less testosterone in their system will resort to long-ass bullshit explanations – oh look, there is word-salad coming out of your ass.
So, I thought of a rule for myself today – I won’t ever attempt to save my own face by throwing someone else under the bus; but the moment I sense someone is trying to save their face on my account (or anyone that I feel personally attached to), I’m happy to activate the Dragon Protocol (there’s no such protocol, I just made it up). Truth be told – when you find someone is trying to bullshit you – you never even have to let it get to the point where the idiot will need to use an exit strategy, as they have so hopelessly and helplessly played themselves into the corner – someone tries to fuck with you, just block them (so they can walk around in their shit pants or go change their pants, should they want to – without you seeing it).
Should I apologise for all the shit in this post? IS THIS THE REAL SHIT POSTING?
I do find there is a lot more to say about saving face, not attempting to save your face and own it like a man, and about helping someone else save the face – it’s always nice to bring in some humour and fresh air – and leave the other person a dignified exit strategy (and often a BLOCK will be the most generous thing you can do!)) – whether they take it or not, though – is never up to you.