Lynda Hal­li­nan

Sunday Star-Times - Escape - - FRONT PAGE -

He blushed, but not that much, for it seems that life gets less em­bar­rass­ing as we get older. I hon­estly can’t re­mem­ber the last time my face pulled the full Charlie Brown, with red cheeks above a blaz­ing neck.

My sis­ter has a the­ory that, once you’ve had kids – once you’ve grunted and groaned for sev­eral hours in a ma­ter­nity ward, with a re­volv­ing au­di­ence of rel­a­tives and com­plete strangers in the room – well, you sim­ply have noth­ing left to feel em­bar­rassed about. She could be right.

When I was in my late 20s, my then­boyfriend Martin, a keen surfer, took me up north to Matauri Bay for a ro­man­tic get­away. But when we got there, he handed me a wet­suit and told me he was go­ing to teach me how to surf.

I was dead keen, for surf­ing has al­ways ranked highly on my bucket list, along with other no­table slacker skills such as play­ing the gui­tar, be­ing a nat­u­ral blonde and mix­ing the per­fect mo­jito, but sadly it was not to be.

Af­ter I’d huffed and puffed my way into the wet­suit, then huffed and puffed my way through 100 push-ups, squats, and lunges (flex­i­bil­ity has never been my forte), I was hot, sweaty, and hu­mil­i­ated. I never even made it into the wa­ter, de­cid­ing in­stead to re­tire to our car­a­van with the camp­ground cat and a good book.

But this sum­mer, my five-year-old son started tak­ing surf­ing lessons, so I went along for the ride. While Lu­cas was up on his feet, fist-pump­ing and high-fiv­ing on his first wave, I’ve been pay­ing a nice man with an all over tan to teach me how to wob­ble on a large lump of foam for a few sec­onds be­fore fall­ing off.

I haven’t man­aged to stand yet, though I did once pull off an im­pro­vised yoga pose – pic­ture a down­ward fac­ing dog do­ing the dol­phin plank – be­fore nose-div­ing into the white­wa­ter. The wet­suit is also sev­eral sizes big­ger, and yet it no longer seems em­bar­rass­ing to make an id­iot of my­self in front of my near­est and dear­est. It was ac­tu­ally jolly good fun.

Psy­chol­o­gists say peo­ple pre­dis­posed to blush­ing also tend to be per­ceived as more trust­wor­thy, em­pa­thetic and self­aware. Or just a bit daft, like my hus­band.

123RF

We’ve all done it, and it can be very em­bar­rass­ing ... send­ing a text that falls into the wrong hands.

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