I've found, through my ponderings, that my defense mechanism to avoid feeling embarrassed by awkward personal situations is to...well...make them MORE awkward.
It's like a game.
"Okay, life, you want to make me uncomfortable? I'm calling your bluff. And I'm going to WIN...because I'm not bluffing! Take THAT, social regulatory influences!!"
Usually, it works. My "awkward threshold" is a lot higher than many people around me (let's face it, I've had a lot of practice). This threshold, along with my *aHEM* well-honed wit and naturally mischievous sense of humor, usually works in my favor.
A wise friend of mine told me recently "If you're going to become an expert at something, you are going to fail at it, occasionally."
This was one of those occasions.
Once upon a recent time, I was distracted during a very busy day at work, and, as it occasionally happens with human beings, found myself in need of a bathroom. So, I took off my apron, name tag, and my chef coat, which I wear over street clothes, and headed to the store restrooms. However, being distracted, I mistakenly opened the wrong door, and took a step into the men's room. Whoops! Classic awkward moment, right? No biggie. I'm sure I totally would have figured out I was in the wrong place, eventually.
This eventual discovery was hastened, however, by the fact that I had actually stepped on someone's foot--a particularly cute, MALE someone, also wearing street clothes, who was coming out of said rest area. I was caught!
...Now, in the ensuing awkward eye-contact-and-"what-now" moment, a NORMAL person probably would have stammered some kind of blushing "um...oops...sorry!!", turned around, and gone into their own restroom, embarrassed.
Before I even registered what was going on, I heard myself saying "Oh, haha, so sorry! You know, ever since the surgery, I'm having a hard time remembering which door I'm actually supposed to go through! My bad!"
And then I grinned, winked, turned around, and walked into the women's room.
....Where my eyes went huge, as I realized what I had said. "EVER SINCE THE SURGERY"?? What the heck??! Where did that even COME from??
"Oh, well," says I, to myself, in a desperate attempt at self-soothing. "I guess I'll never see him again. And I wasn't in uniform, so...whatever, I guess. Sheesh. That was close. Idiot Self."
So, I shook it off, laughed at the Awkward, and went back to work.
...it turns out, the very attractive male person in street clothes was ALSO an employee, who works in Produce...a department I happen to visit a lot. Yes, he made the connection that it was me.