woman with knees knocked and mouth hanging open looking befuddled

“A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing.”
—George Bernard Shaw

Test Your Gaffe Quotient

When helping a friend mount her horse, are you apt to:
A. Hold out your hand for her to step on
B. Offer your hand but then distractedly withdraw it just as she’s about to step on it
C. Hold out your hand and give her such a generous push that she sails right over the horse

When you’re trying to express your embarrassment in Spanish, are you likely to use:
A. avergonzado (embarrassed)
B. embarazada (pregnant)
C. English

When you see a woman with a plump belly are you likely to:
A. Say nothing about it
B. Mention your latest dieting techniques
C. Ask her when the baby is due

When you mention to an acquaintance that you recently ran into her young son with his grandfather and she says, “No, that must have been his father,” are you likely to reply:
A. “Oh, I’m so sorry.  I must have confused your son with someone else.”
B. “No, I’m sure it was his grandfather; the man was really old!”
C. “It my mistake. I now learning the English.”

When was the last time you stumbled in front of a crowd:
A. In kindergarten
B. In sixth-grade basketball
C. Last week

In dressing for an important occasion—a date, a job interview, your wedding—are you more likely to:
A. Dress meticulously, with your clothes pressed and tucked in decorously.
B. Wear clothing that is too casual, too formal, or off-season
C. Misbutton, crinkle, tangle, tuck your dress into the waistband of your tights, or pop your tuxedo studs

If you’re with someone you want to impress are you most likely to:
A. Talk about trips you’ve taken
B. Make a trip of the tongue
C. Take a trip on the carpet

Have you ever (give yourself one point for each “yes” answer):
•  Called your sweetheart by the wrong name?
•  Asked a woman when the baby was due when she
     wasn’t pregnant?
•  Unintentionally worn a garment backward
    or inside-out?
•  Confused the words “aesthetic” and “ascetic,”
    “penultimate” and “ultimate,” or “nauseous”
    and “nauseated”?
•  Issued an invitation that neglected to mention
    the time, date, or place?
•  Told the person slated for a surprise birthday party
    that you’d see them at the party?
•  Split your pants in public?
•  Arrived at a wedding late and found yourself
    marching down the aisle just before the bridesmaids—
    or just after the bride?
•  Popped your shirt studs while wearing a tuxedo—or
    your buttons while wearing a dress?
•  Assumed the mother of a child was the grandmother?
•  Reflexively answered “You, too” to such well wishes
    as “Have a good flight” to a ticket agent or “Enjoy
    the movie” to the teen in the box office?
•  Arrived at a surprise birthday party at the same time
    as the guest of honor?
•  Invited people to Thanksgiving dinner, dressed the
    turkey, and then forgotten to turn on the oven?
•  Stepped on the gas when told to press the brake
    during a car inspection?
•  Mistaken a man for a woman—or vice versa—
    on the phone or (two points!) in person?
•  Issued an invitation that stated, “The honor of your
    presents is requested.”

What was the largest ocean before the Pacific was discovered?
(Award yourself one point for answering anything other than “the Pacific.”)


Give yourself one point for every B you answered and two points for every C.

0–8     Where’s your sense of fun?

9–11     You’ve discovered the wonders of blunders!

12–14  Welcome to the Flub Club

15–17   You’ve achieved Super Blooper status

18–32  You give new meaning to the term
                “Idiot Proof”!

The Movie
Gaffers Quiz

And we don’t mean the ones lighting the sets.

Submit Your Gaffe
See your shame in lights!

Visit the Gaffe Store
at Amazon.com

Need Freudian slippers? A backward-running clock? Primers on getting rich by making mistakes? You’ll find it all here.