There are a number of social situations whose awkwardness is truly intimidating. Like eating chicken drumsticks with your future parents-in-law or using a toothpick at a restaurant.

Sometimes, though, the very awkwardness of a social occasion serves as a catalyst for disruption and innovation. How? Ever heard of Wok+Wine? No?

Check this out: Facilitating Serendipity with Peel-and-Eat Shrimp



  • serendipity – the occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way
  • shell – remove the shell of something
  • grasp – get mental hold of; comprehend fully
  • divergent – tending to be different or develop in different directions
  • VC – (here) venture capitalist
  • bravado – a bold manner or a show of boldness intended to impress or intimidate
  • silo – a tower or pit on a farm used to store grain, (metaphorically) a barrier  keeping something tightly within, not allowing contact with the outside
  • creme brulee – a dessert of custard topped with caramelized sugar
  • redundancy – the state of being no longer needed or useful
  • commotion – a state of confused and noisy disturbance
  • effervesce – (of a liquid) give off bubbles


Think about it

Based on the text answer the following questions. Leave your answers in the comments below!

  • Describe the awkwardness of the situation in paragraph one. Can you think of other socially awkward situations?
  • What is the idea behind Wok+Wine?
  • Describe the difference between the world twenty years ago and now.
  • What does the author mean by the phrase “with a few tragic exceptions” in paragraph 5?
  • According to the author, why was Wok+Wine actually named Wok+Wine?

Practice makes perfect

In the sentences below replace the phrases in bold with the expressions from the original text. Leave your answers in the comments below!

  • You are among people you don’t know, talking about stuff you don’t always fully comprehend.
  • If we were in insurance, or the fashion business, the odds were that our friends were too.
  • We might have old friends from high school or college, but generally our social world was uniform and isolated.
  • Everyone has been made to abandon conventions and embrace spontaneity.
  • It’s left to us to escape our isolated social circles.


Fill in the blank spaces with the correct forms of the words in capital letters.

But these days, few take pleasure in social ______ REPEAT. We prefer to have the world stirred. We like it when “stuff happens,” when an ______ EXPECT event or companion breaks through the fired surface of our creme brulee of ceremony and lets something else in. That’s when things get ______ INTEREST.” Everyone is now forced out of the rule-book into improv. Forced? Hardly. It’s jailbreak. Everyone (with a few tragic ______ EXCEPT) is thrilled to be released from their ______ CONFINE.


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