Vintage Prosey Project: 2014 Prioritization — 10/16/13

Updating the blog here to pull old entries from the pros/e/yes archives…in their original order. This project is simply a unification of my personal blog (with a LOT of NSFW entries) and my professional blog.

Dr. PruthPetals Westheimer’s Hump Day Thoughts

G’mornin’! Hope you are having a sunshine-y Hump Day wherever YOU are. Here, it’s overcast…like the sky is making ready for Halloween or somethin’… All throughout the neighborhood, there are fall-type Halloween decorations. I love Halloween, and am looking forward to putting the bloody handprints on the door windows…the gigantic orange & black window covers on in the office, and getting the ghosty & jack-o-lantern lawn bag filled either later this weekend or some time next week. Gotta keep up appearances, you know.

Which, interestingly, is what today’s entry is about. Appearances.

I’ve noted before that pictures can (and frequently do) tell lies. Photographs are interesting things, come to it…because they hide more than they reveal. At the same time, they are a snapshot of a moment in time, and can…by their very visual nature…grant recall of both precious and precarious pieces of histories. One of my very favorite movie lines ever is from “The Brothers Bloom” by the character of Penelope Stamp (Rachel Weisz) ~ “I don’t know about ‘truths.’ A photograph is a secret about a secret. The more it tells, the less you know.” To me, this is a simple statement that is…simply…true. I could offer a variety of examples from my own albums…but really, I don’t think I need to. Most of us, on some level, can identify with the sensation…particularly looking through any old family albums.

Given where I live…but in no way unique to where I live (just slightly more pronounced, in my observation)…appearances are of the utmost importance. Oh…people make as though that’s not the case…but I see it frequently. Perhaps because of my personality…perhaps because I genuinely no longer give even half a shit about appearances…I have found myself in a (strange) position of being…oh, I guess the word would be “perplexing”…to some of the folks with whom I interact. I find that mostly amusing most of the time. My friend Mother Goose put it this way: “…it’s fun never knowing what you’re going to say.  Just when I think I know how you’ll react or think you’ll respond to some issue, you surprise me.”

That made me laugh. That sentiment has been expressed in far less kind ways also…which is fine. Somewhere along the way, I stopped caring about what people see on the surface, and I stopped caring about surface in others. I couldn’t tell you precisely when that happened, but it did…and I’m glad of it.

What, you might be wondering, is the purpose of this topic …and in a Hump Day writing, no less?

Well, the topic of appearances has quite a lot to do with sexuality and sexual interaction, come to it. Appearances play a role in our assumptions about others. Just this past weekend, in a very innocuous situation (getting a haircut), a conversation I was sharing with the woman cutting my hair revealed her concern for a friend of hers…who had/has concerns about a possible STI contraction. When I (gently) probed for details, the response revealed where those surface/appearance assumptions can (and frequently do) come into play. When I asked how long her friend had been with [the guy], she responded, “about 3-4 weeks.” I explained that, for certain STIs, including the particular one she expressed concern about, there is an incubation period in which no symptoms manifest. Her response was, “Well, my friend is not like that (whatever “that” means)…she goes to church and all that. The guy, though…? He’s one of those weirdos, you know…a ‘freaky’ type of person.”

I just looked at her and said next-to-nothing. I mean, I responded, of course…but ignored the judgmental commentary…and suggested that her friend be examined by a gynecologist to determine one way or another what was going on. I left the conversation at that. I was already annoyed by the very-cute-but-not-what-I-asked-for haircut; being under the weather didn’t help my mood much; and, of course, I don’t know her friend or “the guy”…so I wasn’t about to assert anything — either in support or defense. I just said the most obvious and neutral thing that came to my mind. I placed the conversation in one of my mental bins to consider later…paid the bill…and left the salon.

On consideration, I’m reminded of several things, actually. Thanks to a conversation with an old friend, my “review” of the 50 Shades trilogy surfaced in my thoughts (and a note to said old friend, there is my take on the story for your review, Profesora!). My thoughts also flipped to yesterday’s entry, when I mentioned the “anti-drug” concern within my community because an affluent 16-year-old high school student was found dead after a heroin overdose. Further, even one of the closing comments I referenced from facebook (“they were probably upset when their free lunch *** errrr *** I mean EBT card did not work over the weekend.”) speaks to this same conundrum.

(Quick directed Note #1: For the sake of ensuring understanding why I included it in my thoughts yesterday…I was patently unfair in a comment I made on my own facebook timeline after I read that comment on another old friend’s wall…where I said “It’s pretty bad when you feel sympathy for a friend’s situation (minor though it is) and have to leave the thread because of an ignorant asshole’s comment.” — I should not have said that…I don’t know personally the individual who made the dickish comment at all…he might be an asshole, he might not be, and I shouldn’t have called him any name at all. Still, the commentwas dickish, which was what I was referring to, and my personal integrity won’t allow me to reference something here without making the [applicable] friend aware that space in my public blog has been utilized in such a way.)

Anyway, back to that conundrum…the three above examples…just three out of gajillions…speak to the incredible disconnect existent to what we see and what may or may not even be remotely true. In the case of the 50 Shades trilogy, one of my many complaints about the books was the assumption that because someone is into domination/submission in the sexual realm that they must somehow be “damaged goods” ~ when such is likely NOT the case…even remotely. Or, at the very least, no more damaged than any of the rest of us in the American population…particularly with the sexual mixed messaging that is all around us. In thinking on that affluent kid who was found dead (you know, because drugs), why does it come as such a seeming shock that affluence has anything to do with substance dependence and addiction? Further…why is there a seeming shock that when that affluence bears white skin, it is somehow something that demands public awareness raising? Lastly, of these examples given, why…if someone happens to qualify for EBT or some other form of public assistance, why is the assumption that they’re on a free lunch ride or some equally dickish bullshit?

I’m not suggesting that we not trust our senses…not at all. We have senses for a reason, and trusting our intuition is one of those evolutionary things that has kept us alive as a species for…well…millennia, honestly. However, the balance to trusting our intuition is recognizing that our intuition can be (and all-too-frequently is) flawed…and wrong. This is just as true (and perhaps especially true) with respect to sexuality and sexual interaction. Assumptions (positive AND negative) frequently…all too frequently…are disastrously incorrect.

Of course, one of my main personal focuses in terms of education in this realm is the assumption (by parents) of “Not my child” ~ which is a combination assumption and denial…but I’m not writing about that specifically today. It is just (sadly, yet) another example of wrong-headed assumptions that are made…because of a gut-clench and/or knee-jerk.

I touched (very lightly) on the topic of assumptions…and my frustrations with those assumptions…in Monday’s entry (which is what the imagery reading “NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR BROKEN WINDSHIELDS”) is all about. It’s fitting, too, that the image of Ted Cruz & Sarah Palin is at the top of that entry, because they (and people like them) are disproportionately guilty of wrong-headed assumptions that have disastrous outcomes.

(Note #2: See? I told you on Monday that I would eventually connect the dots…)

Anyhoooo…enough for today. I have more thoughts on this topic, but I’ve said about all I wish to right the moment about them. For now, I have other research to attend to that I’ve been putting off (what I mentioned last week). More about that tomorrow or Friday.

For today: Happy Hump Day!!

P/L/S
~dw

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