In all honesty, humans have just the same desires as animals: food, sleep and reproduction being the most important ones. Many of us don’t mind behaving just like them, either. What makes us different is our tendency to feel embarrassed about our behavior. We experience a need to explain our behaviors and feelings in situations where it’s impossible to hide them.
“About last night… I do not love you, it was the alcohol.”
Apparently things are less humiliating when you weren’t responsible for your behavior. The only reason why we are not embarrassed upon losing that sense of responsibility is because we secretly love it. Let’s face it, we get wasted because it is our socially accepted explanation for being ourselves (which, sadly, equals being a complete retard in some cases, and taking the freedom of being “loose” a little too literally in others). Shame has brought us hygiene, and for that I am thankful. It would be smelly at the least if everyone pooped on the street like your crazy neighbor(’s cat) does. Glad I am, too, for some reason, that all these fine young men out there don’t shamelessly lick their balls, like dogs do so passionately. (Perhaps they would if their ribs allowed them to, but that’s another, interesting, question.)
Other than that, however, the question why it is that we feel embarrassed all the time should be raised. You have guests coming over, but you ran out of toilet paper. Eek! Your sleepover heard your parents make love. Humiliating! People freak out when they accidently visit the opposite sex’s public restroom.
Understandable, because what to do when reliable sources such as Facebook say you’re a transgender? A piece of lettuce wedged between your front teeth on your first date. The rain on your way to class made your mascara-eyes look like the ones of a panda. That girl from your dorm totally saw that you didn’t wash your hands after visiting the bathroom. You’re trying to pull something out of your purse, but with it came a tampon.
What a punishment life can be. I find it interesting that everyone can associate themselves with these public humiliations, but society has apparently decided that even this is too embarrassing to admit. Instead of accepting the beauty of our human imperfections, we catch ourselves (and I am guilty of this, too) thinking, or even saying out loud: “God, did you see that? I am SO glad that’s not me! Ha ha…” We are all so busy praising our luck that (today) it was not our head that that bird pooped on, that we don’t even realize it is we ourselves that maintain this cycle of daily humiliation.
Even though the amount of stress hormones that shame makes us release is a lot cheaper than the cup of coffee we otherwise would have needed, I ask you to think about all the laughs we could have had together (including the person who made that totally awkward and inappropriate joke) if our environment wasn’t as judgmental as it is nowadays. To set the right example:
Don’t worry, it all happens to me, too.
Doris ter Horst
Columnist Doris ter Horst can be reached at email@example.com