1.05.2006

yet more butt stories...

i've always watched people very closely. mostly because i needed thier approval. it started with my sister. as a child one of my major complaints to my parents about my sister was that "julie looked at me!" yep, that's all it took to make me sensitive. i can laugh at this now. i coudn't for a long time.

these days (and actually for quite a while now) i'm a little healthier, and it's freed up those powers of observation for some other things. not important things, mind you--just other things. like this:

yesterday our cable modem decided to go awol on us. being that alison and i are incurable internet users meant that we had to get it fixed right away. (it amazes me to think about how much time alison and i spend on the internet, and amazes me even more to know that a whole lot of americans are doing the same thing. it's a wonder any of us get anything done.) so the cable guy came out and fixed it pretty fast. he turned on the television to see if everything was working....

hmmmm...i realize now that i gave that introduction to this story as a way to explain what alison and i were doing watching any television in the first place.

anyway, we left the television on, and finished raking leaves in the yard. we came in to eat lunch--television still doing its thing--and sat down in front of it to eat. a show called "judge hackett" was on. it was a people's court kind of show. as they introduced the people who were going to air thier private lives in front of america (kinda like blogs!) i watched as one of the women, who needed to be reimbursed by her "former best friend" for not paying for furniture, approached the podium. the first camera shot framed her as, folder in hand, she took the long walk around the audience to the podium. a second camera angle caught the last seconds of her travels as she stepped onto the podium itself. in the background for this second shot was the audience. i noticed, that as she stepped up, every woman in the audience--in concert--let thier eyes travel down to her butt. they were checkin' out her butt, which was probably pretty large--because i had made the observation, while watching her approach, that she had rather large hips. my goodness, the levels of ourselves we aren't aware of!

second story:

one time, i was sitting cross-legged on a folding table on the bottom floor of the university center at tennessee tech. i still had hair then. it was the summer, i was taking summer classes, and the school was filled more with kids from high school band camps and cheerleading camps than it was college students. i sat there people watching, while across the hallway from me, the president of the university and another venerable professor talked to each other. like the woman on judge hackett, they too had folders under thier arms. while i sat, and they talked, high and junior high school kids of all ilk were walking past us. the majority of them, however, were--i'd say--9th grade cheerleaders. tiny looking, not-quite-women-women.

i looked over at the grey-haired academic and the administrator across the hall to find that, while they continued to talk to each other, they both were taking long and careful looks at the rear ends of these passing girls. they weren't bothering to hide thier glances because i'm quite sure they weren't even aware of what they were doing. it was amazing though. while the girls approached, the men mostly just looked at thier faces, but as they passed by, the kibitzers would slightly cock thier heads--even as they spoke of departmental budget woes--and let their eyes desultorily travel down for a rear end view.

now i would say that i was taking part in this also, but i wasn't. the reason is simple--and worthy of a whole 'nother post: as i said, i still had hair. i must have been 21 or somewhere thereabouts. at 21, my demographic swath of available women was relatively small. perhaps 18 to 25? as i've gotten older i've found that swath getting larger and larger. pleasantly in one direction--i'm proud to say that i find women in their sixties still very attractive--and unpleasantly in another--i find almost no age minimum about which i'm willing to make a sexual judgement. i don't like this. it's snuck up on me. my powers of observation often fail me when it most important--when it comes to awareness about myself.

men seem to be predators. i am no exception. i don't know what else to say about this right now, so i'll just let it float there. comments welcome.

finally, i'd like to make mention of a something important to me: america is very fond of dividing people into categories right now. it's a method of understanding a rapidly more relativistic world. east coast liberal, red-stater, pro-lifer, pro-choicer, gay, straight. i understand folks having to make these dichotomies, but i try not to share in it. for me, and for the people that i most closely associate with, these categories are not important. the reason is this: whether "conservative" or "liberal," these associates share a common bond: the simple wish that all people, everywhere, will be able to achieve thier full humanity.

it's not an easy job. it requires a lot of critical thought. a lot of willingness to look at things we might not even be aware needs lookin' at--and most all of it needs to start at that painful and most unknown place--ourselves. godspeed.

12 comments:

christiemckaskle said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
christiemckaskle said...

Had to correct a mispelling...

1) I relate to the explaining TV thing. Whenever I mention something I saw on tv, I notice my tendency to try to convey the vague impression that I was just passing through the tv room on my way to the laundry room (usually true) tripped and fell right on the power button of that remote that just happened to be pointed at the tv and THAT'S why I saw something on tv.
2) Interesting the narrow range of reasons for checking out other people's bodies. There are your aforementioned reasons, of course. And onto the women in judge hackett's courtroom, I project from my own pathology that most of them were doing a quick self-study; ie, "Is my butt bigger or smaller than hers?"

Kenneth said...

Being called a liberal by Anonymous, below, gave me pause. It was a complete non sequitur -- it always is -- not least because nothing I said in that thread of comments gave any hint as to my ideology. I did confess to wearing shorts that say Wisconsin on the ass, so perhaps Anonymous inferred my politics from that. Wisconsin has a proud progressive tradition.

christiemckaskle said...

Yes, but the nice thing about the anonymous posts is that Alison and Walter are no longer in danger of being considered "blog-snobs." I read somewhere yesterday that blog-snobs are blogger talking only to like-minded friends. So it's a graduation of sorts - a sign that what's being said matters enough to argue about. Congrats!

christiemckaskle said...

hey, and another thing. maybe the difference in why men and women observe butts tells us why the dads alison and i learned about were universally outraged by "pink," while the moms hadn't even noticed that. maybe too many of the moms are so busy worrying about not being able to fit teen girls' shorts that we don't look at them critically enough to protect our daughters?

Anonymous said...

Liberal associates with liberal and is always prejudiced against conservative. The views expressed here are liberal, intolerant, and lack any sort of thought that has not been approved by a hippie elder. You like free speech as long as it ain't uncomfortable, protest Wal-Mart because you can afford to not shop there, and think your noble thoughts while hudreds of people sweat day and night to put a few grams of sugar or no-calorie substitute in your grande' cup of java. Get off your high horse and do something to make the world a better place. Then, maybe average Joe and Jane will think you ain't noblese or sig. noblese.

Walter said...

why are some of our anonymous people so angry, and what can i do to help?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous #5:

we want baxter! we will trade you 3 goats, 8 chickens and two cowbells. give us what we want and we will leave :P

Kenneth said...

The angry anonymous people could try reciting the prayer commonly attributed to St. Francis ("Lord, make us instruments of your peace," etc.). It's a winner.

Walter said...

i was surprised to see that you were going to church, kenneth. surprised and happy for you. i'm currently claiming membership in the society of friends although i've only ever gone to three meetings.


anon #5: that's generous offer, but you can't have her. besides, she's old and crotchety, you've got to put butter on her pills to get her to take 'em, and it's like waitin' on grandma to go anywhere with her.

Anonymous said...

Re: Anonymous Flamer. I do have to say that anyone who can accuse Walter of not valuing free speech or Alison and Walter of not doing "something to make the world a better place" clearly doesn't know either of them well, if at all.

I tend to be skeptical of highly personal attacks couched in liberal vs. conservative terms (particularly ones that assume both terms have a static, clearly identifiable meaning). It's just another form of name calling that doesn't lead to any real debate or communication.

Lastly, I both find butt shorts repellent myself, and yet don't think all men are predators, sexual or otherwise.

Maig said...

Walter,
I really enjoyed this post as well as many others. It's interesting and helpful to read your insights on your growth and learning through the years. That is really a wonderful thing to share. And that you are open- open to discussing your own thinking of the world and open to learning more by listening to different thoughts other than your own. It is a very cool thing like Christie M said to have passionate comments from anonymous readers! Kudos to everyone! for reading and writing and discussing life as it is and why and how and for discussing on all sides what we can do to help each other and better humanity! Like Walter said we always must start with ourselves...and yes sometimes painfully :)
Love,
Megan