August 14, 2005


I had a grand time, a GRAND time at our version of BlogHer. I realized, however, that I am weird.

Yeah, I know. Alert the media.

Let me rephrase. I mean, talking through a couple of things with Mir and Kira, I learned that I am weird in a way I did not before know I was weird. I learned I am hyperactively modest when it comes to people I fringe-know. See, there are three kinds of people in the world. 1) My family and close friends. 2) My Acquaintances. And 3) Total Strangers. I don't mind going to the beach with my family and close friends and several million total strangers. BUT. I would absolutely HATE to go with acquaintances. Especially male ones. Male acquaintances like, say, the greeter I see every Sunday at church or the men Scott works with, are, to me, heads. They sit smiling and making tiny chat atop suits or sometimes polo shirts and slacks, and they don't really have bodies. They are just....kindly heads. With Manners. And Smiles. And maybe feet, you know, decently in shoes, sticking out of the bottom of their completely empty inflated suits of non-body-holding clothing.

AND I LIKE IT THAT WAY. I don't want them to have bodies, actually. They are perfectly delightful as heads, and I never want to see any more of them than that. Not because I am worried that their bodies are unattractive or too attractive....I have no idea. Because they HAVE no bodies to me right now, and I like that. It adds a certain level of decorum to our transactions.

I discovered this little weirdness this weekend; Scott's company picnic was at a water park, and instead of taking Kira and Mir with me, I just bowed out and did not attend. They kept saying OH BUT WE CAN GO IT IS FINE WE DO NOT MIND IF YOU NEED TO GO and I resisted and resisted until my reasons had to be examined. When I tried to REALLY CONSIDER GOING, I had a sudden, horrifying vision of near-but-not-quite-strangers engaging in Synchronized Speedo Prancing. I was spooked. EVEN THOUGH Scott assured me that NO such event would EVER take place, and that IF some dreadful someone suggested it, he would have mercifully drowned the perpetrator of the idea beneath the cyclone slide before it could be realized, my own hyperactive modesty gland secreted such panicked oozings that I ended up needing therapy.

Retail therapy. Mir and Kira took me The Avenue at East Cobb and I got a DARLING short skirt with big splashy flowers and a little V-neck knit top. I realized I had the PERFECT sandals for the outfit, and only then did my heart stop galloping around in my chest like a goaded crack-pony. AH ANN TAYLOR! YOUR LOFT CAN SOOTHE THE SAVAGEST AMONG US!

After the shopping, I was able to rationally discuss my newly unearthed phobia with Mir and Kira. I realized it wasn't just the idea of a swimwear work social that makes me hyperventilate. I could never, for example, attend a Church Social that took place at a pool. If it was just my SUNDAY SCHOOL CLASS, you know, the people I know beyond HELLO HOW ARE YOU OH LOVELY GREAT SEE YOU NEXT WEEK, I would be fine. FINE. In fact my Sunday School has a pool social planned this month and of course I am going. But a CHURCH WIDE swimsuit affair? I WOULD DIE. There's a nice little usher who greets me most Sundays, and if I ever see my church-greeter's nipples, I feel certain I will burst into flame and burn down to a tiny embarrassed cinder. BECAUSE HE SHOULD NOT HAVE ANY. If he MUST have a body at all, it should be smooth and hairless and featureless. Just like KEN.

Yeah. I know. Weird. I DO need therapy.

I better go get another outfit.

Posted by joshilyn at August 14, 2005 5:16 PM

That's just great Joss. Thank you so much! Next Sunday, when I get to church, what will I be thinking about?!!!! Greeter nipples!!!!

Posted by: Dana W at August 14, 2005 11:14 PM

Ooooh, I LOVE the Avenue at East Cobb. Nice choice of therapeutic surroundings!
Ok, I'm with you on thinking of strangers as anatomically neutral. But swimwear is still clothing, and as long as clothing is involved I'm ok. Greeter nipples aside.
I can't believe you spent the weekend with Mir and Kira and GREETER NIPPLES are the topic of conversation. Details, woman! Details! :)

Posted by: Amy at August 14, 2005 11:53 PM

Ok, I was feeling this way about my class reunion, which I decided I didn't need to do. Until now, I didn't think about greeter nipples (you know there was a group of us at church last week that had a pool party...the suit stayed home), now I am really looking forward to the next social! The tingling sensation I get in the middle of my back when anxiety kicks in (similar to how I am feeling now)usually rules my decision to go to these things. AAAAGGGGGGHHHHH!!!!

Posted by: Jane F. at August 15, 2005 8:00 AM

I HATE swimming/pool parties. I've never really examined it, but now that you brought it up, I think I have the same reaction you do. I just don't WANT to see all those people in swimming suits. It makes me feel weird and creeped out. Hmmm. Something to think about.

Posted by: Jensgalore at August 15, 2005 8:58 AM

You mean it's not normal to feel that way? I'm with you on this, oh-so-muchly-much. But then, I still wear slips with dresses.

Off to church. I will have to go in the side door at the last minute, as facing a greeter this morning will not be possible without an inexplicable seizure, which constitutes a "scene", which EPISCOPALIANS DO NOT HAVE.

Yours for more clothing in general,

Posted by: Jilly at August 15, 2005 10:01 AM

Bulls-Eye. I have the same issues with workmates or 'cousins', especially on the in-laws side.

Posted by: Shawn B. at August 15, 2005 10:09 AM

After all these comments, I am beginning to think that perhaps if I had greater nipple-phobia, I'd be less anxious in other situations. It may well be my general acceptance of nipples causing all this other mental illness in my life. So... confusing... cognitive dissonance... closing in....

(P.S. Synchronized Speedo Prancing involves TASSELS, I am certain.)

Posted by: Mir at August 15, 2005 10:26 AM

Synchronized Speedo Prancing that is one terrible mental image. Throwing in the tassels sends me into throws of manical hystronics. Mir you kill me.

While I've known for sometime know I live in a box, it's my box and damn I am quite comfortable here. To find out that people outside of their teens, TV, and the movies not only don, but where bathing suits outside of the fitting room is just more than I think I can handle.

I once, decades ago, drove home to find the neighbor lady weeding her garden in her bathing suit bent over with butt and cellulite facing - oh no not her house that would have been far too kind - the street, my car, and the rest of the world. Now I have her butt and cellulite, there's no way I will stuff my fluff into a skin tight suit and prance (as if I could) outside the fitting room.

Oh mi gosh you just made me realise that the nice elderly Jevohah Witness that brings me tracks every Saturday morning has nipples. It is too cruel a world - what happened to my dream of nice perky cabana boys?

Posted by: Cele at August 15, 2005 11:42 AM

This post made my nipples hurt.

Posted by: ben at August 15, 2005 12:07 PM

Gotta say something else...I can completely see where I have this issue with workmates and 'cousins',too! And now that I think about it, I have had the neighbor lady experience, too, except I was at the gym in the ladies locker room and there was no bathing suit!!!! I think I need therapy now. Anybody for The Avenue?

Posted by: Jane F. at August 15, 2005 1:17 PM

Maybe guys have it a little better, as we grew up with communal locker rooms & showers. Nipples are nothing compared the other anatomical structures that are on parade. Not to mention the urinal "trough" in a certain class of establishment (reminds me of a barn) that makes certain other activities communal. Just think, some religions have steam bath rituals, so you could say that you see nipples AT CHURCH - so to speak. Makes your religious experience a much more personal one.

Posted by: Bob at August 15, 2005 1:26 PM

I totally agree with the whole "nipple" thing...EWWW!

Posted by: Karen Carpenter at August 15, 2005 3:13 PM

There's a lovely bit in a Caryl Rivers novel about a woman who meets her rabbi on a nude beach ... and subsequently has to transfer to a different synagogue. You can see why. Clergy genitals (clergentials?) would be even worse than greeter nipples. Not to minimize your discomfort or anything!

Posted by: Trudy at August 15, 2005 7:07 PM

Stop! Clergy do not have under any circumstances genitals. They all look like Ken dolls naked (anatomically vague).

Posted by: julie at August 15, 2005 8:49 PM

My friend Pam insists that all the boys we hang out with are dickless. It's worse though when you're single, at the beach with a bunch of guys your own age that have always really just shown forearms and possibly shins, and all of a sudden, it's true, the nipples are just scary.

Posted by: Heather at August 17, 2005 5:24 AM