Not Interested
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Not Interested • Posted: Nov 17, 2013 11:13:20Comments WelcomeVote CoolPhotoblogsPurchase a PrintShare

Awkward geeky young man notices and admires handsome young woman. Handsome young woman notices creepy guy staring, stiffens, momentarily sneers, then continues past, struggling to appear cold, distant, uninterested. Does the ploy work? Or, would she be better off smiling perfunctorily in passing, acknowledging yet politely declining his interest? And, instead of silently suffering the usual rebuff, wouldn't he be better off saying something to help her feel less threatened?

Where exactly is the line, and the responsibility, when it comes to ensuring no one takes offense when sexual desirability is unwittingly or intentionally displayed or appreciated?

Of course she wants to be looked at and admired. Why else the outrageous boots? It's not like she expects to go trout fishing. And, can he really be faulted for taking notice? After all, it's a public sidewalk she's striding down. It's not as if he's responding with cat calls and lewd come ons, grabbing his crotch and stroking it for her. But things are on the edge. Feelings are being stirred. Both he and she appear to be struggling with discomfort, unknowing just what might assuage.

The U.S. education system does not attend to the subject of manners. And it shows in the social awkwardness of young to middle-aged adults whenever they find themselves in unfamiliar situations. I can't remember my generation being specifically taught manners, either. But I do remember struggling to pick them up as I moved from one new social situation to another during my youth. Understanding my own feelings was half the battle. Learning to discern and address the feelings of others was, of course, the rest of the struggle. And it continues so today.

No one knows or has mastery of all possibilities. But a few basic techniques and principles can take one a long way into the unknown. So, why cannot those few basics be taught as common core to all else addressed by formal education? Imagine the operation of Congress if such were the case. Imagine our work places. Wouldn't job satisfaction be higher? Wouldn't unemployment be lower?

May the culture around you offer you insight into better understanding and appreciation of both yourself and those with whom you have social interaction. And may that insight help to smooth the future before you to the betterment of all concerned.

Friday, November 1st, 2013
San Francisco