Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Exposure

I'm always astonished at those people who have no inhibitions whatever about exposing every aspect of their lives, no matter how personal or controversial, to the entire population.

They appear happily on TV shows telling their amazed audiences how often they've shoplifted or driven while drunk or taken sickies* or had sex with their bosses. Far from being embarrassed, they seem to be proud of their extravagant behaviour, as if they're living life to the full while the rest of us are timid introverts not daring to do anything out of the ordinary.

I'm not complaining. They're not doing any harm to anyone (unless their fearless honesty includes a bit of fearless putting-the-boot-in**). And it's up to them how they want to live their lives and how private or all-revealing they want to be. What's it to do with me?

In fact it can be very enjoyable, in a morbid-curiosity kind of way, listening to someone confessing to the sort of outrageous behaviour I would never indulge in unless I was seriously under the influence.

But I'm never sure if their full-on disclosures imply simply a natural personality unspoilt by the normal adult scruples, or if they're ego-trippers seeking as much attention as possible and terrified of being ignored. And does it matter anyway?

Certainly many of us have learnt to be cautious about what we say or don't say for fear of people's frosty or censorious reactions. We err on the side of discreet silence rather than blurting something out that we might regret for weeks afterwards.

Even with close friends we've known for decades, we might hesitate to reveal something too intimate or unusual, something that despite their affection and loyalty they might still find too hot to handle.

I well remember an occasion many decades ago when I got so drunk I actually lost consciousness for an hour or so. My first feeling when I came to was terror that I might have said or done something utterly scandalous without realising. Did I try to seduce someone? Did I tip wine over the host? Thankfully I was assured that I'd done nothing shameful.

The idea of flamboyantly emptying myself out to the world at large fills me with horror. I'd rather eat my own left leg.

* pretending to be too sick to work
** having it in for someone

23 comments:

Jenny Woolf said...

I have done enough cringe making things when fully conscious and sober actually. II think that people who reveal all are either a bit sad or else - more likely - don't look back much and dont regret things.

Scarlet Blue said...

Well Nick, I'd polished off a bottle of scotch for breakfast, I don't know what had gotten into me, but before I knew it I was running topless through the shopping precinct...
For the rest of this torrid tale, please tune into my blog next Wednesday.
Sx

Nick said...

Jenny - Well, I don't look back much and I don't regret things, but I still wouldn't bare my soul so freely!

Scarlet - Ooh, I'm all agog, tell me more! Was all this before or after you went berserk in the supermarket and wrecked the pizza cabinet?

Grannymar said...

Did I ever tell you about when I.....? Sorry I decided to keep it a secret. Well, for this week anyway! ;)

Nick said...

Grannymar - Oh, go on, do tell! You'll feel so much better once you've got it all out....

Bijoux said...

What shocks me the most are the reality shows featuring people breaking the law....as in polygamy and moonshine making! I don't understand: 1) Why the law isn't breathing down their necks, and 2)Why the law breakers want to flaunt their illegal activities??

John Gray said...

That bloody awful woman from Big Brother and the god awful loose women, jumps into my mind after reading this.....
I despair sometimes

Nick said...

Bijoux - That's right, if people are breaking the law, why aren't the police hot on their tail? They're just asking for trouble.

John - Which bloody awful woman? There are so many of them, gabbing away non-stop (and men, I hasten to add). No golden silence hereabouts....

Wisewebwoman said...

I think you're talking about exhibitionists, Nick, the ones who are driven to expose everything no matter how demeaning in the hope of getting some attention for themselves a la Warhol.
I always pride myself on my life being a fairly open book but had to get a grip recently when I calmly said "I was engaged to two fellows at the same time" and the room went completely silent.
I am going to censor myself forthwith.
XO
WWW

Secret Agent Woman said...

I had to scroll right down to find out what "sickies" were (not nearly as interesting as I'd hoped!) and still am scratching my head over "putting-the-boot-in." But enough about Briticisms.

People have varying degrees of exhibitionism. Some of us (say, me) blog a little more openly than others of us (say, you.) And I have a few close friends that I tell things I wouldn't dream of putting on my blog. I know, right? You thought I couldn't possible have more to hide.

I agree with Bijoux about the law-breaking ones. It boggles my mind that their bragging doesn't land them in prison. And I don't understand bragging about stupidity. But maybe because we all have different criteria for stupidity?

Nick said...

www - Not sure they're all exhibitionists. I think some people simply have no inhibitions and say and do exactly what comes to mind. Engaged to two guys at once? I see a blog post in the making....

Agent - Putting the boot in? That just means having it in for someone, laying into them (originally a physical kicking). I like the term Briticisms.

I always think I'm fairly revealing on my blog, but I guess compared to some I don't reveal that much. There are some things I would never confess to anyone except Jenny.

kylie said...

nick you are one of the least revealing people on your blog! all objective as you are!

i am pretty much an open book but i have a few things i am selective about telling, a person must protect themselves.

and facebook, my blog or television are a little too exposed for the things that may be used against one.

xo

Nick said...

Kylie - Is that so? In that case, how little I know myself! I must try to be a bit more forthcoming in future....

There again, I wouldn't have said you yourself were an open book. I think there're plenty of things you keep to yourself.

kylie said...

i read between the lines so i (think i) know everything and you should be afraid!
very afraid

Nick said...

Kylie - Wot, you know all about the love-child and my collection of high heels? And I thought I'd hidden it all so carefully.

Rummuser said...

Nick, I try to share my life experiences with my readers in my blog. I am quite open about those experiences, bad or good. I would however not participate in a reality show and share all the skeletons in my cupboard.

Nick said...

Ramana - That's true, you share your life very openly. But I'm sure like all of us you have a few scary skeletons you'd rather keep to yourself.

Anonymous said...

I'm shocked - SHOCKED I tell ye - to discover that you harbour longings to eat your own left leg. I'll never be able to look at you in the same light even again.

On the other hand - revealing all - or a lot - saves you the trouble and energy of concealment. It's a bit like unilaterally deciding not to bother nursing a grudge - liberating you to go off and do something else unburdened.

(I'll post as anonymous to circumvent your security - but it's really me www.blackwatertown.wordpress.com )

Los Angelista said...

Leg eating? C'mon now, tell us ALL the sordid details. ;)

I go back and forth on this. On the one hand, I think it's great that people can connect with others and discuss their problems. On the other hand, people really do have no shame about sharing every single personal detail about their lives. Nothing is sacred anymore to folks.

Nick said...

Blackwater - I'm mystified by your problems with commenting, as I don't have problems myself and other people seem to be managing okay. Must be some Blogger peculiarity.

Left legs are very tasty, I'm told, much tastier than right legs. Yes, I guess revealing all saves the trouble of concealment, but on the other hand you might have the extra trouble of people getting upset, taking offence, slapping you in the face etc.

Nick said...

Liz - The next post will be a world exclusive on Nick's shameless leg-eating tendencies.

I'm as ambivalent as you on this spill-it-all-out, I've-got-nothing-to-hide attitude. Some of it's definitely exhibitionistic.

Eryl said...

The people on these shows always seem to be rather damaged in some way, their cries for attention really cries for help. They are rarely the brightest of minds and often seem very vulnerable despite their bravado. Such shows are, I think, the modern equivalent of the freak shows so popular with the Victorians. They exploit but they also serve some kind of social need. We get to feel smug for not being that stupid/outrageous/imoral, the exhibits get heard.

I have a rather nice recipe for leg. Admittedly I've only ever tried it with pork but I've heard human flesh is similar to pig.

Nick said...

Eryl - You might be right about the cries for help and the vulnerability. I do wonder just how aware they are of what they're doing. Indeed, there's a bit of the freak show element in it, and unfortunately there's always an audience for that.

I just hope I never get stuck on a desert island with someone and sooner or later we're desperate for food....