Him: Where did you get your cloak?
Me: I made it.
Him: I really like the hood.
Me: Hehe, I got overtaken by whimsy and now I look like a refugee from Harry Potter!
Him: I have one just the same, only mine's made of pure silk..
Me: *experiences cognitive dissonance*
About deviance. Not to say that owning a pure silk cloak with a pointy hood when you work in construction is particularly deviant, not at all, but based purely on first impressions, the guy looked more like he'd have pants made of leather and a hat made entirely of chains and barbed wire, you know? He certainly portrayed the 'real kiwi joker' image, until he started talking about his silk cloak. Maybe he thought I was a kindred spirit with my own pointiness?
Anyway, it got me thinking about appearances, and what people choose to reveal about themselves or not. I think that everyone's deviant in some way - even my Mum, who married a man 20 years her senior. "What?" I hear you say, "That's not deviant." Well, in sociological terms, yes it is. It's outside the norm, and anything that deviates from the norm is, well.. deviant. And keeping your deviances hidden seems to be quite important in maintaining 'civilised society'.
Foucault waxed at length about this, in a fairly convoluted and incomprehesible-to-many kind of way. He reckoned that by hiding our deviance we're giving society the power to label us as deviant. Or something like that anyway (you can never really tell with Foucault).
Sexual behaviour is one of the more obvious places where this happens. One's sex life is supposed to be private, and enjoying things that are not 'normal' by the standards of society is doubly so. But I have a bit of a problem with this.
OK, so getting naked and having it off in public is not socially acceptable behaviour - I do understand that (much to the relief of many people I see IRL I'm guessing). I don't really understand why it's become so important to hide sex, given that we all do it, we all know we all do it, and without it none of us would be here*. Visually it's probably only aesthetically pleasing to those participating, but you could say that about a lot of things that are acceptable to do in public.
So what is it about sex that makes it so totally wrong to be public about it? Why does it have to be private? And if one has a sexual kink, why do we keep it quiet?
I've been thinking about this and the only reasons I can come up with that someone would be secretive about their sexual kinks go something like this:
1. Fear of disapproval. Society only accepts a pretty generic and quite tame idea of what's sexually 'normal', and anything outside that is likely to meet with disapproval and/or consternation.
2. That disapproval and/or consternation is likely to lead other people to view the person with the kink differently from how they would if they didn't know about it, and therefore treat them differently. This treatment may extend to any partners who participate in the behaviour with the person.
3. People don't want to be treated differently. They want the benefits of being perceived as 'normal' and therefore safe - although I'm unclear on how having a sexual kink makes a person unsafe. Certainly the people I know who are public about their kinks are no different, my-safety-wise, from anyone else. In fact in a lot of cases, I consider these people to be safer. Engagement in edgy behaviour causes one to consider and be responsible for things that staying inside the boundaries of 'normal' does not.
DISCLAIMER HERE: I think some people are misinterpreting what I've written here. When I say that I consider openly kinky people to be 'safer', I don't mean that they are safer from society than 'normal' people, I mean that they are safer for me to be around, ie safer FOR society because of knowledge and responsibility that comes with edgy behaviour.
So anyway, we keep these secrets for the sake of being treated the same as everyone else. Which is weird given the acceptance of difference we're supposed to be learning these days.
What I am still wondering, is what is a reasonable level of disclosure regarding one's own deviances? How does one judge such a thing, and what sort of things would you consider before making revelations about your own kinks, and who would you reveal them to if you were going to?
This is the bit where you're probably expecting some revelation about how I like to bathe in frogs. WON'T ANYBODY THINK OF THE FROGS???!!!?? Nope, no confession/revelation/bombshells being dropped in this post. Mostly I'm curious, especially given my leaning towards trying to be as open as possible about my own life. I wonder where others' boundaries sit on this, and why I still have certain blocks to talking about some things.
* Actually, some of us might be here sans sex - we were all born since the invention of the turkey baster after all - but just bear with me mmk?
Hmm, that's a lot to come from some random meeting with a tough-guy with a penchant for silk robes with pointy hoods, huh? I think too much.
In other news, New Spam Tack! Add the subject line "You're a moron." Sure to get people buying your product. Or how about "Always good loving attack!" Go on, you know you want to....