I Got To Wondering

That’s wondering, as distinct from wandering, which I also have a tendency to do, but then at my advanced age, what do you expect?

Anywaa-aay… I got to thinking about all the various conventions and attitudes by which we live – they are certainly many and varied around the world, but how do they develop? What first made people in parts of Asia start to believe that showing the soles of your feet was somehow “rude”? Or, come to that, why throwing a shoe (or was it shoes?) at the then President G. W. Bush of the USA was so insulting (apart from the possibility of hitting him on the head and knocking some sense into it). That is something that occurs all over the place, but it is much more an Arab (and perhaps Asian) thing than any other since it is apparently they who mostly tend to consider shoes as “dirty” or “unclean”.

I suppose, though, that the strangest and most wildly varying attitudes around the world are those that we have towards nudity and sex (you knew I’d get around to my favourite subject sooner or later, didn’t you?)…

In the so-called developed world, the UK is a bit on the puritanical side at times, though we seem fascinated by the sex lives of others, most notably celebrities. Nudity also seems to worry us too, but again not that of others – especially when it comes to pictures of pretty young women in newspapers like the Sun. The Germans will apparently, as someone once said to me, strip off anywhere and in front of anyone, though I can’t say that fills me with a huge amount of anticipation, with the notable exception of Heidi Klum and a few like her. The French? Who knows what the French really think about anything? The Latin countries, like Spain and Italy in particular seem to me to have a very healthy attitude to nudity and sex, neither of which usually phase them in any way and they are both usually regarded as part of life’s rich pattern – a nice and enjoyable part – and that sounds about right to me.

Arab countries and others who follow the Moslem faith are generally way out of date (to my way of thinking), but then so are most of their more rigid attitudes to women. Their often total ban on even a husband and wife showing affection towards each other in public seems to me to be simply archaic and, in truth, outright stupid. Again, though, that’s just my opinion and I confess that there’s not much that I properly understand about Islam – although what I do know does nothing to encourage me to study it further. Yet the fact is that many, if not all, of our ingrained attitudes that are not the result of simple superstition and myth probably have their root somewhere in one organised religion or another – and each to his own on that one! What people believe about their preferred deity is personal and none of my business… except…

Well… where do American attitudes to nudity and sex come from? It seems to me (quite possibly wrongly) that their approach to those subjects is chock full of contradictions. Their (laudable in my opinion) position on free speech and freedom of expression allows that almost anything goes and yet their underlying mind-set appears to be one that exhibits cultural insecurity in the extreme. There are (I understand) strict and precise rules about the amount of “butt crack” that can be shown along with gasps of shock-horror if a woman should go topless on a beach (I realise that some of these things may vary from state to state) and yet just about anything is seemingly for sale in nightclubs and strip joints, lap dancing clubs and so on. I mean, where does this dichotomy come from?

Sorry, but I really don’t get it! If you believe in a benign and loving deity, then surely you have to believe that sex was given to humanity for us all to enjoy, or it makes a total nonsense of your own beliefs. If you don’t believe, then what the heck’s your problem with what has clearly driven our very creation and further growth into the modern human race?

Anyone want to explain? 😉

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4 Responses to “I Got To Wondering”

  1. America is very puritanical compared to most of the rest of the world. However, we need to remember why. It was settled by Puritans.
    So it started out a million miles the other way from anywhere in Europe. I think it’s “progressing” at about the same rate as the rest of the world, it’s just the same amount behind as it’s always been.
    Why? Ya got me.

    • Hi Krissa. Yes, good comment. I’m sure you’re right. In fairness, I think many of the most puritanical came from England in the very beginning – well, we had to get rid of them somehwere, didn’t we? 😆

  2. Saucy in San Diego Says:

    I’m so glad that I found the time to come back to your blog! I myself, born and raised in California, have had changing views of sexuality throughout my upbringing. You and I both know where I stand on sexuality today, but your post had me wondering how I came to my own feelings on the matter. I have no answer for myself! But America in general does seem fairly confused on the matter. People talk about it like it’s a problem to be open with one’s sexuality, but then that’s all anyone wants to talk about. People are quick to talk about everyone else, but not necessarily about themselves (but I don’t think that’s just an American thing!) I’m sure you can guess, but I will LOVE to go to Italy and see how they really view sexuality!

    • Hi, welcome back, Saucy 🙂

      Yes. I know exactly what you mean by all of that and I think you’re right that a lot of different peoples are more than a little confused by their own attitude to sex and sexuality.

      Much of that does, I suspect, stem from religious beliefs, but then (in spite of what many would have us beieve) organised religions (possibly as distinct from the deities they follow) are entirely man-made (that is, mostly literally male made) and therefore they would naturally reflect the already present human confusion of those who created them.

      In one particular respect in particular, that of how we view our own and others’ sexuality, I personally think that simple logic says we place far too much importance on sex. It’s fun! We enjoy it! These days it doesn’t have to result in offspring we don’t want/aren’t ready for, so what’s the goddamned problem,eh? 😉

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