The title is your warning. If you are 16 and under, dont read this. If you do or are a parent, send your cards and letters to the Pope or the President. This is my blog! :-)
I have actually been thinking about this for quite some time and cant seem to arrive at a decision or thought that satisfies my curiosity. There are actually two topics: the first encompasses most of the free world as we know it and the second seems to be more of a European thing.
First, when and why did it become acceptable, and dare I say, fashionable to show your underclothes when walking around in public? By the mere defintion of the word, underwear is to be worn UNDER your outer layer of clothing. I saw this in States before I left but not nearly as much as here. And I imagine that is because I worked for Corporate America and there are some places where clothing standards still exist. But having the opportunity to walk around in public any time I want has opened my eyes to this frustrating trend. Women are showing their bras becaue they are too lazy to buy one without straps or shaped to conform to their top and they dont even try to match the colors. I remember as a kid, the only women whose straps showed were the really heavy women whose straps were about a foot thick and impossible to hide! But now, it pretty much seems that anything goes. I am not a prude by any stretch of the imagination. I have a 'past' like most and I can go to the Lido now and not gawk at the naked people, but I just dont understand why this is happening. Must we really leave nothing to the imagination anymore? Do we have to show ALL of our cleavage or can we just be a bit more modest? I am certainly not calling for a return to Puritan times, but it is frustrating that everything seems to be about showing off and being comfortable. And, please, I am American, where we are the Kings of Comfort, so I know I am preaching to the choir, but isnt this going overboard just a bit? And as I walk around and look at the department store windows, none of them have their bra straps showing or cleavage down to their navels...so just who is promoting this fashion trend? And dont think it is just the women. Men have taken up this disgusting habit of showing their underwear all day long. Do you really want to look at someone's BVD's when you are walking around? And why would they think you would want to? Who is in charge of these things and how do I write to my congressman about it?! Well, you get the idea---those are my thoughts and opinions on the matter and the only comfort I have is in knowing that most fads are just that...they come and go and hopefully soon, we will return to some sense of modicum when wearing underwear.
The other topic is a bit more controversial. I realize that in different cultures, certain gestures can either be positive or negative. For example, in some places I understand it is actually a great compliment if someone burps at the table while most of us probably think that is rude. But with that understanding in mind, I am still having trouble with this one. The European men are ALWAYS touching themselves. What is this about? I remember a friend who was raising her 7 year old and was always telling him not to touch his 'turtle' in public. Seems reasonable enough to me. Afterall, if you are going to get grossed out because someone has their finger up their nose, how much more so when they have their hand in their crotch. And I am not talking about casual passes over the general area. No. The other night at dinner, we were next to a couple from Germany. Younger couple--not sure if dating or married but obviously on vacation together. During the middle of the meal, he put his fork down and put his hand down through his waistband and fidgeted to get under his underwear and, lets just say, stayed there a while. What I wanted to do was tell this girl to RUN...he obviously has a bad case of cooties or absolutely no manners whatsoever--either of which is grounds for leaving, I think. I have witnessed this sort of behavior over and over again. When you walk around Venice (as in most Italian cities), there are the African men who are selling the illegal/fake purses. As they stand there and try to hawk you over to them in a variety of languages, they are scratching and verifying and whatever else they are doing. Do you really think I want you to hand me a purse after your hand has been in your pants? I'd rather you be picking your nose--feel a bit safer that way. On a funny note, however, I was told that when an Italian funeral procession passes (this did not happen at the one I was at yesterday, thank goodness), and people stop in respect, you will see all the men grab themselves. Apparently some superstition and/or verility check, but nonetheless amusing. I am completely understanding of the fact that as humans, sometimes we have inconvenient things that happen when we are in a public place, so I will begrudge you the occasional pull or scratch, but the amount of activity going on here is a bit out of hand (no pun intended). But rest assured, I am going to find out if this is an epidemic (like the plagues of the 1300's) or just a bad habit, that hopefully will pass when the next fad arrives! My guess, however, and at the risk of making sweeping generalizations, is that its a man thing!
So, there you have it. Some of my most bizarre thoughts as I walk my miles around Venice. I imagine that the most of you were not the least bit interested in knowing about these thoughts of mine, but that's the beauty of having a blog. I write and you read.