Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Public decency

It's interesting to think about what we share and what we don't. I am an avid user of the app/website goo.dreads and I set a reading goal at the start of the year to read 40 books. Then in November I realized I hadn't really watched my progress and had logged only 25 books. I quickly opened my reading app and browsed the contents, realizing I'd read 20 books in the previous month or two alone and if I just listed those, I had exceeded my annual goal.

Then I looked twice at the covers of the books. Mostly naked or shirtless guys, some partially clothed women, almost all romance novels. I decided that the more NC-17 sorts of books would stay off the public list because...  I really couldn't tell you why my romance novel habit is so embarrassing that I won't list all the mediocre smut I read publicly. I suppose it's a way to protect my anonymity and maintain my privacy. The particular sub-genre I read a ton of this year is perhaps more mortifying in the light of day than just some R or NC-17 romances.

It makes me wonder why the shame around sex sticks in my mind so well. Or I'm not even sure if it's shame or not, but it probably is. The other folks at work were having a borderline nsfw discussion and I certainly could have added to it in a suitably raunchy way, but I just smiled and said nothing. On the one hand, perhaps that's boss-like to avoid saying inappropriate things. Mostly I suspect it's the result of the closet I am still kind of in. My policy on my sexual orientation and gender identity is that I will tell if someone asks but I don't volunteer information. My relationship looks hetero and cis so nobody questions and I don't tell. A chunk of it is that public, face-of-the-company employees get held to a higher standard than everyone else and I don't want who I am to impact things in this small town if I can hide and keep being me in private and respectable in public.

I also wonder what life would be like if we were totally honest. Would it hurt us all or would we be better for it? Why do we have moral standards anyway when the taboos being broken through different sorts of sexual relationships aren't hurting anyone (thinking of teh gayz and the polyamorous folk, maybe polygamy, non-cis gendered folks specifically)? Who is kept in power by all that moral high ground they claim and why is it so beneficial to have (or argue that you do)? People are so weird sometimes and then needlessly cruel to each other.