Archives, Sound & Fury, XX Marks The Spot

Stop reading the title of this post!

Lord knows you won’t find a less charitable critic of the “your shoes say so very much about you” school of thought than yours truly, but I find myself unable to reject, wholesale, its central tenet, which is this: what you wear can send a message to the people you interact with. For example, if you wear a t-shirt that says “touch my boobies“, you are sending the message that you would like someone to touch your boobies. Yes, you are. Oh, I know that you meant it ironically. And do you know what the horny eighteen-year-old who asked you out after he saw you in that shirt has a really good appreciation of, because he’s been paying extremely close attention in the remedial English class he couldn’t place out of? That’s right, irony.

More generally: if you don’t periodically find yourself thinking, “You know, the problem with the world today is that people read too damned much, perhaps it’s time to discourage folks from reading the stuff they see around them”, then maybe you ought to think long and hardbefore “[using] your body as a billboard“. Even – no, especially – if you’re only doing that for the purpose of (ironically!) “[showing] corporate America that you’re not one”, and by the way, if anyone who passed Doublethink 101 would care explain that one to me in the comments, why, I’d be much obliged.

Because here’s the thing: I am, for the most part, wholly uninterested in boobies. When I talk to women, I make eye contact with them the entire time, unless they’re gesturing with their hands, in which case I’ll look at their hands as well. I will not look downward. Again: I am wholly uninterested in boobies.

However, if my interlocutor has text printed across her tits, then yes, my gaze will move southward, and linger for as long as it takes for me to finish reading. DESPITE MY LACK OF SEXUAL INTEREST IN BREASTS. English text implicitly invites readers (see also, “society, literacy-based”) even when it explicitly reads “stay away”. You have to first read it in order to get the “stay away” message.

“The show is upstairs”? Fine. I’d never have even ventured onto the second floor in the first place if you hadn’t invited me there. And now? I’m pretty sure I’m not even interested in the show anymore.

(Although, it looks like there’s something going on on the first floor, if you catch my drift. Me, when I want someone to not look at my crotch, I wear something on top of my underpants. Even though that’s not politically progressive! Whatever.)

[Update: This is worse. If you ever see anyone wearing that first shirt, play dumb and ask him to check out that nasty-smelling vaginal discharge you just noticed. Hey, he offered!]

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