Thursday, 6 November 2014

Too much information?

I was talking about my blog with someone last night and explaining why I don't write as much as before. I can't really be myself, I said. I can't say anything I would really want to say for the fear of accidentally offending someone- either the locals, or the expats, or neighbours…the list goes on.

In the past, my blog had always been my personal little world of free speech. An outlet to express my thoughts openly, to make an non-PC joke if I liked to, or use words that are no longer appropriate to use in the western society. Such as a retard. I can say it here, you see? I am such a retard. Yes, you might find it offensive, but so what, it is my blog, and I can do whatever I want here!

And I need this outlet. I need to be able to occasionally joke inappropriately, or be rude, or be silly, or be totally ridiculous. Because that is the real me.

I remember thinking about an old English friend of mine, that he was turning into a rude, bitter, intolerant old man. But, as I, myself, got a bit older, I realised that he had not changed as such. He just stopped caring about being proper, and started speaking out the thoughts he had probably always had but never expressed openly. He must have realised that life was too short to worry about always saying the right thing to be accepted by majority. Those who hate you for it will step aside, giving more space to those who accept you the way you are.

Last night, at my ladies only jewelry party, I relaxed for just a moment and said something that was, in hindsight, perhaps, somewhat inappropriate. But I had a drink (or two…) and I was with my girlfriends. One tends to relax a little in such situation. And so I made a joke about the reasons I had married my husband. Which involved a reference to him being able to cook really well and being good in bed.

And so a friend exclaimed  'No! No! Too much information!!!' and quickly redirected the conversation.

I paused and thought about it. To me, it was just a joke. Was it offensive? Not really. (Not to Husband, anyway.) I thought it was quite carefully phrased, really. I did not give any details of why or how he was good, which to me, would have been, indeed, too much information. For goodness sake, I thought. It was a joke! Amongst women only. Not only women, but friends, people I know for a while now. If I can't make a rude (ish?) joke with my girlfriends, then when and where can I be myself?

The incident made me think of the number of times I  judged people by something they joked about or said, momentarily slotting them into a 'Oh God, he is retarded!' or 'She is just a common tart' category. And, of course, I might have been correct. I usually am. And yes, I used the R word again.

Of course we can, and should, make assumptions about others from what they say. If only everyone was genuine! Wouldn't it be great to find out straight away that someone is racist or stupid or rude? If only were we allowed to say what we really wanted, how much easier would our relationships become? No guessing, no illusions, no disappointments later.

More importantly, it made me wonder how well I really know others around me. Because, with all these endless social restrictions placed upon us, can we ever be ourselves with each other?  As we grow older, the rules become more asphyxiating, more controlling. What topics are appropriate at this dinner party? What's okay to say in front of someone of that religion? What would someone from that country and that cultural background find offensive and what-funny?  Tiptoe very carefully around the politics until absolutely sure. Please, do be careful with disabilities! Don't even think of making any comment about those who claim to be depressed. Be very careful with vegetarians and pet lovers. And dwarfs.

Fine! Lets be polite, let's be proper. But surely, once we established that we are friends, once in a while, under the influence, you know? it might be okay to chill- just a little?, and relax and forget about the social rules and expectations.  And just share a joke or two, however inappropriate they might be. And expect not to be judged.


  1. I'm with you, once you are with friends, you should consider yourself in a safe place to say whatever you feel to. But, what if that "too much infromation" was refered to not wanting to know how good cook your husband is?

  2. Yes, absolutely! I so agree with you! And I, for one, have always really enjoyed your funny blog posts, so keep them coming! And as for offending people, if they are unable to comprehend tongue in cheek comments, then that's entirely their problem!

  3. It's always a problem when you're saying things that can be read by thousands of anonymous people over the Internet. I know I'm more careful (or at least, more gentle) about what I say now that I have a blog.

    People are spoiled by being told what they want to hear all the time. They expect it. They demand it. "No, that dress doesn't make you look fat." "Oh, but your son is so creative!" "You're not a jerk; you're just misunderstood." Pretty soon everyone is swimming in it, and their heads fill up with delusions and mush.

    And this really isn't an exaggeration, because right now there are many, many people who think that

    * People are the way they are because it's how they were raised ( ) or that

    * Boys and girls are only different because society made them that way ( ) or that

    * The Earth is only 7000 years old, hurrah! ( )

    and there aren't enough people to stand up and say sorry, this is wrong.

    So yes, sometimes you really do have to smile and be polite and give it your Soviet best for Uncle Joe. But sometimes you also have to offend two to befriend twelve. And sometimes you have to offend twelve you won't like to befriend two that you will. And sometimes, you have to be the first person to stand up and have the guts to say, "Hey, the emperor has no clothes! And a really little dick!" Because if you won't, then seriously, who else will?

  4. I don't think that was TMI at all, sweetie! Too many ladies - espesh among the Expaterati - have abso zero SOH.
    Luv your blog.
    EJ x

  5. What a vision: a world full of people whose heads have filled up with delusions and mush!!!

    So those of us who are aware of this, and who want to de-delude and de-mush our heads -- what should we do? Seek out rude people to offend us?

    Here in America that would not be TMI.

    You might tell that lady that it was not actually TMI because when you said "in bed" you weren't referring to sex at all, merely cuddling, as you never have sex in bed but rather in the kitchen after he finishes cooking, because it's more exciting being so close to all the knives.