Hello! I have decided to start a new series called What We Don’t Talk About Out Loud, abbreviated as WWDTAOL. This came about from my passion for advice columns and because I am not exactly neurotypical. That means I have to think about things in my head before saying shit aloud. In addition, I was taught as a kid that I had to control my emotions to the point of never displaying them–unless it was unquestioning loyalty to my father. To this day, I have to process things really quickly in my brain in order to know the appropriate way to react when someone gives me news of any kind.
I had this idea simmering in the back of my head for some time. One thing the last president showed very clearly is how much our society relies on the social contract. Which, ok, I guess for most harmless interactions*, but doesn’t work that well for the President of the fucking United States. Part of the reason he was able to get away with so much shit was because he simply ignored the social conventions and did what he wanted. It’s hard to say whether he ignored the conventions or just didn’t know they existed. He definitely didn’t care. And his almost feral ability to detract from his bullshit by throwing a hissy fit about everything else until no one remembered the initial incident didn’t help the situation.
But what it underlined for me was how much of social propriety is built upon everyone agreeing on basic principles and following the rules more or less. I’m not talking about actual laws but the social rules that coalesce over times. What we call etiquette and something I give the side-eye to in general. For better or worse, however, we have agreed on a general outline of how we should behave on the daily with more specific rules for specific circumstances.