Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Cleaning Out the Blog Fodder File

Every day, I bookmark interesting websites or e-mail items to myself that I think might make interesting blog posts. These e-mails and bookmarked websites go into my Blog Fodder file for future use. Eventually, much like my garage*, the file fills bulges against its confining walls and cries out for relief, causing me to pick out a few items to combine into an odds-and-ends post. Like this one. Read on, and learn about some of the quasi-intellectual shiny objects that have caught Bilbo's eye over the past weeks and months ...

While commuting to work every day, I like to sit by myself whenever possible so that I can read or nap. Unfortunately, the Metro cars tend to fill up quickly, and so I almost always end up with someone sitting next to me. The task, then, becomes this: given that someone is going to sit next to me, what can I do to ensure that I get the least-objectionable seatmate?

This article offers some suggestions - How to Keep Strangers from Sitting Next to You: A Study. Researcher Esther Kim from Yale University observed travelers on buses around the country, and compiled her observations of the ways people employ to avoid sitting next to other people. She writes that,

"We engage in all sorts of behavior to avoid others, pretending to be busy, checking phones, rummaging through bags, looking past people or falling asleep. Sometimes we even don a 'don't bother me face' or what's known as the 'hate stare'."

Ms Kim describes some of the tactics travelers use to protect themselves from objectionable fellow passengers, things like avoiding eye contact, staring out the window, or pretending to be asleep. She also notes that some travelers take a more aggressive approach, planting their bags on the adjoining empty seat, using headphones to listen to music and shut out potential conversation, or employing the trusty white lie, telling other travelers that the apparently empty seat has already been taken. 

She likens seat selection to "a game of chess played by passengers, in which they strategically situate themselves in ways to both maximize comfort and minimize the odds of traveling next to a stranger," and goes on to note that when seats are limited, the focus changes to simply avoiding sitting next to "someone weird" ... of whom there are many on the DC Metro, as I can tell you. I have used all of the tactics Ms Kim describes except for lying about the seat already being taken ... and I'm here to tell you that they don't always work, and have led to my codification of Bilbo's First Law of Commuting Reality: if a witty and attractive fashion model and a slovenly, boorish oaf are both in search of a seat, it will not be the former that sits next to me.

So much for commuting. Let's talk about pubic hair.

According to a recent article by family physician Emily Gibson, we have pubic hair for a reason. Actually, for several reasons, including the prevention of infection, "providing cushion against friction" (use your imagination), and providing visual evidence of maturity. Dr Gibson notes that "pubic hair removal naturally irritates and inflames the hair follicles left behind, leaving microscopic open wounds" which can be susceptible to infection. The message is clear, ladies: gently trim if you must, but resist the urge to completely depilate yourselves. As the article eloquently says,

"No matter what expensive and complex weapons are used — razor blades, electric shavers, tweezers, waxing, depilatories, electrolysis — hair, like crab grass, always grows back and eventually wins. In the meantime, the skin suffers the effects of the scorched battlefield."

Ouch. Go ahead and wear your badge of adulthood proudly, ladies. Real men won't mind, and you'll save time, money, and no small amount of pain.

Have a good day. More thoughts tomorrow.


* Which has not had room in it for a car in years.


eViL pOp TaRt said...

Does that advice regarding pubic hair also apply during the summer, or should we purchase granny bikinis?

My rule about bus riding is that if the set next to me is empty, it will become occupied by the great unwashed or intoxicated.

Big Sky Heidi said...

Alas, I've not experienced the joys (?) of mass transportation. Location precludes that.

Bilbo, I think you might have traipsed into a hornet's nest with the second part! In fact, some metrosexual guys also go in for the clean-shaven look.

Duckbutt said...

When I went to college and grad school, I had to ride The Dog. I'd usually wind up with someone who nattered on while I was trying to sleep through Mississippi, which is only sane!

Margaret (Peggy or Peg too) said...

Oh Bilbo this line made me laugh - "So much for commuting. Let's talk about pubic hair."

I don't recall ever hearing that phrase uttered before.
Thanks for the morning giggles!

John A Hill said...

Public transportation and pubic hair ... interesting pairing for an odds and ends post.

Elvis Wearing a Bra on His Head said...

My g.f. was in tears after her last session, it hurt so much. Ouch!

It makes the commute on 72 seem nice.