Skip to main content

PERSONAL SPACE, RACISM, AND JOE BIDEN

I live in the south of France. When the local rugby team walks into our sports bar, there's a lot of kissing. Big, sweaty, bearded guys greet other big, sweaty, bearded guys with kisses on the cheeks. Then they hang out with their arms draped over each other's shoulders.

Nature or nurture?

I was curious. I googled: Do children have personal space? The answer? Apparently not. Page upon page of results lead to that conclusion. Why? Perform the exercise yourself and you will see.

Children must apparently be carefully taught about personal space. There are exercises, worksheets, activities, and publications promoting the teaching of personal space. When it comes to explaining the necessity for personal space, though, things get a bit fuzzy. Again, google: Personal space is vital to being oneself. Being able to engage in outside interests is a good way to develop a stronger sense of self, which leads to the discovery of one's desires and dreams. This is important because it fosters trust and communication between partners.

I parse those sentences and I scratch my head. Children who ignore the concept of personal space certainly have a sense of self and often demonstrate individuality at a high level. Children who ignore the concept of personal space are certainly adept at expressing their desires. And children who ignore personal space are certainly trusting and communicative. It occurs to me that problems in these areas exist after children have been taught the concept of personal space, not because they lack that concept.

Is there such a thing as unwanted touching? Absolutely. And we teach that No Means No. In fact, the young, smart, highly educated, professional women that have singled out Joe Biden as having made them uncomfortable have probably been taught that No Means No since childhood. But they didn't say No to Joe. They chose instead to speak to a microphone. Years later. I do believe that the women may have felt uncomfortable. I also believe that Biden did nothing wrong. 

Personal space is an artificial construct. And fluid. Studies show that it is effected by gender, age, climate, social norms, and other factors. Yes. You have to be carefully taught.




Comments

Popular posts from this blog

CHÉ OLIVE / LE ZINC, CREISSAN: RESTAURANT REVIEW

No, it's not Chez Olive. It is indeed Ché complete with red star and black beret. I have no idea why and I wasn't about to ask. The French are the French and not to be analyzed too closely when it comes to politics, especially these days.

Creissan is the next town over from our village of Quarante. We pass through it often and Ché Olive is right there on the main road at the entrance to town. (One of the signs still says Le Zinc. Olive says he prefers Ché Olive though.) Olive opened it a couple of years ago after leaving the Bar 40, Quarante's basic local watering hole that's undergone a bit of a renaissance lately. We hadn't heard much about Ché Olive from our usual sources for dining recommendations. So we just kept passing by. For reasons not central to this review, we decided to stop in for lunch on a mid-week in late December.

The bar is cozy, the restaurant open and bright and modern. Newly renovated and perhaps a bit sterile. We were the first…

RESTAURANT ETIQUETTE IN FRANCE: SIMPLE PRIMER (WITH TONGUE IN MY AMERICAN CHEEK)

My recent reading of a poor internet review of a favorite restaurant of ours prompted this post. Some people simply should not be allowed internet access. Speech may rightly be free, but it shouldn't be worthless.

From reading the review, I could determine that the reviewer was a tourist who started out in a bad mood because he had to pay extra for parking a camper van that exceeded the maximum height for parking in the free lot. His party arrived at the restaurant at the end of lunch and without a reservation. At first, he was told that an empty table that he pointed out was reserved. When he persisted, he was informed that lunch was over. Since none of the other restaurants in town were still open, the reviewer had to miss lunch.

Let me count the ways...

RESERVATIONS ARE NECESSARY. Maybe not at Burger King, maybe not in a touristy restaurant in a touristy destination. But if you are really hungry, if you really want to try that restaurant that everybody's talking about, or …

FRENCH VISA AND HEALTH INSURANCE FOR AMERICANS

The most expensive item in an American family's budget may be health insurance. But many Americans have no understanding of the true cost of their insurance because it's included in their employment package. Folks simply don't think about how much their employer may be reducing their salaries when factoring in insurance costs.

Before I retired, my employer paid for my health insurance but I had to pay to insure my wife. The cost, taken out of my every paycheck, came to about $6,000 annually. And even with insurance, there were co-pays and other out of pocket expenses. We were reasonably healthy (and still are, knock wood), but we each take a few common prescription medications - for blood pressure and cholesterol and the like, nothing exotic or costly. Even so, with regular visits to the doctor, periodic lab work, the drugs, and the occasional illness or injury, we normally spent an additional several thousand dollars annually in the States over and above the cost of the i…