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 f

THREE YEARS IN FRANCE - AN AMERICAN EXPAT'S REFLECTIONS

Have you wondered what it might be like to pick up and move to another country? Americans are lured to retirement havens in Mexico, Costa Rica, or Panama. They say that Eastern Europe is beautiful, safer than the evening news might suggest, and relatively inexpensive. Southeast Asia is hot, but it's cheap. Remember, though. I'm not talking about investigating a vacation home, time share, or other form of shared ownership. I'm talking about a permanent, sell out and ship the furniture sort of  move. For most Americans, the thought has never crossed their minds. Think about it. Think about moving from one state to another, from one town to another, even from one neighborhood across town. Add the need to learn a new language - if you aren't multilingual already. Add the need to deal in a new currency and the need to learn the ins and outs of currency exchange. Add metric measurements. And a new healthcare system. And a new bureaucracy to navigate. Daunting? You betcha!

AU LAVOIR, COLOMBIERS - RESTAURANT REVIEW

We live in a town that doesn't do very much to encourage growth or tourism. The streets are rough and bumpy, the tinted glass has been broken out of the street light nearest our house since we moved in three years ago, and the fountain in the square was activated this week for the first time since we arrived. Oddly enough, many of us like it that way. Quarante is a quiet little village, not on a main road to anywhere, but with a fine baker, two excellent butchers, and a bar that serves edible if not exciting food. We could use an ATM (cash point, money wall...) and a gas (petrol) station but otherwise, most of us are happy that Quarante is a backwater. Colombiers, on the other hand, seems determined to do everything possible to turn itself into a crowded, overdeveloped, cash hungry example of all that folks like us are looking to avoid when we move to the rural south of France. Ugly apartment blocks? Check. Newly constructed condos with a 'view', meaning you can see a tin