Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Interpersonal Communication


I have noticed, in the last few years, the increasing number of scenes in movies and television that take place in the men's washroom. When did men standing at a urinal become the new thing? Somehow it just seemed wrong; two men having a conversation standing side by side having a leak.

Wrong, in my female opinion, and yet this trend has given the female viewing audience a glimpse into forbidden territory...that unknown territory that is the men's room.

Years ago, when the television show Ally McBeal introduced the concept of a unisex workplace bathroom, all the rules seemed to change, on television at least. On that show, about a group of young, city lawyers, the unisex bathroom became... almost an extension of the coffee room. They pushed all the boundaries of personal space and privacy; nothing seemed to be off limits in their bathroom. Work affairs, both professional and personal were openly discussed, and experienced in this environment.

Bedroom activity, on screen, was once referred to obliquely but never seen and is now openly referred to and viewed. Going to the bathroom has taken on new importance, but not in the bodily function 'go to the bathroom' kind of way.

Through the last few years there has been a repetition, in television and movies, of particular bathroom scenes, men mistakenly going into the female bathroom, angry women chasing men into the men's room to continue their argument, and most frequently of all, men having conversation in the bathroom.

Does a scene with two male characters talking, while standing at a urinal, add something to the plot? Does it tell the viewer something about these characters, about their relationship? They break all the rules of bathroom etiquette when they stand, side by side, talking face to face. Is this supposed to be an indicator of the depth and trust in their relationship? I don't know, I just know it feels contrived, like the scene was included just for the risqué factor.

Now, the increase in scenes with men fresh from the shower, wrapped in a towel, we know that’s for the risqué factor.

Speaking of going to the bathroom, with all this openness in television and movies today; there is talk, or overt references, about sex, going to the bathroom, or the time of the month, topics once considered the 'unmentionable'.

Maybe this shift has brought about a corresponding shift in interpersonal communications. I have just realized how often people discuss the status quo of their bodily functions in general conversation. A friend recently said to me, “I've been too busy to poop.” I could relate to what she was saying and knew the underlying message. She was busy, had no time for anything but the essentials and especially had no time for herself and, more importantly, no time to take care of herself.

I have also noticed how obsessed older folk can get with their aches and pains and their bodily functions. Perhaps it's due to the fact they have more, or constant pain, have to get up frequently in the night to pee, and feel 'off' if constipated.

When I was younger general conversation might have been about who got laid the night before, or who wasn't getting any. With women at work; the talk eventually gets around to sex.

I take back what I said before...I know why older folk are into bodily functions. You talk about what's familiar, right?



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