Let’s see if you have heard this joke.
A very shy guy goes into a nightclub and sees a beautiful woman sitting at the bar. After an hour of gathering up his courage, he finally goes over to her and asks tentatively, "Um, would you mind if I chatted with you for a while?"
She responds by yelling, at the top of her lungs, "No, I won't sleep with you tonight!" Everyone in the bar is now staring at them. Naturally, the guy is completely embarrassed and slinks back to his table.
After a few minutes, the woman walks over to him and apologizes. She smiles and says, "I'm sorry if I embarrassed you. You see, I'm a graduate student in psychology and I'm studying how people respond to embarrassing situations."
To which the guy responds loudly, “Two hundred dollars? Isn’t that too much for a night?”
Okay, so you have heard this one, but what is it that really embarrasses people? It could be a rambling spouse, an overbearing mother-in-law or an irritating sibling. For some it is a perceived flaw in their physical appearance. I know people who are embarrassed by their jobs, cars and residential addresses.
I guess a lot depends on your social circle and the insecurities brewing in the mind.
A sales representative working in LA recently revealed that she was ashamed of her Blackberry. She stopped pulling out her BlackBerry at cocktail parties and conferences, fearing that clients will see it and judge her. It’s amazing how Blackberries have slipped from their high societal perch with the arrival of other smart phones and androids.
It makes perfect sense to embrace technology for the want of utility but the mad race to acquire and flaunt the latest could be detrimental for those who are running the race. In the age of fast changing technology it’s tough to keep pace with the world. What was ‘in’ a few months ago is consigned to the dustbins of obsolescence by the onslaught of new technology.
I remember the same happened to the Fiat and Ambassador cars with the arrival of Maruti 800. When I was a teen, my dad bought his first car – a hugely curvaceous Hindustan 14 (It was said that Maharaja Holkar owned that car at some point of time).For an image conscious teen, my dad’s odd looking car was a huge embarrassment. For one, the mighty curves of Hindustan 14 made the voluptuous Ambassador look like size zero. And when most friends were zooming in their sleek Maruti’s, our royal blue vintage drew a lot of stares. I remember ducking and sitting hunched on the back seat each time dad came to pick me up from school.
Like my father, and unlike a certain coal minister, my husband too has a penchant for old stuff. I doubt if he will discard his BlackBerry soon despite the fact that it is not so ‘cool’ anymore. His logic being – It works just fine.
I too have come a long way since negotiating with those naive embarrassments. Today, brands and labels do not hold the same seductions. Yes, one does desire all that is new and stylish but the old need not be embarrassing. Being a woman and living in Gurgaon where the ‘show-off fest’ is on 24/7, it is hard to forego the appeal of all that is plush. But once you get comfortable and content in a particular zone, the list of embarrassments, if any, shrinks by the day.
At one level, there is relief in not really caring about what others think about you. There is no putting a price on that relief. However in a reality, I doubt if things work that way.
Picture Courtesy: Google Images/ psychologytoday.com