Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Interpretation And A Mare's Cock

Increasingly, I see situations in my own life or in the lives of others, when much pain, outrage, indignance (if there is such a word), anger, hostility - I could go on, but I can't be bothered reaching for my word dinosaur (thesaurus) - could have been avoided if someone first stated their intention before going on to say (or write) whatever they were going to say (or write).

So many times, I have seen people respond badly because they misunderstood the intent, and reacted in ignorance of the fact that the person who was communicating was actually trying to help, wasn't looking to undermine, had put much thought in before opening mouth or putting finger to keyboard.

Unfortunately, it isn't always possible to second-guess where the dialogue is going to go once the emotional brain-stem takes over and everything starts being filtered and distorted through instantaneously created barriers of prejudice and assumption. It would be great to be able to say up front: "In saying this I don't mean ..." But that's a bit like trying to disprove a negative. You can't possibly cover all the things that you don't mean. You might be able to head off a few possible routes, but the chances of covering even a fraction of the likely candidates is slim, unless you are prepared to spend more time apologising in advance than you spend actually delivering your message.

The fault is usually with the receiver rather than the sender. If you hear or read something that causes you to respond in a strongly negative way, the sensible thing to do is to check with the sender whether you have understood them and their intentions correctly. That way, you can avoid misunderstandings before they arise. Few people are socially skilled enough to do this, though. Admittedly, it isn't always necessary. I could have started this blog entry by stating what my intention was, but that would have been more than a little facetious. Although on the plus side, it gave me an excuse to use one of only two words in the English language that features all five of the vowels, making one appearance each, in order. (The other is abstemious, in case you were wondering.)

Making my intentions clear is one of those things that I want to become better at. Then I can be smug, and look down on all those people who don't or can't do it :-)

There are other things I want to change about my own use of language, in particular, swearing, and using expressions originating from the west coast of the US. They are both things I want to stop doing, but it's just so frighteningly easy to slip into it. I was discussing this on Sunday with the ever-lovely Tickersoid, one of the easiest people on the planet to have a really good conversation with, and a man blessed with more charm than seven series of an Aaron Spelling show. He tells me he has given up worrying about the creeping west coastisms. I'm just not fond of how it sounds when I over-use the word "like".

On a tangentially related note, I was in a taxi this morning between Southampton train station and the office in which I can currently working. On the radio was what sounded like a standard talk-radio show. Interestingly, however, although the callers seemed to be the standard knee-jerk reactionaries, the host of the show seemed to be a very well-informed, liberal, thoughtful but practical type. The kind of person who can come up with really useful, good, workable solutions to social problems without dissolving into PC wrist-waving self-incriminatory ineffectiveness, and whilst avoiding anything that is genuinely discriminatory, mindless, misguided or based on prejudice.

At the risk of destroying what might otherwise have been an elegant narrative flow, I'm going to jump back a bit and explain how I came to be having drinks with Tickersoid. I was in Cardiff for the Gay Wedding Show. I'd arranged it some months ago. My reason for being there was to provide part of the entertainment, to walk around and perform magic to those visiting the show. In the event, I ended up having a table upon which I made a little display of some magic props and business cards. Although there was a steady trickle of people through the show, it never really got to the point where I could properly mingle and work the crowd, so I contented myself largely with nabbing people as they went past and performing for them. It was fun, but tiring,. One or two couples seemed very interested in hiring me, so that made it all worthwhile.

Shortly before the thing kicked off, the organiser (Gino) made a short, introductory speech, and then introduced the Mayor of Cardiff. She gave her speech (which I think was intended for visitors to the show rather than for the exhibitors, but hey), and then wandered around for a while. Now, at an event like this, where I was expected to mingle and entertain, one of the things that I like to do is having something that makes me stand out a bit so that people look, stare, or do a double-take, and I can use that as a way of breaking the ice and getting a performance starting. With that in mind, I was wearing a long piece of thin chain (actual chain rather than jewellery) around my neck, which had a very large cock ring on it. This allowed me on a few occasions to get the ball rolling by going up to people and saying "I noticed that you can hardly take your eyes off my enormous cock ... ring." I like to set the tone up front. I didn't notice the mayor had made her way around to my table until too late, so suddenly I find Gino introducing me to the Mayor of Cardiff whilst I'm sporting a very large cock ring. It only made matters worse when I apologised for the naughtiness of my accessory, because she didn't know what it was, but was angling for an explanation. I declined to oblige.

Incidentally, once or twice folks who read this blog have asked where they can see me perform. The Gay Wedding Show in Cardiff was one such rare opportunity. Another is coming up soon. I'll be doing the same thing for the Gay Wedding Show in Manchester, which is on Sunday the 18th of November.


Weighty Issues
I heard a parent saying this to a toddler today in Southampton:
You can have a doughnut if you eat this sausage roll first.
If it had been an apple rather than a sausage roll that the little nipper had been refusing to chow down on, I probably wouldn't have noticed.

5 comments:

Nick said...

Is it your own cock ring or simply a prop. You mention that it's "very large"... ;-)

David said...

Well, the first half of your entry would have been an apologia if it had not been so defensive, and one is dying to know the story of the umbridge that was taken. :-)

I do, however, agree wholeheartedly with your point that people inappropriately take offense. It's just I would love the gossip of the back story.

Qenny said...

Nick: It is my own. And it's not just a prop. And it was biggest in the shop. ;)

david: There genuinely is no one back story here. There are lot of example, some that I have witnessed, some that I have been on the receiving end of. Pardon my prepositional ending. Was it really so defensive?

David said...

There is nothing like blowing your own trumpet ......

And indeed the tone was genuinely defensive. The strong feelings expressed are rarely the result of purely abstract considerations and more usually the consequence of particular experiences. The article did seem to be short of a "for instance" for the full meaning to come across. OK, I just wanted some gossip! :-)

Inexplicable DeVice said...

Huge cock rings and lack of gossip aside, what really caught my attention was: Thesaurus = Word dinosaur.

Little things...