What a shame that shame is on the wane


I was on the bus today when a maskless bloke put his muddy feet up on the seat. What I felt like saying was – “You really should grow an extra brain cell, as the one you’ve got must be so lonely up there.”

It wasn’t until the thug reeled and glared that I realized I hadn’t just thought this, but had actually said it OUT LOUD.

With a jolt I understood that I’ve now reached that age where women just say what we’re thinking, with no filter. Post sixty, a dip in oestrogen and a surge in testosterone means females suddenly develop more nerve than an unfilled tooth.

The seat-defiler displayed no sense of shame but, embarrassed by my blunt rudeness, I felt a blush suffuse my face – the only time I’ve ever appreciated the camouflage afforded by my hot and irritating anti-COVID mask. This selfish super-spreader’s behaviour got me pondering – what a shame that shame is on the wane.

For weeks we’ve been glued to the screen watching Trump’s narcissistic posturing. If Trump calls COVID the “China disease”, then Trump’s the “America disease” – because he’s a two-legged virus; a super spreader of lies and sedition.

But now America’s had its inauguration inoculation, do you think the Trumpster is waking in the night, sitting bolt upright in his bed in Mar-a-Lago and sobbing “Ohmygod. NOOOOO! What have I done?” and then blushing hotly for hours as he agonizes over how to cope with the social disgrace?

Yeah, sure… and he’s also a painfully shy recluse who would do anything to avoid media attention.

Once upon a time, politicians who fell from grace, like John Profumo, also fell on their swords, seeking redemption in charitable works. But Trump and his treasonous Teflon-coated cohorts, just give a shrug of their insouciant shoulders and carry on, unscathed.

Shame is a response to public humiliation or the realization of a private failing. The symptoms are simple; your guilt-gland throbs. For the female of the species, guilt’s our natural state. It all began with Eve’s apple-nibbling. Despite the fact that Eve was clearly framed (that snake should be had up for entrapment) womankind has been blamed with the downfall of humanity ever since.

Living in a patriarchal world ensures that women suffer more on the shame-o-meter. Especially when it comes to sex. A man who is sexually active is a love god, a stud muffin, a Romeo, a lothario. But a woman with the same sexual appetites is denigrated as a slut, a tramp, a moll. “Slut shaming” is an odious attempt to humiliate any woman for enjoying sex or looking like she might enjoy sex. When a bloke invariably asks, “Am I the first man to make love to you?” all a woman can do is reply, “Of course….I don’t know why you men keep asking the same silly question?”

Motherhood is another shame minefield. Working mums feel ashamed for being at the office, when they should be at home doing Creative Things With Play dough. Stay-at-home mums, however, suffer shame for not working; what kind of role models are they? Will their offspring grow up to collect Trump memorabilia?

And I’m sure it’s only women who suffer house shame. I’m yet to meet a bloke who cares if friends drop by to find a Mount Everest of dirty dishes in the sink. Females feel so ashamed by domestic slovenliness that we even clean for the cleaner.

‘Fat shaming’ also seems to predominantly effect females. In the days of Botticelli, to be a socialite, one needed cellulite, but today females must angst over clinkles (cleavage wrinkles) kinkles (knee wrinkles) cankles (thick ankles) wattles (neck fat) bingo wings (bicep flab) thigh gap … Well, what about the pay gap? It amazes me that men don’t feel ashamed that female colleagues are paid so much less for the same work.

It’s time we started being ashamed of shaming women for trivialities and shamed those who commit real criminal acts, from seat-defilers to sedition.

So, before you cancel your subscription to 2021, having been disappointed in the first month’s free trial, sit back, crack open a large bottle of schadenfreude and enjoy the humiliation of Trump and his unscrupulous followers as whole flocks of chickens came home to roost. And when Trump, cast off into social Siberia, is forced to find an alias, I’ve got the most fitting name for him – “Seamus”.

Looking forward to hearing your thoughts on this topic – especially if, like me, you’ve had a caustic, biting thought, and realised too late you’ve just said it OUT LOUD.

Cheers for now, Kathy

p.s. One thing you shouldn’t be ashamed of is having a good chuckle in public, hopefully involving tea shooting unexpectedly out of your nose – while reading one of my newly re-issued novels. And, as I’m now of a certain age, I don’t feel any shame at that blatant plug!

Enjoy, possums.

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