Fear and clothing: When the pubic goes public we love it
A weekly reverie on the vagaries and charms of fashion
Remember that poor woman who sent a picture of her freshly depilated nether regions to the hockey mothers’ WhatsApp group by mistake? It was accompanied by some suitably enervating text to encourage her husband to hurry up and come home to see this shorn wonder for himself. He missed the original message, what with it having first landed with a whimper (sadly not a bang) in the wrong group. But boy has he heard all about it now, as their harmless personal banter became titivating fodder for the nation. It was a “My vok Marelize” moment if ever I have seen one.
Last week I heard a story of a hapless father whose trigger finger prompted similar outrage in a primary school parents’ WhatsApp group. He sent a cache of porn on a Friday morning to the class group and ignited a breathless firestorm.
Discussing the repercussions of this act with some friends at a party that very evening revealed several stories of a cringe-inducing nature. Someone had been “that” person and sent an inappropriate image to a WhatsApp group for their kid’s birthday party. Another knew the woman with the nationally witnessed and attested shaved punani!
Are we really always just one keystroke away from social shame? The quick-off-the-mark meme is a contemporary equivalent of the old town square stocks for the poor sods who misfire – so that the holier than thou can deride them for not keeping themselves in check.
Who else is watching all the porn on the internet other than the very people now engaged in this song and dance of modern retributive justice? How did the hockey moms who forwarded the Hollywood vulva of their fellow mom reproduce their little hockey stick wielding children? Was it immaculate conception? Because now they are all saintly virgins?
So what makes this all pruriently delightful? Don’t say schadenfreude. Those Germans owe us a public debt of apology for naming that awful feeling. I know I certainly dined out on the paternal porn story. And believe me I enjoyed it in all its gory detail.
Perhaps this stuff is just a reflection of the strange public lives we now lead on the socials. Everything is gold-plated, Instagram-filtered and mediated for our particular version of perfection – except for the stuff that isn’t. The secret stuff. When that stuff unexpectedly pops up in your feed, you get an electrifying jolt of reality. So you laugh at them, not with them, because you too might just be on verge of being found out by a simple slip of a key.