This post first appeared on Regretsy in June of 2011.
A few years ago, I used to lurk on LiveJournal.
LJ has the best possible conditions for cultivating hysteria. Half the users are looking for something to be offended by, and the other half are too stoned to go to work. The combination turns out a magically delicious flavor of drama that never gets stale.
I remember seeing a post by a woman who had an enormous tattoo of a pirate ship on her chest. It was gruesome and gory, with skulls, ravens, bloody swords and naked women, and the design ran down both arms. She also had ear holes you could keep a can of Pepsi in, and so many facial piercings that it looked like she fell into a tackle box.
One afternoon, she posted a breathless, angry diatribe about something that happened at the supermarket. Apparently she was wearing a bikini top to go food shopping – as you do – and was putting milk in her cart when she noticed a middle aged man in a suit looking at her. He didn’t say anything, he wasn’t leering or rolling his eyes, he was just… looking.
She picked up a container of milk and shouted, “WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU LOOKING AT?” Then she threw it at him, and chased him out of the store, screaming at the top of her lungs. Which as you know, is an excellent way to avoid calling attention to yourself.
I didn’t understand her reaction then, and I still don’t get it. Don’t you want people to look at you? Isn’t being a little bit shocking at least part of the point? If you’re doing everything you possibly can to stand out, why would you be angry when people notice? Or did you split your tongue to keep a low profile?
Still, everything I’ve read would indicate that staring at someone with tattooed eyeballs is considered rude. Even though you did it to yourself, and you clearly want people to notice what you’ve done, we’re not supposed to look, or make any kind of face. Well, unless we approve. I guess if I also have horns surgically implanted in my skull and we happen to see each other at Trader Joes, we can do that nod thing that people do when they both drive the same car.
But otherwise, just keep looking straight ahead, asshole. The fact that I have wind chimes hanging from my ballsack is none of your concern.