whose embarrassment?


This morning, two guys standing on the train were sniffing. Each drawing bodily fluid up into their sinuses through the medium of sucked in air. Both sniffing independently. Both once every ten seconds or so. Slightly different rates and slightly different resonance. Together almost musical.

I wanted to hand out tissues.

They were seemingly oblivious to their mildly melodic disruption of my thinking time.

The man next to me produced a silent smell.

It left me pondering what embarrasses us; the actions of others or our own? And who does the embarrassment belong to? Are we embarrassed for ourselves or for others having to judge us?

Why are some of us embarrassed by falling over, having a wardrobe malfunction, nose picking, spot squeezing, breaking wind, going red, messy hair, sneezing … and some of us not?

What is that about? Where does it come from? What purpose does it serve? And whose is it?

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