Chatting in a store the other morning with a clerk I know quite well, but just in context of doing business with her. She’s a 45-ish attractive woman whom I like very much, as she is friendly, chatty, funny and welcoming, just like a person serving the public should be. I’ve been going there for a few years, so we know each other quite well.
“So, I’m off to Hawaii in a few weeks,” she told me one day recently. I repliedthat such a trip to one of my favorite spots sounds very appealing and even though I’m just back, I am still envious.
“Only problem is,” she blithely continued, “ I’ve been so busy that I haven’t been able to get done all the things I want to do before I go away. I haven’t even made an appointment for a bikini wax.”
Wait a minute, I thought. Do I want to know this? Do I want my imagination to be going below your waistband rather than just thinking how genuinely pleasant it is to interact with you? And go ‘there’ it will. You brighten my shopping day. But, what you just told me was ‘too much information.’ The old TMI syndrome that has become somewhat endemic, what with Facebook, texting, Tweeting, etc.
“So, what’re you doing right now?”
“Oh, just taking a pee. What about you?”
See, TMI all over the place.
Now, I’m not a particularly delicate soul, and I have been down certain roads sometimes too many times, and I know how most things work human anatomy-wise and otherwise. Furthermore, I am the farthest person from being prudish. But, you see, it’s a matter of seeing certain people in certain contexts. She sells me stuff. We don’t share a locker-room, bathroom or bedroom, nor am I seeking such intimacy.
Much as I decry the modern era, there are certain facets I like very much, including the breakdown of unnecessary prudish mores. At the same time, I am struck by the fact that some people just maybe go a little too far in their ‘sharing’, some other people go ‘waaaaaaaaaaaaay’ too far in their sharing. Unless I’m your gynecologist, there are just certain things I don’t want to know. I kinda like ‘mystique’, if you will.
So, I have (as a public service, you understand) divided unwelcome information into two categories. They are: Too Much Information (TMI), and Way Too Much Information (WTMI).
It’s all a matter of degree, of course. There are things I might share with my wife or other loved ones that I will not share with the public at large, no matter how fond I might be of individuals therein. Consider, if you will:
– The aforementioned bikini waxing and other intimate cosmetic procedures
– Anecdotes about family members whom I’ve never met, unless there is a tale of great importance in a general sense
– Marital woes of an intimate nature
– Stories of your mental breakdown or suicide attempt at 17. I’m not your therapist. Not that I don’t care, but what am I supposed to do with this? Should I be increasingly vigilant with you?
– Stories of how drunk you got at some shindig or other. Tales of the debaucheries of others are horribly boring
– Longwinded stories about your pets
– In-depth recounting of the plot of a movie or book (this is deadly)
– Declaring how urgently you have to pee at the moment of conversation. Just go, then, for heaven’s sake. I don’t need to know
– Your own political, religious, or racial views. I don’t want to hear about them and, if I find them repellent, I will have to change my assessment of you. At times it’s just good to shut-up.
– unless I’m in an intimate relationship with you, I don’t really want to hear about your favorite sexual techniques, turn-ons, kinks, and infidelities
– infidelity as a category of its own. If I know your spouse or sexual partner, and you tell me that you or your opposite is fooling around, I will have to reappraise both of you
– Your intimate behaviors with your partner and/or his/her inadequacies in that department.
– Criticisms of a spouse or partner when he or she isn’t present. That’s both tacky and cowardly
– Tales of abuse in your marriage. Scary stuff. So, what do you want from me? Should I call the cops?
– Any recounting of bowel or bladder habits and woes, incidents of incontinence, frequency of movements, diarrhea attacks and so forth, are just plain distasteful (despite tasteless TV advertising). This is between you and your intimate partner, or you and your doctor
You can probably think of many, many other TMI and WTMI examples, but those are mine for today.