No, really, it’s just fine if you keep your gob shut

I recall once being out for coffee one morning and the proprietor of one of the few bistros I visit, a 45-ish attractive woman whom I otherwise like very much, as she is friendly, chatty, funny and welcoming, just like a hospitality industry operator should be.

“So, I’m off to Hawaii in just two weeks,” she told me. I say that such a trip sounds very appealing and that we were just back.

“Only problem is, 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, as attractive as it might be down there, rather than just thinking what a decent cup of coffee you offer. In other words, for me at least, that was ‘too much information.’

Now, I’m not a 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 serves me coffee. 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 their family members or old friends 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
– Stories of how drunk you got at some shindig or other. Tales of the debaucheries of others are horribly boring and the sharing of such stories tends to make me a bit wary of you and your life choices.
– Longwinded stories about your pets. If pets are to be spoken of conversations must always go back to the wonders of Max.
– In-depth recounting of the plot of a movie or book the speaker has encountered recently.
– 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, sexual 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 (or in some cases might want to be if I happened to be single, 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 as a friend, and you tell me that you or your opposite is fooling around, I will have to reappraise both of you. I mean, really, I hate knowing that stuff.
– your intimate behaviors with your partner whom I know well. “What – she does that?”
– 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, incontinence, frequency of movements, and so forth, are just plain distasteful. 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.



12 responses to “No, really, it’s just fine if you keep your gob shut

  1. So many reasons we get along. This is why I don’t have a personal facebook account and why I continue to blog anonymously. I’m good without people knowing every little detail of my life, and I *really* don’t need to know theirs!

  2. Oh, YES! Your two categories are SO RIGHT! Now you just have to come up with an appropriately snappy way for all of us to tell people to knock it off already, we don’t want to hear it. (Because, of course, saying it that straightforwardly is never as fun as a clever remark, is it?)

    • Clever remarks always work. And you know, my sister, the problem with TMI assertions is that they’re utterly self-indulgent and if they come at the expense of a person who isn’t there to defend him/herself, they’re despicable.

  3. Yep. All good. As Pinklea says, come up with some good lines to stop those puppies before they develop into something really distasteful. And -share-, please?

    • And distasteful they can become if you let them. Sometimes, ironically, we’re afraid of offending so we keep our yaps shut. Bigots get away with a lot because we’re too polite to tell somebody they’re ignorant dickwads.

  4. I excuse myself, go to the loo and hope they’ve gone by the time I venture out…

  5. I’m going to France at the end of the week and no bikinis are involved.

  6. You and I are in mad agreement here, Ian.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s