Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Groping: an intellectual analysis. On Friday night I was packing to go away for the weekend and I realised how much weight I've put on. The old jeans I bought in 2003 that fitted me fine last year, and were a little bit tight in March, are now way too small for me. What was my favourite dress this time last year now requires safety pins to make it sit flat between the buttons. This made me unbelievably sad: the kind of helpless sadness that comes from realising something you ought to have realised long ago.

The last time I had an organised exercise kick was in 2005, after Bo had told me, in one of his characteristic moments of tact, that if I wanted to get laid I would need to lose weight. That time I walked and ran in Royal Park in the early mornings, wearing a stopwatch and trying to beat my previous circuit times. After some early success I lasted a few weeks. You know how it goes. One morning it's raining, or you were up late last night, and you break your routine, and you get to thinking, life is so short, surely I should enjoy its pleasures rather than endure its miseries.

This time I have decided to walk to and from work. So far I have done this twice and it takes 40 minutes. Unlike running in circles or swimming back and forth, I don't have to reserve time from my day to do it and it actually serves a practical purpose. I am finding it pleasant so far. It overwhelms me to consider the Herculean task of improving my shithouse diet or curbing my incipient alcoholism, but I figure that 80 minutes exercise per day is a start.

It is ridiculous to try and set goals for myself because I know how little it takes for me to fall off the exercise wagon, but ideally I would like to be able to wear my clothes again without shame by the end of the year. I am recording this for posterity, not to receive advice, and I will delete any comments offering diet and exercise tips.

Anyway, let's move on from this surprisingly longwinded unpleasantness to the real topic of this post. Yesterday I was pondering how people decide to grope others in drunken social situations. What are the groping thought processes? Are you a situational groper, for instance: someone hott walks past and impulsively you grab their arse? Or are you a curious groper: a thought suddenly pops into your head, "I wonder what her breast would feel like?" and you can't resist finding out? Are you an accidental groper: you lose your footing and put your hands out for balance and... oh noes! Or perhaps you're a socially unskilled groper, and your groping is flirtation gone awry.

What does groping 'mean'? You can argue that it's about aggression; you invade someone's personal space to assert power over them. Perhaps it's about tactility; you want to know how someone's body feels under your hand. Perhaps it's admiration: you want someone to realise that you appreciate the way they look. Or maybe it's intimacy; you feel entitled to touch someone without asking because you feel you know them well enough.

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