Tuesday, August 16, 2005

How Puritanical Are You?

Some people think I am an atheist.  That is not correct.  Some people think that people with my kind of religious beliefs are immoral or amoral.  That is not correct.  To illustrate:

Last week, I was at Busch's with my wife.  Usually, I am in front, and I use the debit card.  That day, she was in front.  She swiped the card through the little machine, and then reached up to key in her PIN.  I averted my eyes, because it is not polite to watch someone else type their PIN.  

Now, as it happens, we only have one account, so it really does not matter if I know her PIN.  It is probably the same as mine.  She would tell me what it is if I asked her.  But it still is not polite to watch someone else type their PIN.

A couple of weeks ago, I went to a restaurant.  A pretty good restaurant.  The hostess, I happened to notice, was wearing a short skirt.  That particular skirt would have been a capital offense in Saudi Arabia, a bit inappropriate in Paris, and a traffic hazard in Manhattan.  

To my horror, she started to lead us up the stairs.  The geometry of the situation brought my optical axis to the same altitude as her greater trochanters.  The rather thin fabric I was seeing appeared to be some sort of polymeric hydrocarbon.  It had assumed a distinctly interesting curvature.  

Everyone knows that it is not polite to look at a woman's greater trochanters, so I looked off to the right.  Bricks.  Not interesting.  I looked to the left.  More bricks.  Not interesting.  I could look down, but then it would appear to others that I was looking at her legs.  Not polite.  I could look up, but then I probably would trip on the stairs, flailing nose-first into her Ward's Triangle.  Not polite.  Women get particular about their triangles.

Sometimes, nature makes it difficult to be polite.  We just have to accept that.