Monday, June 27, 2011

Zip Your Lip, Please

There are a lot of things that I go through In Real Life ("IRL") that I never blog about here. Most of the time, these things will either embarrass me or get me into a lot of trouble with claims of lashon hara and "Is it good for the Jews?" junk. Those things are, usually, the things that I really, really want to write about, because I know we all have those moments where things happen or someone says something and you just have to tell someone, the world even.

For example, something that happened that I'd feel comfortable writing about despite it's assumptions about my character is at the Israeli Presidential Conference when I reached back to grab my chair back and instead grabbed the leg of the man behind the seat. What can I say? I overreached and had an unfortunate encounter that left me red, laughing, snicker to @EstherK and wondering what the shomer negiah me would say. Simple, ridiculous, slip-up.

But then there are places I go and people I meet and things I want to write about but can't. But one thing I've learned during my many treks to many communities in many different parts of the East Coast, it's that people who feel like they know you will say just about anything to you, without any commitment to modesty or, oh, I don't know, civil discourse and restraint.

What I mean by this is ... you know how sometimes you meet someone, and you say something like "Oh, I love blah blah blah" and they respond, "Ohmygosh! Me, too! That's so weird!" and then all of a sudden it's like they know you. Like, they were standing behind you in the water fountain line in second grade and shared your locker with you in middle school and were sitting on AOL the moment you got home from your freshman dance. People who suddenly feel like you're besties, so all restraint flies and anything goes.

Conversations can go anywhere. And I mean anywhere. And if I shared the details of the particular conversation that occurred sometime in the past four months, you guys would be shocked and probably disgusted.

This happens to me more often than I'd like. I appreciate people who want to feel close and intimate with me and Tuvia and our life, but there are times and places. Making pervy jokes? Bashing Orthodox Judaism? Talking about how you don't buy Orthodoxy but love the idea of community and family so you'd never even think of going anywhere else? Sharing innermost thoughts and details about your life? Telling us how you really feel about the community in which you live?

I'm all for honesty, but on first encounter, my advice, to everyone, is to chill the you-know-what out. Restrain yourself. I'd like to know you at least a year before you feel comfortable telling me about your sex life or how much you really hate Orthodox Jews (especially when the person sharing these innermost feelings is, in fact, an Orthodox Jew).