Wednesday, May 24, 2017

The Joys of Being Caught With Your Pants Down

khakis from The Gap
Remember those dreams you had as kid of finding yourself standing in front of a group of people with only your underpants on? There’s something iconic or archetypical about these “nightmares” and there's also some camouflaging going on. On the surface, a dream like this is one of humiliation. Speaking of dreams of underpants, it's like airing your dirty laundry. But on a more profound level such dreams have to do with telling the naked truth. Embarrassment is the emotion, but being undressed could be looked at as a metaphor for showing what you have a need to hide. The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life was a famous study by the sociologist Erving Goffman. Human beings are all in one way or another in the PR business; you want to spin your personality so that people think of you in a certain way. This may entail assiduously hiding failures or attempting to portray yourself as an upbeat person when you’re a depressive who has trouble getting out of bed. In fact, underneath the free spirit you've invented for public consumption may lurk a person who’s not only afraid of being caught with your pants down in front of a crowd, but feels embarrassed standing naked in front of the mirror, of being “undressed,” both literally and metaphorically, of not feeling enough when you face your self.

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