Unless you're a proctologist, a first grader, or a weirdo, I'm pretty sure you don't talk about private bathroom business with others too often. You just... don't. As kids, we're introduced to the concept of TMI- "too much information"- and we hold onto it for the rest of our lives. It's something that's accepted as the cultural norm, and most people never really bother to wonder why human bodies and all their strange processes are so uncomfortable to talk about. In general, bodily issues are just plain... gross. I mean, bathroom business and hygenic habits aren't popular topics of conversation nowadays. In fact, I don't think they ever were. If you don't believe me, try bringing the subject up around others and see what happens. Here's a heads up before you do, though: their reactions probably won't be very pleasant.

In my last Veritas Symposium, my class was given a reading called "The Body and Bathing," which made us think about our perceptions of the human body-- both the young body and the old body. In class, my professor tried to get opinions and thoughts from us by doing the "awkward technique": Masterfully creating awkward silences until someone reached the point where they had to say something to break the sheer awkwardness of it all. I have to say that it's pretty effective, because soon enough students started voicing their opinions and the usual class discussion began to take place. There was mention of naked people, naked old people, having to bathe naked old people... Maybe it's because I'm kind of (okay, very) immature when it comes to that sort of thing, but it did make me a little squeamish. It also got me thinking, though. Why do people link discomfort, and sometimes even disgust, with certain body types more than others? Is it society's fault? The media's? The culture's?

I'm pretty sure that the "awkward technique" will be used a lot throughout this Veritas unit, which focuses on "the body, beauty, and incarnation." Not just because of the whole TMI thing, but because our bodies and our perceptions of them are personal and rarely ever talked about. I'm confident, though, that those awkward silences will be met with many interesting discussions about the physical body and spirituality. And maybe a few nervous giggles on my part. But only a few.