A Discussion of Modern Social Grooming

I’m on vacation this week so I am resurrecting some old posts you may have missed.   I’ll try to stop by to chat sometime,  but I’m going to be really, really busy having fun, so don’t hold me to it.

I’ve always relied on the kindness of strangers…

I was talking to a casual acquaintance when she suddenly reached over and started plucking stray hairs off my coat.  It seems the combination of blonde hairs on black cloth was too much to bear.

She said with a little laugh “Sorry – that really bugs me.”  As if that justified her invading my personal space.  I barely knew the woman!

If asked, I guess I would have said that grooming strangers was out of bounds unless you happened to belong to a monkey troupe.

Apparently the rules of social intercourse have changed on this subject, and I simply wasn’t aware of it.   This opens up all sorts of possibilities.  There are a lot of people whose grooming and general appearance bothers me, and I would love to help each and every one of them.

– The man with Starfish Butt Syndrome.  “I’ll give the back of these chinos a good, firm yank and we’ll both feel much more comfortable.”

– The woman at church who has worn the same beehive hairstyle since the Carter administration.  “We’ll just brush that out so you won’t have to duck when going through doorways.  And just think what such a drastic reduction in hairspray fluorocarbons will mean to the environment!”

– The boy with his pants down around his thighs. “Oh you poor young man!  I felt sure you would want someone to tell you your boxers are showing.   Good thing I just happen to have this length of rope you can use to hoist them up.  Next time, wear a belt.”

He’s usually hanging out with…

– The girl whose pants are so low-slung the top of her thong (and a goodly slice of skin) is showing.  “Oh you poor young woman!  You didn’t realize these pants had shrunk in the wash and your underwear is showing!  Let me just wrap this scarf around you.  Next time, use cold water.”

– The older man wearing black dress shoes and socks with shorts.  “Forgot your tennies?  I just happen to have a spare pair, and some nice white socks –we’ll get you fixed up in a jiff.  Hold still, now – stop fighting me!”

– The woman with lipstick on her front tooth “Passion Flower is definitely your color, but on the lips, not the teeth, ha ha!  I’ll get that for you. (Holds woman’s jaw firmly, spits on napkin and wipes vigorously at offending tooth)”

These are just a few of the ways I can help my fellow man with his or her grooming.  I’m sure you can think of many more.

If unsure as to whether or not intervention is appropriate, just ask yourself this: “How will it make ME feel?”  Let your answer be your guide.

About pegoleg

R-A-M-B-L-I-N-G-S, Ram...Blin!
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41 Responses to A Discussion of Modern Social Grooming

  1. bigsheepcommunications says:

    First, let me say that this photo is a masterpiece. Second, I am not familiar with starfish butt syndrome – could you elaborate? Third, there is a whole pack of those gravity-defying beehive hairdo ladies in my town – saw 2 in walmart just yesterday.


    • pegoleg says:

      My hubby just asked the same question. Starfish butt syndrome is the technical term given to a condition suffered by the chubby whose pants get stuck between their nether cheeks. The resulting fabric puckerage resembles a starfish when seen from behind.
      While both men and women are afflicted, it seems to be especially common in the few overweight guys who carry the “junk” in their “trunk”, as opposed to the tummy. Often observed on pear-shaped K-Mart managers wearing blue polo shirts and slightly highwater tan chinos.


  2. bigsheepcommunications says:

    I see, so this unfortunate condition is caused by chino wedgies. Starfish everywhere must be tremendously embarrassed – no wonder they stay underwater.


  3. leonabriggs says:

    It’s tough to type when I’m laughing so hard! Thanks for the day brightner!


  4. I was eating Cheetos Puff while reading this. And, no, you may not brush off the neon orange crumbs from my shirt.


  5. Terry says:

    Oh Peg, … I remember this conversation from last weekend. It was bugging you when I took those blond hairs off your black sweater. That’s OK. Your family so I can invade your personal space! 🙂

    I personally am happy if someone wants to help groom me from errant hair, which I must say I have plenty of … now … Enjoy your wit always. Keep those observations coming. Smooches,
    Your big sista,


    • pegoleg says:

      You were just the latest in a long line of hair – removers. Maybe I need to see somebody about a condition? Feel free to commence with the grooming at any time, sis.


  6. I have to say that as a person who has been known to straighten badly hung pictures in a pub, even I would draw the line at having total strangers invading my personal space, in order to satisfy their craving for a well-ordered world.

    I would like to add a personal gripe.

    I like hats. Why do people feel it is OK to take someone’s (i.e my) hat off my head and put it on their own (delete as appropriate) greasy, sprayed, gelled or even clean head of hair? It is NOT ALLOWABLE. If I extrapolate the situation as you have done, it could result in rioting in the streets, as total strangers vie to experiment with their own self image, denuding people of their garments and exposing them to the vagaries of climate, and public humiliation. I am currently collection signatures for a petition to introduce the death penalty for Spontaneous Headwear Theft . . . hatnapping, if you will, as I feel that an acronym may lead to a certain lack of credibility. I trust I can count on everyone’s support. (Though please understand I am speaking figuratively — I do not wish to be flooded with surgical appliances awaiting algebraic inscriptions.)
    In order to fund this clearly valuable initiative, I will soon be offering for sale a collections of headwear-based humour entitled ‘Hatpuns’.


    • pegoleg says:

      Picture straightening is just common courtesy, but I’m with you on the hats. Not sure I could go along with the death penalty, though, despite the seriousness of the crime. Perhaps if the guilty party were put in stocks on the village square. and forced to wear one of those huge denim caps so popular in 1970s blackploitation movies?


      • STOCKS!!! Well, it’s a start . . . . . though as a ‘life long voter on the left’ and Guardian reader, I am horrified to find myself transmogrified into a millinery fascist…. but then these are HATS we’re talking about here!!! I personallywould introduce corporal punishment for those who wear baseball caps back to front and a punitive period of community service for those who wear them at 90 degrees… with a sliding scale according to the angle of deviation.

        I’m also considering campaigning against Pathletics…. people who wear ‘sports wear’ with no intention of taking part in sporting activity . . . e.g. people ‘sporting’ trainers whose most ambitious sprint is to the January sales


  7. Go Jules Go says:

    Ooh I’m glad you resurrected this one, and also, how much fun can you possibly be having if I’m not there?

    I’ve had the same thing happen with hair/casual acquaintances, and it’s not awkward at all.

    That last thing I said? All lies.


    • pegoleg says:

      Are you the plucker or the pluckee with the hair? Advising a friend of dangling and unzipped parts is helping to my way of thinking. What about breaking into someone’s personal space to trim their mustache?


  8. Al says:

    How did I miss commenting on this the first time around? I’m losing my touch.

    Having said that, I couldn’t agree more about respecting each others personal space. “Live and let live” is what I always say. Oh wait…there’s a guy over there with some dried nasal mucous emanating from his proboscis….be right back….


  9. Audrey says:

    This makes me think of the age-old question: Do you tell a stranger that they have toilet paper dragging behind their shoe? And do you tell that lady you don’t know that her dress is caught up in her bloomers?


    • mistyslaws says:

      Well, you can . . . but make sure you take a picture of it first and then send it to me. 😉


    • pegoleg says:

      Oh my gosh, that totally happened to somebody I kinda knew, probably 20 years ago. She was wasted and came out of the ladies room at some Kiwanis Club dinner or something crying that she couldn’t find her skirt. It was stuck in her pantyhose.

      To this day whenever I see that woman, all I can think of is that one, signature event.


      • Audrey says:

        It happened to me at work once, thankfully a coworker caught me before I paraded myself around the whole office. I thank God for that woman… Definitely a signature event!!


  10. Love that photo, Pegnacious. Looks like Mr. Skittles has found gainful employment, I am so relieved.

    I once had toilet paper stuck to my shoe. I walked all around the bar and none of my friends informed me. I also once had a big chunk of spinach in my teeth and spent the entire day at work and no one told me. Man, maybe I should get better friends? Or a look in the mirror more?


  11. Shannon says:

    Hilarious! “Social intercourse.” That’s a new phrase for me. I think I may already be doing this, and now I can call it what it is. It also explains why people run when they see me coming.

    Hiking up someone’s pants up? Ahhh….that would be sublime (in the right venue, that is). You had me rolling with the wiping-of-the-lipstick-after-wetting-a-napkin-with-spit. I could totally do that too. Heck – I could do ALL of those things. Call me “mom.”


  12. Angie Z. says:

    Literally laughed my butt off as I read this. And now you won’t have to give my chinos a good, firm yank. Which by the way was the best line of all.

    I agree with Shannon — “social intercourse” — fantastic wordsmithing.

    I have some of my own social intercourse needs. For one, I want to grab an eyebrow pencil and lend some of my artistic talents to the women with the Sharpie marker-drawn brows.

    Hope you’re having a great time, Peg!


    • pegoleg says:

      I think some people don’t look in the mirror.

      We had a woman like that at our church. Instead of Sharpie she used a paint brush – it was a broad sweep of brown, almost 1/2 inch thick. And she had a swooping band of hair that was rigidly hair-sprayed horizontally across her forehead. I always fantasized about holding her head under a water faucet.


  13. If you saw me your to-help list would grow exponentially.
    Have I mentioned I do my own stunts?
    And cut my own hair (but it’s really, really short… so that makes it okay… right)?
    I hope you are having a wonderful time, Peg!!!


  14. Deborah the Closet Monster says:

    I endorse these in jest, but I’m pretty darn certain my youngest sister would endorse them even more heartily in earnest. Remind me not to tell you about that time at the Getty Center, hey?


  15. madtante says:

    That’s grand. “How will it make me feel?”


  16. mistyslaws says:

    I’m wondering if it’s because it’s a recycled post, but I finally broke down and caved to your brilliance and signed up for your posts, only to not receive this one at all. What is up?

    Hope you are having a grand time on your vacay. You’re coming to DC, right? Are you meeting up with Thoughtsy? Have fun.

    Oh, and as to all those miscreants you spoke of . . . there are so many times in court when I want to inform some punk that what they are wearing is inappropriate. OR to yank their shirts down over there legging clad bottoms, OR stuff their ample bosoms back into their blouses and button about 3 more buttons for them. I have resisted thus far, but after this post, I might just start considering what’s best for ME. Then again, NOT getting shanked usually works out pretty well for me, so I might continue using restraint.


    • pegoleg says:

      “not getting shanked” those are words to live by, so maybe you should continue on with the restraint.

      I emailed WordPRess yesterday, AGAIN, because you are not alone in not getting notices. Do you get emails of posts or just sign up in your Reader?


  17. Tar-Buns says:

    Peg! Hope you are having a fantabulous time! Oh, and I join the ranks of subscribed peoples who did NOT get an email about this post. What gives, oh WordPress lords? Hmmm?
    Pat’s Dad’s been in the hospital since Monday with shingles. What’s next will be interesting.
    Safe travels home to you and Lib and safer driving to MI, too!


  18. Laughing too hard to write much – perfect picture – and oh, we’ve all run into these people. Hilarious


    • pegoleg says:

      The hair thing seems to be a common problem – I would NEVER start plucking stray hairs off somebody else. Maybe I’m follicly challenged and it’s time to contact The Hair Club.


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