Saturday, July 6, 2013

Public and Private Personas: Day 16 - 30 Day Challenge

Are you exactly the same person in public as you are in private? For most of us, if we are being entirely honest with ourselves, the answer is no. We tend to engage in behaviors in our private arenas that we would not do in public. Why is that? Although I tend to ponder these types of questions to amuse myself, I was particularly focused on the distinctions between public and private behavior as I rode public transportation the other day to a White Sox ball game. I love public transportation, finding it to be the perfect venue for "scientifically" observing human behavior. Who needs an observation laboratory with two-way mirrors when the City of Chicago so generously provides affordable public transportation.

On this particular day, I observed that many of the people on the train were engaged in personal grooming behaviors. Not just typical grooming behavior such as hair combing or makeup application or clothes adjusting; they were engaged in hard core grooming behaviors, including: ears, noses, metal implements and pharmaceutical products. I couldn’t stop watching; similar to passing an accident – I was simultaneously horrified and mesmerized. I wondered if this type of grooming was their public or private persona behavior. And then I wondered: “If this is their public behavior, what is their private behavior?

Although I didn’t come up with a concrete answer, I did come up with several amusing working hypotheses and my commute to the ball game went by at warp speed.

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