Monday 19 August 2013

Sense of Self, or Shame?

‘Shame shame puppy shame, all the donkeys know your name’

Remember this jingle, sung in chorus back in our childhood when the elastic of our shorts gave way or the skirts turned traitor in the wind? It was an age when we were too young to be mindful of our bodies in times of gay abandon, but old enough to know that the 5-letter-word meant reason to blush when heard for our own selves. Why the sweet donkeys, of all animals, would bother knowing our names in such moments of slips-and-misses is a riddle we need not solve. What we can question, and answer, is the puzzling way in which the psychology of shame finds place in the minds of our young ones. 

At a public facility recently, I was busily pulling up my son’s shorts after a ‘what a relief’ moment when he, watching a female fellow-toddler undergoing similar fate in the hands of her mother, chose to announce without warning – ‘Oh oh. Girlie has no wee-weelie-weenkie.’ I confess - it was the only time in all these years that I was scared of a woman’s bag slapping my face. It was also the only time I thanked myself for choosing such a non-telling pseudonym for my son’s manhood. The latter kept the former away, as I quickly tucked in his tee and ducked out of the scene. 

And then I sat down to think about it all ... 

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