Tuesday, December 15, 2009

desensitization

My Argentine desensitization process is almost complete. I've started to become unresponsive and find what should be shocking, not surprising. Things that I use to find inappropriate, I now find myself thinking what's the big deal. Well, I am thankful that I'm not fully desensitized yet.

This weekend I joined friends at Guido's restaurant in Palermo. I've walked past Guido's several times this past year; it's on my way to the Rose Garden. The restaurant is painted in the traditional Argentine style. It's the kind of place where the owner is there kissing almost everyone who walked in like they are close Italian family members. It's has a family atmosphere and the food was quite good.

So, when I was told that the men's bathroom was plastered with porn I was shocked. (thank god I'm still shocked at something in B.A.). It's one thing to have a nightclub bathroom decorated in porn, or to have 1920's style naked ladies on the wall, but in a family style restaurant, where children go...its wrong.

Since I wasn't able to enter the men's room, since it's right next to where the waiters stand, I sent my camera in there with my lunch-mate. Sure enough, it was of the raunchy variety. A poster of 'hair styles' from the 80's, posters of multiple activities, and another of men and the shapes and sizes that they range. I was going to try to do some creative cropping to post one, but even with my photo editing skills i couldn't.

i find myself saying 'this would never happen in the states'... well, maybe in a truck stop?

(photo below: Guido's restaurant in Palermo...the G rated photo)

4 comments:

Donigan said...

I agree with you about the fact that this is indeed a family restaurant. It should be pointed out that none of this is in the women's restroom, and women or girls are kept out of the men's room, as you noticed.

Having once been a boy, some decades ago, I believe that boys respond differently to things like this than girls do. My response as a boy of, say, ten would have been fascination or curiosity, not offense. Boys are like that, they are driven far more by their graphic curiosities than girls seem to be. I would not have been offended as a boy by most of what is on the wall in Guido's toilet. I would have been offended by the smell, though.

The first time I saw those walls, I figured the pictures were there to generate talk, and somewhat as a joke. I don't know the owner, so I am only guessing. One thing for sure, it definitely generates a good deal of interest.

Finally, I would note that you are judging the photos on that wall from a female perspective, and in my experiences, women are not usually all that interested in graphic sexual pictures. Trust me, boys most definitely are.

Your sense of being offended is natural and correct, and that is why you and your gender are not allowed to use the men's toilet.

But I feel confident that no boy would feel as offended, and would be more likely to spend a good deal more time in there than Nature requires.

yillabean said...

I disagree with you.

These images should not be in a family style restaurant. They would be more appropriate at a truck stop, or a bar where only grown men could view them.

Yes, a boy may not be offended but I would not want my son or any other young growing boy to possibly view sex for the first time in way that demeans women and shows them merely as a sex object.

I'm fine with nudity and a woman's body is a beautiful form that can be appreciated. the women in the bathroom pics of a very public restroom were not being appreciated but rather just a warm place to put it.

Maybe this is my window into Argentine men's heads; why they have no shame grabbing women at clubs, saying rather raunchy things as women walk by and pressuring and expecting sex on the first date.

Donigan said...

The difference between my point and yours is that "you" as a mother would be offended for your son, but the boy himself would likely not be offended or embarrassed -- as long as his mother doesn't know.

Having been a boy, I can assure you that our mothers would be offended by a whole lot of what boys think about and do, when given an opportunity.

But I cannot argue against you here with much force because in a perfect moral world I agree with your opinion about those pictures in that location ... or any other location.

Pornography is indeed offensive, while at the same time immensely popular; the latter does not diminish the former.

Oh a personal note, I picked up the appropriate customs form and have it here.

Nancy said...

I so would NOT want my son to see that. I want him to grow up to respect women and also realize the women in porn are not "real".