Old Norms That No Longer Apply

Tim Hardaway broke a cardinal rule for entertainers this week; he spoke in a public forum on his very personal views about a known topic of controversy. Colin Cowherd, spoke best in response to this incident saying something like, everyone has freedom of speech, but you have to be prepared to live with the repercussions of your free speech. Colin has it exactly right, people who earn a living entertaining or otherwise representing others, have a burden to understand that people can and will stop paying them because of their personal views.

Any experienced public relations adviser would say, the advice is simple, when recording devices are present, on or off, you are at work, and everything you say or do is about projecting the image that earns you money. Forgetting this advice is not necessarily fatal to a career, but it can bring hardships. For recent evidence, see for example the episodes of Michael Richards or the Dixie Chicks. For historical evidence see, Jimmy the Greek or Al Campanis. How long ago was that again?

However, the question for the rest of us is, why do we continue to face this dilemma in 2007? For it or against it, the reality is clear, a percentage of people on this planet have an attraction for intimacy and sexual relations, with others of the same gender.

Why then, do institutions within this society behave as if the reality is not true? In particular, why are restrooms, dressing rooms, or changing rooms communal? I will take two leaps of faith and state,

  1. that more than 90% of individuals, when given the opportunity, would prefer to change clothes, and address personal hygiene in a private setting, and
  2. that more than 90% of individuals believe that they deserve the most privacy from those who may hold an unannounced sexual interest in them, when they are performing the most basic of bodily functions.

Therefore, we all should hold accountable the architects and the local government officials that establish occupancy and use permits. Because they are the control points for building owners who, with their motivation to reduce cost, specify and build communal facilities. As the reality of sexual behavior is understood in 2007, it is simply ludicrous to continue to place people in a position where they do not have the convenient ability to change clothes or address their personal hygiene in private: Give us stalls, give us curtains, give us privacy.

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