Friday, March 28, 2008

Foot in the sink and cultural convention

Anyone with a moderate disposition please look away now. Many of us have been faced with the rather embarrassing situation of placing one’s foot in the sink at a public toilet in order to complete ablutions before prayer. I usually get looks: ‘What’s he doing with his foot in the sink?’ The cause for discomfort is that something is out of its place. Our feet should be in our socks, in our shoes, not in the sink. But this has made me think about cultural convention. Also in public toilets, one can find urinals. I have always found urinals unpleasant and the social convention around walking up to a urinal and then revealing the most intimate part of the body to others very uncomfortable. But others treat this as a norm and walk away as if nothing strange happened, and that is because according to cultural convention, nothing strange did happen. But don’t put your foot in the sink, that’s just ‘wrong’.