Why Do We Do What We Do? Some Bonnie Brown Observations

Why is it stylish for men to wear a long, narrow piece of material wrapped, then tied tightly around their neck?

While I know it’s appropriate career dress for many men, and certainly wearing a tie is considered essential for a dress-up occasion, I’ve never heard a single guy say he enjoys wearing a tie.

Why do women carry around valuables along with junk/trash in a container, often made of leather, slung over their arm? And in many cases, these containers themselves are quite valuable. Queen Elizabeth is never without her container. My container (purse) is full. And I would say every item is essential – wallet, makeup bag, comb, Kleenex, nail file, hand cream, etc. I have been known to entertain crowds with the contents of my purse.

At concerts, there is always the “curtain call,” which brings the performer back on stage. It’s never spontaneous, always staged. Why can’t it just end when it ends? If the audience simply got up and left, would the performer come back on stage? Awkward.

Why do most households have a live animal living with them? And in many cases, multiple animals. And this animal is treated as royalty and holds a prominent place, literally and figuratively, in the house. Whenever a family is seeking a residence, the animal is given much consideration when deciding where to live and the layout of the interior of the home as well as the yard.

Our dog, Carly

When did sporting events become primarily social events and not just spectators to the game? And I’m not just talking Ole Miss sports with tailgating and the Grove. We spend millions of dollars to attend games and think nothing of it. Shouldn’t our charitable contributions be as generous?

The Grove on Gameday. Photo by Steven Gagliano

When did hitting one’s hands together come to signify approval or enjoyment? It actually might have started with the ancient Greeks. And obviously, we haven’t developed an alternate way to express approval of a performance. But maybe we could with a little (or a lot) of thought. Anyone?

Who invented the bra? According to Fun Trivia Quizzes (OK, so my “research” is a little unorthodox), Herminie Cadolle of France invented the first modern bra in 1889, a two-piece undergarment. In America, Mary Phelps Jacob was granted the first U.S. patent for the brassiere in 1913. Her invention is most widely recognized as the predecessor to the modern bra. So why hasn’t someone gotten the design right yet? Ladies, how many of you would agree?

Since before time, why do women attempt to modify their appearance with colorful additions to their face, eyes and lips? Do cosmetics really alter the inevitable signs of aging? And who knew to develop and offer a product to remove all this goo? Is it time for me to consider more permanent modifications/cosmetics (tattoos)? Because, trust me, you all don’t want to see me in my natural, makeup-free state.

Why is our phone used for everything but talking to one another? Who had the genius idea to put a camera in a cell phone? I remember back in the day we had a telephone connected/tethered to the wall, then along came the cordless phone. We talked to one another on these devices. Nothing more. Just conversation. Then came the cell phone. Again, just conversation. Then the cell phone morphed into a device that would allow us to type messages (text) to one another. And then the cell phone changed once again to include a camera. Who knew so many of us needed to take photos multiple times a day of everything, including our meals? And who knew we needed to take photos of ourselves multiple times a day? Steve Jobs! And alas, phones are hardly used for talking any more.

When did touching/shaking hands become a form of greeting? This is a common practice for men and becoming more so for women, I think. I have attended workshops that had a fair amount of instruction on how to shake hands, along with instruction on how NOT to shake hands. The fist bump is replacing handshakes and can be traced back to the 1800s when boxers touched gloves at the start of the bout. Women don’t do the fist bump. Hugs are my choice of greeting and not just because I don’t want to analyze a handshake as to whether the grip was too firm or too limp. Hugs are a form of compassion and bonding, and I think we could all use more of that.

Do people who litter think their trash becomes invisible? This is one of my pet peeves. I hate to see so much litter along our highways. You just don’t see much litter at all out in the western states and hardly any in other countries. Who is doing this and why? There’s a lot of interesting facts about litter winding up in our oceans. I’d just like to not see it wind up in my yard, my neighbor’s yard and our lovely little town. So stop it!

Do we really need legislation to tell drivers to get out of the passing lane? Evidently, we do. It is happening right now. What has happened to common sense? What has happened to common courtesy out on the highway. No one uses signals any more. By the way, hitting your brakes, then immediately accelerating doesn’t constitute “stopping” at the stop sign. I don’t think people know the rules of the road. Who’s teaching our youth to drive? I found that you can actually do an online Driver’s Ed course. What? No wonder for the need for legislation!

So many young people today don’t have a basic skill set, or what I refer to as survival skills. They don’t know how to manage finances, cook for themselves, do their own laundry, use a plunger or take care of their automobiles. What happened to home-ec and shop? Why aren’t the parents teaching these things? You don’t have to know how to change the oil in your car, but you should know that at some point it needs to be done. And you should have a roadside service plan in place so that when you find yourself stranded on the highway or even in a parking lot at the mall, you can call someone to come to the rescue.

If we can’t control the weather, even divert a simple rainstorm, why do we think we can conquer climate change/global warming? Mother Nature has had her way with us in recent months – tornadoes, floods, fires, ice storms, you name it. And there’s not any way to prevent these acts of nature. So what can we do? The scientists better think of something quick.

Thanks for allowing me to share my thoughts and concerns as well as unload my worries here. I feel better.


Bonnie Brown is a retired staff member of the University of Mississippi. She most recently served as Mentoring Coordinator for the Ole Miss Women’s Council for Philanthropy.

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