I have only my personal integrity to loose by becoming "socially acceptable."
What a concept - examining those words implies that others have far more to loose by not being socially acceptable - is the gentle art of social acceptability something worth striving for?
As a maker i cannot make anything that is "dishonest" with ease - but this is something often demanded by clients and as a professional i must accede - often with a feeling of accomplishment.
Perhaps it is pure laziness - perhaps it is a personal failure - whatever it is i have come to enjoy it - being a social outcast is no fun if you dont have supporters and friends - i do.
Most know me well enough not to invite me to parties - that still rankles a bit, but its a badge of honour - after all who can claim to have really honest friendships where people are not frightened of saying the truth because they care, and they do care - im blessed.
I didnt quite realise what my friends meant until i had a serious road accident and had to move workshops - 18 months after the accident too. I was staggered to receive offers of help from no less than 6 other businesses, they ranged from loans of vehicles to loans of vehicles plus workforce. These were from people who i had a great deal of time for but never realized how much time they had for me, and what's more they were socially acceptable, or appeared to be.
Some friends found it difficult to play the social game, but did because of family - i found it interesting to have them admit this, as i never suspected they were the same as me but kept it hidden. Others openly admitted that they had to play the game otherwise their social life dried up completely, perhaps their "social companions" were in the same positions but couldn't admit it???
Throughout the earlier part of my life in the uk i was subject to vigorous attempts at correcting my behavior - this is now called bullying, and took on every kind of shape and form, from taunting and teasing by contemporaries, to extreme physical violence by same.
From gentle attempts at persuasion by the authorities to being sent to Coventry by one school (it was pleasant, no teasing, this school later called in a physiatrist, but his report did not conform to their image by essentially saying the problem did not lie with me) to a long series of continual corporal punishments.
In later life when things proved a bit too much, the authorities themselves took a hand - they later admitted they were wrong - but another time.
For a long time i was involved with the "fetish" world, the underground of sexual liberation - i became involved through pure rebellion at the life i was expected to lead Then later because i saw a large marketing opportunity and made fetish furniture which was very successful, both in publicity (tv some 14 times(many repeats too), including bbc, Thames, live tv and more - fashion magazines such as cosmopolitan, sky, skin two, and of course penthouse e.t.c) and to some extent in sales.
Adventures galore, including events such as erotica in London, paid attendances of nightclubs and free attendance to events put on by major magazines and newspapers - fun but ---
Social acceptance - i found it again very hard to play the game - a question which often touched my mind was what were these people worth - what were their values.
I later found out - not very much on the whole - people who had spent the last 35 years involved in the "scene" complaining that no one kept in contact and the supposed friendships built up over the years were false.
I had some very - unusual occurrences with friendships - which confirmed this.
No mistake there were some very good people involved, people with integrity and good values but on the whole the concepts and ideas tended to overshadow worthwhile values making the whole enterprise shallow and a bit sad.
It seems that integrity is something one cannot escape, and perhaps should not. Without that our lives and words tend to become meaningless, so what about the meaningless words of social acceptability - i find it hard to lie, even harder to lie to someone's face. Plus, oh what a tangled web and all that.
Rebelling against society is a good thing - much of our lives are taken up by lies, lies promulgated by the press, lies promulgated by social order - but so often rebelling means accepting another kind of social order - leaving one club to join another - often the strictures and rules of the new club are worse than the old - just look at the clothes of "rebelling" teenagers - funny how when they are together they tend to look the same - almost as if they're wearing a uniform.
Another club i cant join and never did.
So my friends - a very uneven group of people, ranging from old fetishists - my oldest friend is now nearly 80 - swingers - to religious groups who accept me for what they see, not what they think - to humble fishermen living on islands far out to sea - to multimillionaire businessmen whose kindness is pure gold, to internationally renowned authors - to pensioners living in very modest circumstances - to school friends from the 60s.
My, im breaking another social rule. - am i boasting?
I tried, i really did try - in the 80s and 90s i became members of many craft organizations in the south west of England, including the venerable Devon guild of craftsmen - they threw me out (because i criticized their policies) with "someone says the same thing every year" to the oldest cooperative in the south west.
Inspired by the jealousy of a competing craftsman, who would stop at nothing to remove me, eventually had to be taken to court, where they lost ignominiously - as a social group my understanding was that they felt they couldn't loose as after all there were at least 9 of them plus spouses - my "competitor" was in her turn thrown out when the realization hit home.
Surprisingly enough the one organization that accepts me for what i am rather than what they think, is a professional body with roots going back over 600 years. A very mature and happy band.
So is it worthwhile being "right" absolutely, join the club.
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