From the Desk of Weird Thoughts
You can touch your face, rub your eyes, comb your hair, touch your elbow, in public, and all that's OK. But don't--at least in public--pick your nose, pick your teeth, scour out the wax in your ears, or, heaven forbid, wipe your rear end. Is it because the outer array of activities is dealing with your external parts, and the latter is tinkering with your inner?
Why are hearing aids more secretive, less talked about than eyeglasses? Is it because hearing aids are worn by old people, and nobody wants to talk about, or admit to, old age? Perhaps, but in truth, I think people should be less embarrassed about hearing aids because hearing aids reveal an old person falling apart, whereas most glass-wearers appear to fall apart much, much earlier--even very young. I can't run very well now that I'm old, that's understandable, even acceptable but imagine if I couldn't run when was young. That's analogous to someone wearing glasses at twenty. (A sidebar of full disclosure: I am increasingly putting on and taking off my hearing aids in public. I am learning to be proud of them. My ears are as wonderful as my eyes. Both are falling apart with equal beauty.)
I think revealing hearing aids in public have a higher public embarrassment factor because they go into the ear--an orifice, an inner hidden part of the body--as opposed to eyeglasses which are hung outside on the nose. To wit: we have designer glasses. We are proud of our eye problems. As part of the Hearing-Aid-Pride movement, I vote for designer hearing aids...yellow wrap-around with beads.
We talk in hushed tones about tampons yet half the world wears them. Why hushed; who are we kiddng?
Because inside the body is private, by definition; secretive, personal and hidden.
Perhaps orifices have a public stigma about them because they are burdened with the mystique (reality?) of disease: warm, inner places where bacteria and germs can hide and develop. As such, they must be shunned in public, like lepers and open oozing bloody wounds.
But now, thanks to commercial chemistry, we have utensils to clean anything: douches for the vagina, Q-tips for the ear, mouthwashes and dental floss for the teeth...believe me something is soon to hit the market with something aimed at our rear-end hygiene. Perhaps when that happens--when the final most stigmatized orifice is as free of disease possibility as is our elbow or thumb--our inner life will gather the same respect as our outer life; and orifices will no longer be seen as scary overgrown dark places, but rather a magic garden where fairies and elves live...for all the world to experience in common and tinker with in public.