What is allowed into conversation has come a long way. I've argued before that we are possibly the most open generation, but taboos still creep their way into our conversations.
Conversation from my mouth finds almost no filter, barrier or opposition to any subject, but it often meets unwanted ears.
Since I cannot see you cringe, avert your eyes or slowly walk away from me, I give you warning here: The following reflection on taboo subjects may not be to your liking.
For a classic taboo that shall never lose its humor, I present Exhibit A: farting.
While farting is not typically a topic of conversation, it often invades one. Passing gas will forever receive a giggle or laugh from listeners and red-cheeks from the releaser; farting in an interview will not. Farting around your friends, however, should be norm.
Farts are funny, yes, but also a sign of intimacy or equality. Don't be disgusted by them – be pleased of your friend status.
Next: the dreaded monthly cycle, and I'm not talking about the moon. Although it does reflect a similar pattern of waxing and waning, this cycle relates to hormones, not the night sky. I recently brought up this conversation with a male friend for the first time. After informing my close friend of the anatomical process and its side effect, he was illuminated – just like the moon.
As a nod to Sex Week, this topic really should be explained to our male friends who are bound to run into it eventually. They must be more informed than they are. And a miracle of understanding or empathy might even be sparked from a conversation of this sort.
Moving upwards, our noses play a role within this taboo world, too – we refuse to admit or publicly pick them. Having a nose ring, I am given the social "OK" to play with the one nostril, but what about the other one, or the rest of you? What is wrong with weeding out the unwanted pest within the nostril? Isn't gardening a good thing?
If I've made you feel uncomfortable, I apologize, but I just wonder why these natural bodily functions have taken on taboo statues. The body is a well-oiled and finely operating machine that hasn't always been treated hush-hush. Is taboo what defines an evolved society; is this our distinction between animal, barbarian or tribal men or women?
The above were the obvious taboos which are often addressed behind closed doors, which may define us as "civilized." However, the following are the true taboos that have buried themselves because of either awkwardness or the heavy, soul-searching nature they bring out.
Beliefs and feelings.
We have swept our beliefs and feelings under the rug, because they are hard to articulate and awkward to talk about. They have become rare in everyday conversations, but they shouldn't be.
Who are you if you don't know what you believe? If we were true to ourselves, we would be asking these questions to ourselves, loved ones, friends. Conversing about our beliefs is the best way to work out kinks in your faith, ask probing questions and find out the truth.
This topic should be with us everyday, and yet it is often relegated to a brief, once-per-week experience. We are scared to share, to find out we are uncertain and shaky in our beliefs, or to realize our friends' philosophies on life are different. These realizations are not to be feared, but rather pursued with an open mind and willing ears.
We should also be asking our friends their feelings about how we are performing as a roommate, friend, boyfriend, girlfriend, sister, brother, daughter or son. We don't ask because we are unsure of how they will answer, but this is exactly why we should check in. Reach out today and ask for an update or a progress report on how you could better be supporting one another.
I hope I made you uncomfortable today, uncomfortable enough to think of these taboos and confront one of them in conversation.
Julie Mrozinski is a junior in English. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.