Why Is It So? #1: Shame – Thy Name is Hospital Gown!


So here you are, in some hospital associated building, about to be subject to the ignominy of some intrusive ‘medical procedure’.  You’re already in some degree of trepidation about just what is going to happen to you once you enter ‘the room, or ???? suite’ and are eyed-off by people who speak a strange and confusing language.

And you know what is about to happen next, don’t you?  Some officious nurse type person says; ‘There’s a cubicle over there (right in the middle of maximum people traffic naturally), would you remove all your clothes and put on this GOWN, and then take a seat over there (usually where dressed people can see you)’.

Whatever your wildest imaginings, that which is provided to you is not, by any definition, a GOWN.  It is usually a diaphanous, semi-transparent piece of over-washed cotton cut so that it wraps more or less around your body and is tied with tapes, at the back.  The tapes have been carefully placed so that you can barely reach them, and in tying them you are left with generous gaps.  The predominant gap being just on the buttocks, and the cut of the GOWN is such that the slightest movement separates the GOWN at this point.  Welcome to ‘bare bum’ land and know the feeling that when you walk past any brightly lit area those around you will see ‘EVERYTHING’ that is usually hidden by your clothes.  Not to feel shame at this point would require you to be the most blatant exhibitionist, or alternatively, a nude model.

So as you sit, waiting, trying to fade surreptitiously into the passé wallpaper of the ‘waiting room’ you might be tempted to think about the callous swines (probably part of a GOWN design committee) who came up with this thing of gross embarrassment.  Did they perhaps have the main criteria that: 1) The object to be designed must be shaped such that maximises buttock exposure, imposes upon the wearer a feeling of nakedness even when clothed and, induces a mental state where feelings of shame and impotency are dominant.’  And you might wonder ‘Why Is It So’ that fellow human beings would be so cruel?

BACKGROUNDER: In the late 60’s Australia hosted, live from the Physics Lab of Sydney University, a TV series featuring Professor of Physics, Julius Sumner Miller, from El Camino College, California.  The series was so entertaining a huge audience would switch their sets on at the appointed hour to watch!!!  The reason?  Professor Julius Sumner Miller was simply intriguing – one would never know what simple household every-day experiment he would dream up next.  Massive hand-waving, an eloquent American drawl, flashing raised eyebrows and content matter drawn from the kitchen, the backyard and from nature ensured that his audience would watch like captivated students as he posed his questions and demonstrated the answers, to everyone’s delight.

The questions posed here lack such erudition and flair and are probably unanswerable, but they do make you shrug your shoulders and wonder at the mystery of humanity and its weird behaviour.  We can be ‘as thick as two planks’, ‘as silly as a wheel’, or, ‘bereft of all reason’ either individually or collectively and sometimes truly brilliant, inventive, and humanitarian.   These questions are not really related to the latter and if you know the answers to any of those posed here, your erudition would be truly welcome.

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About deknarf

Australian born and bred who has spent most of his working life in R&D and IP management with earlier forays in the newspaper industry and martial arts. Fortunate enough to be living in one of the best countries in the World, even though I might get grumpy with it from time to time.
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