I am sure everybody has had a similar experience at one point or another: you reveal something marginally embarrassing but common about yourself, and those around you react as if they’ve never encountered such a horrible thing before, and good heavens why are you so strange?
One of the best examples of this is peeing in the shower. Anonymous polls reveal that yes, the majority of respondents do urinate while taking a shower, which would make this more or less normal human behavior. There really is nothing odd about this at all, seeing as both the shower drain and the toilet are going to the same place, there is a constant flow of water flushing the area, and, except in the case of a urinary tract infection, excreted urine is essentially sterile. An environmental group in Brazil recently recommended the practice as a way of saving gallons of water from extraneous toilet flushes.
So why is that if you admit to peeing in the shower, some holier-than-thou cynosure acts utterly appalled at your revelation, exclaiming “That’s so gross” with exaggerated disgust? Often this prompts concurring responses from others in the group, rapidly transforming you into some kind of pariah. Chances are they do it themselves; if not, they are in the minority, which would make them the “weird” ones.
Today, I admitted to eating my spaghetti on a table with napkins instead of simply pushing a keyboard out of the way on a desk, because I didn’t want the ineluctable spots of tomato sauce to end up on a workspace. Everybody who has eaten spaghetti, Italians included, have gotten little spots of sauce on a shirt or the surrounding table. Especially when the pasta is served in a regular plate instead of the wider-rimmed pasta bowls.
To my chagrin, I was regarded as a particularly messy eater, one who most certainly sends red sauce in every direction when eating it with starchy noodles. The only explanation I have been able to determine for this kind of social betrayal is that one dominant personality in the group notes the situation as a pivotal moment where the speaker can be either commiserated with or ridiculed. This personality uses the minor humiliation of the speaker to assert their superiority in the group. Whether this occurs knowingly or inadvertently, it should be regarded by and large as a cheap shot.