By Nora Simone
Here is a failed attempt to stifle the curiosity of onlookers behind me at an Atlantic Ocean beach.
I figured that blocking their view with the lifeguard shack and my pareo, would neutralize their curiosity and prevent staring.
I know looks by others at the beach should be expected while in public, yet I felt uncomfortably ogled (I always wanted to use that word!). That was just my fear and paranoia – but still. Yikes!
In retrospect, my steps for, modesty, concealment, and privacy had the opposite effect. If anything, curiosity was amplified.
People came over to ask “What are you doing?”
In these situations I often pretend to not speak English, or Spanish, and motion them to my friends for an explanation.
Whew! Those friends are great at explanations.
Since then, I’ve learned research indicates curiosity is created and stimulated by a handful of stimuli. Notably:
1. Novelty – things we haven’t seen or heard of before
2. Complexity – things that don’t follow expected patterns
3. Conflicting information or evidence- things that don’t fit into what we think we know of the world
4. Surprise – the unexpected
So, I’ve also learned that a tall cross dresser in heavy makeup, seeking cover at a public beach, while a professional photographer clicked away yelling over the sound of waves to “work it” is a powerful way to cause curiosity. Lot’s of curiosity. The opposite of what was desired. Sigh.
Lessons learned: Hiding something makes people curious.
So now I seek to hide in plain sight.
Photo by Cassandra Storm