Monday, March 22, 2010

Phobias and Good Manners

There are four things that make me seriously uncomfortable – snakes, people behind me, mayonnaise, and being photographed. All of these things make me so uncomfortable, some of them almost to the point of not being able to function.

I have a hard time with someone sitting or standing or walking behind me. I’m not sure where it comes from, but it has manifested itself to the point that if I’m not sitting in the back corner of room, like in a restaurant or at a meeting, I find it so hard to relax and not worry about someone coming up behind me. When it does happen, my friends joke, “Don’t worry, nobody is going to come up behind you and kill you." That isn’t really the fear though. I can’t pinpoint what it is, but it’s not that someone might come behind me and kill me, although if that happens my friends would feel pretty bad don’t you think.

This is also the case when I’m walking with people. I tend to move to the back of the group and usually walk through a door last.

I have a good friend, Paul, who is a very nice guy and has VERY good manners. However his manners and my phobia don’t mix so well. It’s actually kind of like a comedy routine. If we are walking through a doorway he is a gentleman and stops to let me go through first, but I stop to let him go first since I don’t want him walking behind me. We stand there motioning for the other one to go first. When we go through a door that has to be opened, we both hold it open and motion the other one through. We motion repeatedly until someone finally breaks down. Usually it’s him, but if it’s me I run through very quickly laughing uncomfortably.

The other day we went through this routine as we walked through a doorway and then up a set of stairs. I won out both times, but he commented repeatedly about how he was not being polite. However, on the way down the stairs, he went first without any motioning by me. I joked with him that I wore him down and wrecked his good manners. Instead he told me that it is actually appropriate etiquette for the man to go down a flight of stairs first. I laughed and asked him if that was in case I tripped, he would break my fall. Yes, that is why. He was very relieved that in this instance his manners and my freaky behavior were compatible. Now if we can just figure out how to always be walking down a set of stairs when we are together.


  1. Paul is right about the man walking down the stairs first. I think you are a beautiful woman...I don't understand the phobias, but I wish you'd work on the one about getting your picture taken. My dad was the same way and I have zero pictures of him. He looked a lot like Glen Ford, so I have a picture of Glen Ford in a frame. Pretty weird, aren't I?

  2. A similar one is revolving doors. Typically you let the woman go first through a door, but with revolving doors you let the woman go last (so that she does not have to do all the pushing). Check to see if he remembers this one too.

  3. Wow, those are some phobias girl. I can only imagine if there was a snake covered in mayo behind you while you were being photographed. That probably wouldn't end well....

  4. My wife hates photos of herself. I'm not crazy about photos of me, but I just don't look at them. I think it's fair to show myself to others.
    I don't like snakes or mayo either.
    Someone lurking behind me bothers me.

    Don't take this wrong, but you're weird. Oh, that does come out sort of bad doesn't it. Oh, well.

  5. Paul is so dreamy with his darn good manners. He's my favorite. ;)

  6. He's right about walking down stairs first, but when going up, it's the woman who takes the lead. Most manners have some basis in practicality and I suspect the idea is to have the man on the downhill side of stairs to break your fall in case you trip in your complicated shoes or petticoats. =)

    Now with revolving doors, I was taught that the gentleman was supposed to let the woman go first, but to give the door and little spin to help her get started . . . But I come here to learn and defer to CaJoh.

    I think I have seen a picture of you here awhile back and you look nothing like Glen Ford, so I'm with Grandma J, when she urges you to get over the photo phobia.

    And here is the great truth about phobias: The difference between mine and yours, is that mine make sense. =)

  7. Ha ha! I love Live.Love.Eat.'s comment! I would try that just for kicks and giggles, but I know you would really, truly have a heart attack and die. So I won't.

    And Jen? I thought I was her favorite.

  8. I once saw this episode of Oprah (apparently, I was in some sort of phase)... ANYWAY, there was this guy on there who was attributing everyone's phobias to past life experiences.

    Obviously, you were a carnie who was walking merrily along while the snake hamdler was walking behind you when omg, all of a sudden he slipped on a discarded mayonnaise sandwich and hurtled forward, thus dropping his deadly, and appropriately terrified, boa constrictor right on top of your head. As the snake squeezed the life out of your sad carnie body, someone took a picture.

    Too much? Sorry.

    I'm afraid of frogs, lizards and fire. I was obviously an Egyptian in Exodus.

  9. I dont necessarily understand the phobias..especially about mayo BUT my Hub despises eggs that much and will not eat anything with egg and would prefer to be out of the house if I even cook them. I can appreciate it but dont necessarily feel that way about anything. :)

  10. Wow, all 4 of those things use to bother me too! But I finally got over the fear of being photographed.

    I usually hate pictures of me, but I eventually found having a GOOD picture of me isn't a bad thing. And, looking at past pictures of me, apparently it takes a lot of bad photos to get a good one. So, I realized, the more there are, the more likely I'll find some decent ones.

    Turned out, that lead me to smile more, do some of the goofy photo poses most people do, and before I knew it, there were a bunch of really good pictures of me. :-)

    Now, I still hate most pictures of me I see, but I'm not afraid to try for another good one.

  11. Get out of here. I just learned something new. I had no idea. I remember when a boy walked beside me on a sidewalk on the outside. He told me that is what boys should do. I loved that. No one has good manners around me anymore. Gary is always at work so even if he has good manners I wouldn't know. Now I am crying and I don't know why because this was a nice post and not sad at all.

    I hate when people take my picture. When I see it I feel sick. And when I see the image I always want to crawl under a rock.

  12. Brittney at Mommywood has a regular thing for doing it, every week.

  13. Just popping my head in here to see if you're still thinking of donating cards for Cards 4 Cancer? The deadline is near... Thanks!

  14. y do u have a great porn star name?

  15. I was told that a man goes upstairs first and downstairs last to avoid to be able to peek under a woman's skirt. But I like the breaking your fall idea more :)