Tuesday, 19 November 2019

Confusion and phobias.

Frost on the cricket ground. Ice on the millpond. It was apparently -1 degrees when I went out running this morning!

As I ran I came across a lost lady in her car, confused about the road closed signs. She wanted to go to Oldham. Her normal route is straight along our road, the A62, but she had just come across the signs telling her the road was closed. Which it is. Just beyond our house the work on the drainage system is caged off, blocking the whole width of the road, as well as one of the toads up to nearby Dobcross. The pub next door to us must be spitting feathers at the passing trade they will be losing. But that is a different story. I explained the situation to the lady driver and told her where to turn so that she could go through the village and get back eventually onto the route she is familiar with. She thanked me and then expressed her bewilderment at there being no earlier indication of the roadworks and no some useful diversion signs. Quite so!

She turned the car round and set off. I went on my way, past the seagulls perched on the frozen millpond! Later I came across this article, well, this bit of an article:

“At this time of year, many women stop running in the dark. The same quiet roads that are great for training are precisely those that can make you feel vulnerable.
Attacks, fortunately, are rare – but intimidation is not. I don’t know a single female runner who hasn’t been heckled or mocked while out pounding the streets. And, yes, always by men. But there is something else you also occasionally see, too: male runners reminding you of their power.
Last week, the Team GB marathoner Lily Partridge spoke about two incidents, one where she and other elite women were “violently pushed around” at the start of a race, and another where she was
followed by a man who ran “intimately close” to her.”

Personally I have never been attacked. But then, I try not to run in the dark, not so much for fear of attack as for fear of not being seen by car drivers. I have never quite understood people who run on the road in the early morning while it is still dark, especially if there is a perfectly good pavement to run on. I suspect that the kind of aggression described in the article is more common if you run in the city, rather than running around Delph and along the bridle paths. But the male aversion to being beaten by women is not restricted to running. I have worked with men who found it hard to be given any kind of training by women. Women are simply not supposed to know more than men about IT, for example.

On the other hand women are supposed to accept that men can be superior in traditionally female activities like cooking and dressmaking! Double standards!!

There must be a term for fear of being beaten by women. I wonder what it is.

The terms used for phobias are always interesting. I came across a new one today: trypophobia - an aversion to clusters of holes or cracks that is associated with feelings of fear and disgust. And they don’t mean holes in the road. The sight of bubbles coming up in boiling milk or a close-up photo of a crumpet can be enough to trigger it. And if you suffer from it and want to do some research in the internet, you have great difficulty for the first things you come across, apparently, are sets of trypophobia-inducing images! On the plus-side it seems that there are Facebook pages for trypophobes! Such is the modern age!

Which brings me to another phobia: haphephobia, also known as aphenphosmmphobia -
fear of being touched. I admit to looking for that term after reading this article about yoga teachers helping their students achieve better yoga poses by pushing and manipulating them into better positions. The writer insists that yoga students need to actually give permission for the teacher to manhandle (or womanhandle?) them. I must say that I agree. I can remember a yoga teacher who used to physically push us into deeper bends and stretches and the slight feeling of intrusion I used to experience.

It’s not unlike the feeling I used to get in painting and drawing classes when a teacher would take my paintbrush and “show” me how to improve my work. Yes, I was there to learn but the painting was no longer mine! Maybe there is a phobia for that as well!

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