Thursday, February 16, 2006

*A Sociological Exercise on Homosexuality*

If you were in NUS today and were wondering of the sudden proliferation of homosexual public displays of affection (PDA), the 'reason' is because of a sociological class on Human Relations, which decided to do an experiment today to see its effect on the student populace.

The following was related to me by Chew Lin.

It takes a lot more intimacy and explicitness to elicit a response to a female-female couple than a male-male couple.

For a male-male couple, simply holding hands was more than sufficient to get people to look. Some went as far as to stop and stare or to stop and gossip (apparently this was a phenonmena exclusive to female groups).

However, for a female-female couple, holding hands was thought to be insufficient and they decided to hold each other round the waist instead. No big deal it seems.

Feeding each other ice cream? Again no big deal (contrast to a guy pair doing this in the canteen).

Commenting that the other person's hair smelt nice? Again no response.

Finally Chew Lin pulled out the stops and decided to be really explicit in the co-op in the following 2 scenarios.
a) Standing in front of the condom selection with her 'lover' and commenting that the close fit condoms were designed for small penises, but that they (referring to her 'lover' and her) didn't have that problem did they? THAT got a big response from the people round them.

b) Standing in front of a table loaded with aromatheraphy stuff (which included chocolate, tea and other assorted things like massage oils) and talking about licking it off her 'lover's' toes or something to that effect. Again a similar response to the guys feeding each other or holding hands was elicited.

Yes, apparently she was the only one who could say all of that with a straight face.

Now, observant readers would realise that there was a potential flaw in the methodology used. There is no control couple. Therefore, one could very legitimately ask whether to what extent the shock or curiosity or both was due to the rather explicit nature of what she said or because they were a 'homosexual' couple.

So we decided to carry out a similar experiment using ourselves as 'bait'. With two friends who will remain anonymous, they followed us to observe reactions.

The condom reenactment was a bust because there were insufficient people around to hear us. One of the supposed observers struck up a conversation with a friend in the queue, the only person mind you, such that there were literary no members of the public.

So off to the aromatherapy section. One female lady, who looked to be your average NUS female undergraduate. All observations from here on are mine and solely mine and not the observeres.

So we started chatting with each other casually before ratcheting up the explicitness. First was the use of chocolate body sauce instead of melting chocolate because it took too much time. A glance to the side at us.

Then came the dangers of flamable stuff in the bedroom. And my further suggestion of the use of whipped cream. Slight pause and looking up (though not at us). From here on, it's quite apparent she's listening in without trying to appear too obvious.

Complaining about how chocolate hardens too soon to be of any use. Looks at us.

Chew Lin suggests the use of cream in the chocolate to slow down the hardening process. Again, side glance at us.

So there we have it. Assuming that she could be considered representative of the populace, it's not just the homosexuality bit but the idea that a couple is taking about events in the bedroom that would get similar reaction for according to Chew Lin that was about the level of attention she got in her earlier experiment.

Now I had thought the lady was a little non-pulsed and perhaps shocked. But according to the two observers, she was actually interested in listening to our conversation. So there's something to be said about 'confirmation bias' and perception being screened through our prejudices.


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At 7:33 AM, Blogger The Legal Janitor said...

hey man, brilliant work! nothing like actual testing in the field to search for the truth


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