Today I broke my silence. I spoke out in Sociology class, determined to get a response of any kind from someone. Prompted by my instructor, I stood up for my firm belief that Janet Jackson's nipple would not bring the end of civilization as we know it. After more than half a semester of sitting silent while the professor tried to spark discussions on topics ranging from outsourcing of more jobs, other cultures, wars, shady legal dealings in our government, and several crises in the middle east, the class exploded into fierce debate. Over a nipple. The real shocker was the highly enlightened, rosy-necked, young man who, none so tactfully, requested I leave (The United States of America North of Mexico and South of Canada, that is) if I did not subscribe to the Puritanical ideals set forth by our forfathers (my stance=nipples good, everyone has them, legislate something important). He said it under his breath, and with no lack of anger. After I asked him to share his thoughts with everyone (louder, please), a great many of the students in the class turned to stare at us (myself and Ross, who was also throwing in his two cents here and there). They continued to steal spiteful glances the rest of the class, even after the rukus died down. A good portion of them glared as they filed past on the way out (Ross and I have this annoying tendency to pack up our class materials after the professor has finished speaking hence everyone makes it out before us). The experience riled me, to say the least, and sparked lively debate with my peers over beers afterward. Anna, Ross, and I made a pact to stir things up for the rest of the time we have with this lovely segment of the population of Tennesee Tech University. My fear is that if the class becomes so enraged and hateful to us for speaking our mind about nipples, what happens when we hit the hard stuff?
This brings me to another point I have been mulling over, and may have solved. Recently it has troubled me greatly that Ross and I are heading in a very "Green Acres" direction. He's all fresh air, I'm all Times Square. Even though my upbringing centered solely on Western Kentucky and Eastern Tennessee, I have never lived in an area so rural in all my life as I do now. When I dream of my post graduate existence, I see tall buildings, a passable theater district, concrete, corporate art, jazz clubs, mass transit, bums. Ross sees the seventh level of hell in that description. He sees dilapidated farmhouse, tracts of land. This, in a potential life partner, is a deeply serious character flaw. Not that there's anything wrong with dilapidated farmhouse, but perhaps not for my late twenties/early thirties. Perhaps not ever. Luckily, I think I'm getting to him, and today's discussion with our anti-intellectual bible belt friends may have put a few nails in the coffin. I understand there is ignorance everywhere, but it is usualy more palatable in the presence of a decent place to get Indian food within walking distance.