Wednesday, May 16, 2012


 Each week I meet a callithump of characters while busking. Some of these characters spark interest enough for me to first etch them into my mind, then later type them into my blog, to march in my Chaucerian Parade so to speak.  As I’m sitting with my laptop determining which of these passers-by to be worthy of publication, I’m also pondering the sidewalk laws of attraction that makes them so indelible.  As a buskologist, I’ve come to comprehend the criteria for which I choose to march certain characters in print across my page.  Those chosen have piqued my interest by their face, physique, or phatic chat.

Peoples’ faces represent their first line of communication. Besides those symmetrical visages of Hollywood cover girls and chiseled Marlboro men, funny and strange faces that are chubby, patchy, and pimpled, too, are notable.  Talking to consumers I notice whether they have a countenance that is square, oval, triangular, or stoned. When I’m talking to folks I am actually with faces that are fronting big heads, little heads, empty heads, and talking heads.

Physique refers to the degree to which a person’s physical traits are regarded as aesthetically pleasing or not.  Men, generally, are attracted to women who have a youthful appearance, and exhibit a symmetrical face, full breasts, full lips, and a low waist-hip ratio. And women, generally, are attracted to men who have broad shoulders, narrow waists, and v-shaped torsos.  However, to march in my Chaucerian Parade, none of these attractive descriptors are necessary.  Besides, most women and men do not possess such porn presenting bods. Most people are not pretty, or dainty, or delicate, or brawny, strapping, or handsome.  More people are gawky, or homely, scrawny or rotund.

Phatic Chat:
Phatic chat is the rather insincere small talk that simply impresses or not, a deeper sense of sociability.  How’s it goin’, Have a good day, Nice weather, are just three examples.  There are consumers who want to express further their day-to-day themes of discontent, presenting discourse on politics, religion, and their personal state of affairs.  Such consumers, especially, make discursive fodder for my blog.

This week in my Chaucerian Parade:
  • Gus, the 88 year old returns to chat.  How was your birthday? I ask.  Do you feel any older? Actually, it wasn’t really my birthday, he confesses.  My birthday was in March.  (I am wondering why Gus would fib about his birthday!)
  • And Hank’s Potatoes, too, returns for a chat.  His is sipping a Big Gulp.  I’ve seven bags left to sell, he says, I'll just open the back gate and they'll sell like hot cakes!
  • There is a little boy and girl who keep peeking out the glass door while I play.  They look to be eight and five, respectively.  Do you have a home? asks the little boy.  Moments later he asks, Do you have a family?  
  • Leo, the mad hatter stops for a chat. Leo shops at Value Village only to buy cowboy hats. Fourteen dollars is the most I ever paid, he states.  Come summer at Native Days I sell them at my reserve for around a hundred bucks apiece. 
  • I'm clean now, says Christie the pan-handler, and I've got a good man!
  • You should be playing at the Fainting Goat, states a sixty something guy in a suit and Yankees baseball cap. 
  • You should be playing at the Fainting Goat for sure, states his female companion as she slips a fin into my shirt pocket whilst the Yankee has his back turned.
  • You know what the best thing about busking is, states a beer breath fellow who claims to be a busker from Ontario.  Watchin' the babes! he responds to his own question. 
I must confess, that most of my consumers are quite unlike my self.  Most consumers are unpretentious; they come as they are, forthright in their grace or their grossness, exposing their wisdom or their folly for the world to read.  I remind the reader that my stand-and-deliver performance is all pretend, not the guitar-slinging cowboy my consumers think me to be.

Some factoids on a social theory of human attraction: There are times our conscious selves are drawn to those people having the positive qualities we yearn for, and there are times that our unconscious selves are drawn to those people having the qualities that will wound us. Given this, still it is uncommon and exceptional for any of us to be lustily attracted to someone we deem physically unappealing.

From a buskologist perspective, there is but one factoid of human attraction  ...
All the world’s a consumer parade, of which its marching members unwittingly display their chevrons of face, physique, and phatic chat. 

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