Did I really need to know that?

I started to raise this question at my alma mater’s library. I usually spent my vacant time there, as well as one school mate I had did. Most of the time we simply gave each other a tap on the shoulder and a friendly “Kumusta?” (Howdy?) and silently agreed that reading books seemed the perfect pastime.

Later, however , he changed the routine. Matters on private life like the things he usually did when he goes to the comfort room or his practices when his sexual drive seemed uncontrollable — not just of his but also of others’ — became unwanted fodder for conversation. I didn’t know what to say and stammered something unintelligible. He took it for laughter, and each of us — two people different in that respect, really — got on with our reading. But I wondered. Should the fact that we both enjoyed going to the library together give me access to the details of his private life?

I’ll spare you the details of our conversation, but I heard much more than what I was willing to listen to.

When did private matters become so public? I asked.

I try to uphold the standards that enable a shy person to assimilate in society. I ignore tabloid scandals, much more sex scandals. I blush when my friends tell off-colors jokes. In fact, I don’t even discuss them.

Harder to ignore, however, are the confessions of emotional flashers. You don’t seek them out, and sometimes you can forget about escape. They ambush.

Overhead incursions can be just as disturbing. One morning when I was eating with my family, two couples at the nearby house spent almost an hour discussing whether they did or didn’t have sex on their respective teenage years — and why. In detail. And not quietly.Perhaps, it’s human nature to not avoid from blabbing. Or it’s psychobabble that has convinced people it’s healthier to express than to hold back. Surely, they have been opinion-polled, if not consumer-surveyed so often that they’re sure everyone wants to know what they think.

A free-speech advocate raised with discreet manners, I’m personally averse to stopping the emotional flow — verbally, at least. If I’m lucky enough a sharp glance does the trick. But sometimes it takes sterner actions to impose a mild rule.Recently, an old man sitting next to me on a bus station, looking at a men’s magazine, told me an utterly nonsense advice on how to get straight to a girl’s heart. He said it’s how he lured his wife.

“Did I really need to know that?” I told him in vernacular.Publicly, some things are better left unsaid.