Quest of a lifetime - In search of deviance...

Hey folks; I come to you with a rather unusual request. My SO has to perform some public “deviant” behavior for her sociology class, and has asked me for help. (Those of you who know me can, of course, see the wisdom of asking me for help with deviant behavior - consulting an expert is usually a good move :)) Anyway, the rules are simple; it can’t be anything that would result in a fine or in prison time - other than that, anything goes.

Oh - I am asking for help because, as a deviant, this kind of behavior seems utterly normal to me. So, how about it; what do you think I should have her do?

[sub][sup]hee - this should be fun :slight_smile: [/sub][/sup]

Are we talking sexually deviant, or plain ol’ garden variety deviance here?

I just want to know my parameters before I make a list. :smiley:

Deviant like what? Facing the back of a crowded elevator and talking to a wall? Standing in the middle of a park and dumping water bottles over your head? Dressing up as Spiderman and running around a city block?

A friend of mine used to tell me, whenever I mentioned what normal people did, or thought, or even looked like,

“Tris, you wouldn’t recognize a normal person if one was chewing on your leg.”

This brings us to my suggestion.

The variable matter would include whether you want a staged exhibition with known participants, or if you want her to elicit the cooperation of unknown people. For safety sake, I recommend the former avenue. From her perspective it really doesn’t matter if she chews on your leg, or vice versa. Either aspect is sufficiently outside of the parameters of frequently observed public behavior to qualify as “deviant” in a statistical sense.

Do let me know how it turns out, if you choose this particular deviance to experience.

pretty much the garden variety - sexual stuff in public tends to upset the law…

Tigg was pretty accurate :slight_smile:

Well, there goes any hope of participation that I had.

Walk around with a dog leash. No dog, just the leash.

Every so often, just say “Meep!”. If people comment, deny everything.

Take a leaf out of the Monty Python book and get some Silly Walk action happening.

Just some suggestions…

Do not perform any deviant public behaviour, and when the time to hand in the work arrives your SO will be the only one, and therefore deviant, however in becoming publicly deviant at this time will negate the original non deviant behaviour, meaning deviant behaviour has taken place and therefore they are not deviant by being non deviant???
I’m getting confused now.

Elevator jokes!!!

Le Sang, we have elevators here. Elevators create private audiances. So many, many things can be done in elevators…

Pick your nose and eat the boogers.

Stand just to one side and mutter to yourself for the entire demonstration.

Answer every question or statement put to you with, “Huh?”

Show up entirely in women’s clothing (which can also bring up the debate, “Is transvestitism deviant? Why or why not?”)

Discuss nothing but your favorite stuffed animal from childhood, and why you miss it, in loving, excruciating detail.

Eat Corn-Nuts constantly. And make sure you talk with your mouth as full as possible.

Sit up on a table and clean your toenails. Preferably with a dagger.

Assuming that I’m guessing the nature of this assignment correctly, one good deviant act to try might be the following: whenever greeting someone do not wave or say hello. Instead, express the greeting in some other way, such as by bowing (as they often do here in Korea) or by making a quick sideways nod of the head (as they often do in my native Newfoundland). Or make up your own greeting.

One advantage of using this behavior for the assignment is that it’s an act your SO will have to perform quite often; she will have to greet just about every person she interacts with over the course of this project. Because of the number of times she must greet people, and the number and variety of people she must greet, she should be able to observe many different reactions.

This behavior deviates from the norms of North American society, but it will not appear to be the effect of mental illness (as talking to the back of an elevator might) nor will it make your SO appear to be some kind of a performance artist (as dumping water on her head in a public place might). Therefore, it may be useful if this activity is meant to examine deviancy in a “pure” sense. Also, this behavior shouldn’t be too embarassing to perform. Not knowing your SO, I don’t know how important this factor is.

What do you think, sirs?

A friend of mine had to do this…
If I remember she ended up with a toss-up. Either not hold doors for people (and don’t thank them when they do for you) or sit in a place like a cafe and look at people. When they look up, don’t look away (as one usually would.) I think she ended up going with the cafe, because she could just sit there for the afternoon (with good coffee…) and make notes of reactions.

The easiest way to look insane in public: try to bite your own ear.

I used to give this assignment to my social psych classes. Pyrrho12’s greeting idea is a good one. The most interesting reports always came from people who had done something just a little off, rather than from people who dressed up in funny costumes or whatever.

Some ideas from my classes:

–Mess with personal space. Stand a bit too close or a bit too far from people when you are talking to them. Or sit down next to a person on a bus or in a library when there are open seats further away.
–Wear an obviously stained or damaged item of clothing, or wear similar but unmatched shoes.
–Wear or carry an item associated with the opposite gender, such as a purse for men. This is harder for women, but I did have one female student who spent a couple of days smoking a pipe (the old-fashioned Ward Cleaver kind) in public.

It was interesting to see what students were willing to do for this project. I had a couple of guys who wore makeup and one girl who used the occasion to have her nose pierced. (Then there was the time when the guy with the makeup ran into a group of parents getting the a tour of the campus…)

One of my friends had to do this assignment for her Psych class. Hers was hilarious because no one expected it of her.
She’s a very teacher’s pet sort of person, very proper. Well, one day during the last 5 minutes of English class, she jumped to her feet, exclaimed, “I’m not staying in here; we’re not DOING anything!” and stalked out. We had no warning; everyone sat there, mouth agape.

She came back and apologized a few minutes later.

Some popular sociological studies that I remember from my classes include walking down the street backwards and trying to bargain/haggle with vendors (e.g. offering to pay for and keep only half of a candybar). IIRC there was also one involving people wearing bathingsuits out on the street (i.e. not near a beach/pool). If you’re really stuck for what might be appropriate (or inappropriate, as it were) you should review some of the literature – you’ll get a lot of ideas, and many of the studies are rather amusing.

Every once in awhile, and for no apparent reason, glance at your shoulder, grimace, and grab the imaginary object and fling it to the floor simultaneously shouting “Get Off!” then stomp on it.

We did this in psych class. My favroite was the guy who went into the porno room of the video store, grabbed about 7-8 of them, went to the front desk and asked for recomandations. It was a woman checker.

Ya know, my first thought when I saw the topic was, “Jesus, LeSang, you hang around us sickos in chat and you don’t know what deviance is.” Then I read the thread.

There are a couple things I do when I really want to mess with someone. Sometimes, if asked what I’m doing, or some mundane question like that, I’ll respond “because they told me to do it.” If pressed on who they are, I’ll just repeat. Ad nauseum.

The other thing I’ll do is if someone’s leaving the room, catch their eyes and follow them with my eyes as they leave.


Vestal Blue: Does the object HAVE to be imaginary, or just invisible??