Where is your face?

What are the similarities and differences between the following cases? :



The similarities among them, which immediately cross my mind when I look at these pictures, are that

  • everybody is a human being
  • they all have their faces covered but their eyes are visible

The differences are a bit more numerous than the similarities but on the back-burner

  • three of these people are male and the other three are female
  • they are resorting to different expedients to cover their faces
  • the color of their expedients is sometimes slightly different, other times very different
  • the material of their expedients might also differ. In one case, it is very different


Why, albeit the strong similarities among them, nevertheless we do consider and treat one of them completely differently?


For safety reasons, one with covered face is not allowed to enter a place.  Should you want to enter a bank or any other kind of institutions with your face covered, you will not be allowed; The security guys will surely approach you at the entrance and ask you to unveil your face if you want to have access. Safety is just common sense, isn’t it? It is indeed true that there are people out there who have criminal intentions and you need to protect yourself. That is why there are safety rules. You just cannot enter a bank with your face covered. Would you let some stranger with their covered faces enter your house?

Do you think you could undisturbedly pass a police checkpoint or a border or the security check at the airport with your face covered? To pass the security check at an airport you need to show your passport and your face must be visible, of course! It’s so self-evident a thing that does not even need to be mentioned at all. So, why am I mentioning it, though?

Well, there happens to be one of the above cases to whom exceptions are indeed conceded.

Why is it like that? Well, because the case at stake allegedly belongs to a practice of a religion. It means that because of their religion, we make an exception and arbitrarily act against the safety rules, which are normally meant to protect all the citizens.  Behind that covered face could hide a terrorist or just a face that authorities are seeking for or simply a different face from that one depicted on the identity document which they are carrying.

This means that, because of the exception we concede to their people, not only are  we disobeying the safety rules prescribed by the law and ridiculing the promise that “everybody is equal before the law” – but we are also accepting to run the risk of putting ourselves at risk of a criminal attack.

We are acting against the law. We are treating somebody differently due to their religion. It is illegal to discriminate on grounds of race, sex or religion.

Any other person keen on covering their face would surely protest against this inequity and ask for a clarification a là “why is she allowed to pass the security check with her face covered but not me??!”.


It is indeed a justified question, isn’t it?

Maybe a quick solution for the remaining and discriminated five cases from above to make them also allowed to undisturbedly walk around and pass any kind of security checkpoint is to invent for them a religion that also professes this practice.

Categories: miscellaneous | Leave a comment

The bizarre phenomenon of the handkerchief jutting out from the back trouser pocket

It is amazingly impressive how ridiculously people are able to behave. As is the way other fashions develop and spread, also this ridiculous and absurd habit seems to follow this path.

I assume that some time ago some salsa-dancer must have had a handkerchief on him, which he might have put not intentionally but rather by chance into his back pocket, maybe just with the purpose of having it within reach to dry his forehead or/and his neck from the sweat.

This handkerchief might have accidentally jut out from the back pocket thus being visible.

On that day, some “smarter” dancer might have found it *cool*, and he must have made the decision on a whim to make sure he always have a handkerchief jutting out from his back pocket too,  when going Salsa dancing.

An Italian saying reads:

“piscia uno, pisciano tutti!”

which in English would be something like:

“no sooner the one pees, than everybody pees”

So, the “piscia uno, pisciano tutti-phenomenon”  did the rest. Click, whirr!

Now, if you go Salsa dancing, you will notice handkerchiefs of different colors jutting out from the back pockets of those cool dancers. It is funny. They look as though they have all grown a tail :-)

To some extent, this phenomenon has even turned into a sort of status symbol. In fact, this silly phenomenon is more widespread among advanced dancers – or those who pretend to be as such.

Like a herd of sheep led by a foolish fashion initiated by lucky coincidences, these dancers show off their belief in being *cooler* than those from whose back pockets no handkerchief is jutting out.

“Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I’m not sure about the universe.” [Albert Einstein]

I just cannot help laughing at these fellows every time I see them. Finding myself outside this epidemic, I can enjoy the delight of ridiculing this behavior, but no sooner do I try to put myself into their empty heads, than I get a fright at the sudden realization of the problem hidden behind the appearance.

It makes me realize, once again, how naïve, manipulable, predictable and foolish the human brain is. It is exactly this feature of vulnerability that makes it possible for the industry of adverting to exercise  a strong, manipulative and deceptive power over us. Click, whirr!

> Now that we know we behave like goslings, it is important to understand the process by which our first decisions translate into long-term habits. To illustrate this process, consider this example. You are walking past a restaurant, and you see two people standing in line, waiting to get in. “This must be a good restaurant”, you think to yourself. “People are standing in line”. So you stand behind these people. Another person walks by. He sees three people standing in line and thinks, “This must be a fantastic restaurant”, and joins the line. Other join. We call this type of behavior herding. It happens when we assume that something is good (or bad) on the basis of other people’s previous behavior, and our own actions follow suit. < *

*[cf. predictably irrational, page 43, Dan Ariely]

My intent is not to make fun of these silly dancers at all costs. For all I care, they can keep flaunting their stupidity together with their handkerchiefs.



I am instead appealing to those people among you – who might be affected by this blindness –  who have the intelligence not to feel offended by this page but rather to comprehend the positive intent of the  message in the foreground.

Everybody – me included – sometimes follows/absorbs a fashion without really thinking about it or even being aware of it.

We should start become aware of our vulnerabilities.

I would recommend the following reading material:

Thinking fast and slow ,  Daniel Kahneman

Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, Robert B., Phd. Cialdini

Predictably irrational, Dan Ariely

The invisible gorilla, Christopher Chabris & Simon Daniels


Categories: Salsa | 2 Comments

The Importance of Footwork

“Why should I bother to learn difficult footwork, just show my some nice partner-figures!” I have heard so many learners say. It is true: learning footwork requires perseverance and dedication. But this is exactly why footwork is the most important part in becoming a truly good dancer. After all: if becoming a good dancer would not require at least a little bit of hard work, you would miss out on that rewarding feeling of having achieved something great at the end.

Take a look at the dancefloor and you will see many guys spinning their partner around in sophisticated salsa figures but at the same time barely moving their own feet. That is why footwork is indispensable: it enables you to move with the rhythm and improvise along with whatever dance figure you are performing. The more footwork patterns you learn, the more you will learn to feel, love and play with the rhythm. Also, learning new and complicated patterns with your partner will be so much easier, since you will not have to think so much about your feet anymore.

Categories: Salsa | 3 Comments