Social Norm Violation by Kayla Sharee Baucom

On Sunday, I broke what I’m going to call the “Intimacy Norm.” I have a dress that I cannot zip up all the way without help because my arm can’t hyper-extend. Neither of my roommates were home so I started walking to church not all the way zipped up (I was still modest, however). On the way to church, I saw that a girl was sitting on the stairs by herself. I approached her, asked her “May I ask you a strange question?” and then proceeded to ask her to zip my dress the rest of the way up.  She gave me a strange look, but complied. After she zipped up my dress the rest of the way, she told me that she had a bracelet that she called her marriage bracelet because she couldn’t get it on by herself, and would probably only wear it when she got married so she’d always have help. We then parted ways.

I consider this to be a violation of the “Intimacy Norm” because getting help with clothing, whether while trying on clothes at a store and asking a stranger how you look, or just needing a stranger to help you zip up your dress, is something you do with someone you are more intimate with (such as a friend or family member).

The girl that helped me clearly felt awkward at first, and then was empathetic because she had a similar thing happen in her life. I felt a little awkward having to ask for help, but my need to be completely presentable for church (complying with a different social norm) overrode the awkwardness of talking to a stranger.

Good luck everyone!


  1. #1 by janelsue on June 7, 2012 - 11:32 AM

    Good job Kayla!!!!! That might be a little weird. Good example.

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