Body Rituals Among the Lauxesortem.
The anthropologist has become so familiar with the diversity of ways in which different people behave in similar situations that he is not apt to be surprised by even the most exotic customs. It is therefore both inevitable and surprising that the eccentric rituals of the Lauxesortem people were discovered only twenty years ago, hiding in plain sight amongst the urban dwellers of previously understood cultures. As social scientists have had great difficulty penetrating this insular community, it is still poorly understood and seems to enjoy little tolerance from neighboring groups.
The Lauxesortem were discovered simultaneously on different continents, nestled in urban centers as far apart as London, New York City, Rio De Janeiro and Sydney, Australia. Though these cultures appear to have developed independent of each other, they share an almost identical set of values which emphasize, above all, the body and assuring that it is comfortable, hairless and moisturized at all times. Sightings of Lauxesortem have been reported in Peoria, Illinois and Ulan Bator, Mongolia but a more thorough investigation revealed that these were isolated cases, which were quickly forced to assimilate under the threat of pain infliction by the dominant culture.
However, like the Mayans and Romans, it appears that the reign of the Lauxesortem is beginning to collapse. As such, a few social scientists have recently gained access to the Lauxesortem and have noted several consistent trends:
Several times a week, the Lauxesortem engage in ritualistic gyrations at “Equinox,” a temple apparently named for the phenomenon of the sun crossing the celestial equator. If no “Equinox” is in proximity to a Lauxesortem, he has been known to perform the same gyrations at “David Barton Gym.” These temples contain dozens of machines that simulate the ground moving at various speeds and inclines but ultimately take the Lauxesortem to no new destination.
The Lauxesortem obtain their garments from fine clothiers like Nacirema Apparel and the Republic of Banana, where they have been glimpsed browsing the aisles for hours, often trying on the same garment more than once and then deciding to purchase something entirely different. They may even purchase several garments which, to an outsider may appear identical, but the Lauxesortem make specific distinctions between colors like “Charcoal Grey” and “Midnight Grey.”
For entertainment, an aspect of this culture that seems to have no limit, the Lauxesortem attend arenas to witness activities that appeal to subcultures of masculinity that are often in conflict. For example, in the afternoon, they may attend a gladiatorial match, in which Giants battle Vikings while, in the evenings, they attend singing demonstrations by a provocative woman who claims to be the Madonna.
While Lauxesortem men will occasionally agree to participate in marriage rituals with a woman, it is often with reluctance and usually requires a sublimation of several core Lauxesortem values. In fact, the fate of such unions is generally dependent on the presence of two washing basins within the main washroom and the Lauxesortem man being awarded the largest of all clothing storage units in the dwelling.
More than with any other culture, the Lauxesortem interact most frequently with the women of Southeast Asia. However, these interactions appear to serve only the interests of the Lauxesortem and benefits to the women are undetectable.
For example, women from Siam, or what is now Thailand, attend to the nails of the Lauxesortem. While the Lauxesortem initially appeared to limit nail attention to the nails on their hands, recent trends suggest that this indulgent concern has now extended to the nails on their feet, causing social scientists to reconsider the linear progression of evolution.
Vietnamese women, who toil at the local “Kwik-N-Kleen,” cleanse the Lauxesortem garments through a mysterious process of cloth washing without the use of water. Though most of these garments can be washed with water (and it even says so on the little white document sewn to the inside of the garment) the Lauxesortem insist upon this longer, more labor intensive, environmentally insensitive practice. This provides the Lauxesortem with the illusion that their garments will maintain their original sheen and texture.
And while Lauxesortem men are known for keeping an almost spotless dwelling, they will often hire women from the remote Philippine Islands to attend to the most peripheral corners of their living quarters. These women, known as “housekeepers,” are so valued by the Lauxesortem that they are often entrusted with a key to the precious dwelling, even when access is denied to the mothers of Lauxesortem. These housekeepers have also been reported to use a steaming metal tool to create a single pleat in even the most casual of clothing items, like blue jeans. Though, it should be noted, the Lauxesortem bristle at the accusation that any of their garments are “casual.”
Finally, it is important to note that the Lauxesortem people become irritable and defiant when mistaken for the neighboring Lauxesomoh community, which they say may appear similar to outsiders but contains one very distinct difference.
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