Airing Dirty Laundry In Public – Blurred Privacy Lines

by Sherry Riter in Computer

airing dirty laundry in public

With each passing day, I feel less enjoyment and satisfaction in spending my time doing the laundry – washing, drying, folding and putting it away. Do I really have an alternative? Well, yeah, I guess I could just let my clothes stay stinky, but I don’t think many people would want to hang out with me for long nor would my employer want me to pollute the air each day.

There is another type of laundry than the kind we throw in the washing machine. You might have heard the phrase, “air dirty laundry.” That doesn’t mean you hang dirty clothes in the sun on the clothesline. It means that you talk to other people in public about personal things that you should keep private.

The line between public and private has become more blurred since the invention of the computer. Facebook, Twitter, blogs and all the social media sites that bring people together also provide a huge arena to air dirty laundry. My great grandmother’s generation wouldn’t even consider saying half the things that are now blatantly spread across the television, billboards and all over the internet.

facebook airing dirty laundry cheating spouse

Have you ever visited someone’s Facebook page or blog and they are ranting about their spouse or ex-spouse? You find out things that stick in your head long after they make up and delete the posts. Whether they make up or not, it is a public embarrassment that includes clients, colleagues, neighbors, church friends and family. We might all agree that publicly arguing with a spouse or ex-spouse is airing dirty laundry, but where is the dirty laundry line? What constitutes dirty laundry?

I remember one day talking to my mother about husband number two. I said that what he did or didn’t do had no bearing on the way I was going to act. I married him, loved him, cooked for him, went to movies with him, slept with him, had sex with him, took walks in the park with him and did a million other things with him. I’m not going to be evil toward him just because we are incompatible. I sincerely wish him all the happiness in the world. I also don’t feel compelled to have a section on my navigation bar called, “Bash The Ex-husbands.” Besides, doesn’t it take two to Tango?

Public Or Private

There are a few things that I am sure should be kept private.

  • Jurors shouldn’t post about a trial that they are participating in
  • Negative statements about your boss/employer
  • Arguments/disagreements you have with your significant other
  • Times you get high or drunk
  • When you pick up a prostitute

Okay, you might be laughing at that list, but there ARE people who post about those things because I’ve read them on Facebook walls and blog posts.

Now I’m going to list a few things that may not have an answer that is as black and white as the list above. Should you post about these things? Think about it:

  • When you are leaving, gone and coming back from vacation
  • A Social Security number
  • Your home address
  • Your child’s bed wetting problem
  • When your daughter starts wearing a bra
  • Your wife’s lack of desire for sex
  • Your husband’s obsession with porn
  • Sexual preference

The privacy line is easy for me to draw, but everyone doesn’t agree with me. Actually, some people tell everything while other people tell nothing. The line that separates public from private is definitely blurred and I think it is becoming non-existent. All you have to do is watch the news for fifteen minutes to see that some people feel that privacy means nothing. For instance, how many leaked “sex tapes” have there been in the last decade?

Uh huh.



I have written about very personal experiences in my life like this drive I took one day, but I share these things in hopes of helping other people. It might even help my daughter some day too. Although it may be private, it isn’t dirty laundry.

Not only are there people who air dirty laundry, but one website after the next is gathering our private information. Not too long ago, Google came up with the great idea of keeping a history of all the sites we visit because, they said, it would help personalize our experience on the internet. Bah! I find it totally abhorrent that they gather all that information about my online activity. No, I’m not going to porn sites, but that is irrelevant. Even if I only visited the Sesame Street and Walt Disney sites, I still feel it is an invasion of my privacy. However, there’s not much I can do about it unless I want to abstain from using the internet. You and I both know THAT’S not going to happen!

So…What kind of information do you feel is public and what should be kept private?


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Sherry Riter, also known as The Redhead Riter. Sherry is witty, intelligent and addictive as she writes about cooking, family, marriage, failures, blogging tips, art, humor, inspiration, travel, PTSD and aging. Her goal is to inspire, motivate, educate and to make her audience laugh. Sherry embraces being a redhead and helps others to see the redhead point of view…"In some eras redheads were worshipped while others thought us witches. Personally, I like the former and think every day is 'Love a redhead day!'" She can also be found on Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, StumbleUpon, Linkedin, tweeting as @TheRedheadRiter and you can subscribe to her free blog feed.

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