Having lived in Asia for almost 14 years, I have experienced a certain directness that comes with many cultures in the region. Direct comments, which might be considered rude as per western etiquette have become funny to me. There’s an endearing quality in the honesty. Here are a few examples:
“Madam, you have a spot.” A shopkeeper pointed to the bulging pimple on my chin.
“Too much cellulite,” a masseuse said to my friend,
A beautician about to wax another friend’s legs announced, “You have big legs. I charge you double.”
“We don’t have any clothes that will fit you,” a shop assistant informed another friend.
“The skin on your chest is weathered,” a dermatologist said to me.
While I can laugh at my own expense, I draw the line when it comes to confronting comments directed at my children.
“Your daughter?” A woman pointed to my child.
“Yes.” I said.
“She looks like a boy.”
Gee, that’s one way to give a 5-year-old girl a complex.
After living in Asia for so many years, the art of directness has rubbed off on me (not that I have ever been known for my diplomacy skills). Just this morning I said to my 5’1” friend, “You look short today.”
“Do I?” She raised her eyebrows.
“I mean your dress. It’s shorter than you normally wear. It looks nice.”
I don’t know if I redeemed myself but I think she enjoyed watching me dig my way out of the hole. I need to learn to think before I speak.