Monday, March 29, 2010

You Can't Handle The Truth

I've noticed something about the Filipino culture.

They are honest... which is a very admirable quality.

But then there is too honest... or simply saying too much.

Take Chat for instance...

We were over at a friends house for dinner when Lee asked...

Lee: Hey Chat, what did you think about the Spaghetti? Pretty good, huh?

Chat: Oh, yes sir! The sauce was very good. But the noodles... the noodles much over cooked.

And she made a disgusted face to emphasize her point.

This exchange was followed by some uncomfortable looks as we sat there awkwardly next to our dinner host, and also the cook for the evening.

***

As Americans, we've mastered the little white lies of social niceties.

The food is always excellent... even if it was inedible and you spit every other bite ever so discreetly into your napkin.

Your coworker's new hair cut looks better than ever... as you try not to stare at that prominent bald spot you've never noticed before.

And your best friend never looks fat in that outfit.

We often don't ask the question to hear the truth... we ask the question to hear what we want to hear. It's like some big secret everyone is in on, and therefore, everyone knows what to say. This must be a western culture thing, or maybe the Filipinos just missed the memo.

If you ask a question... you better be ready to handle the truth.

***

Last Thursday, after being sick and wearing nothing but pajamas for week, I finally felt good enough to put on some normal clothes.

Me: Good morning, Chat.

Chat: Oh! Good morning Ma'am! You feel better this morning?

Me: Yes, I actually put on regular clothes today.

Chat: Yes Ma'am.

Me: And look... I think I may have even lost weight, I guess there is one good thing about being sick.

Chat: Oh yes Ma'am, I think you look very trim.

Me: Thanks Chat.

Chat: Yes Ma'am, you used to have much fat.

As she grabs her sides and lower back...

Great... so I used to have "much" back fat.

I guess you can't fault her for being honest.

I could only muster a half-hearted laugh before I promptly went back to my room, changed back into my pajamas and got back in bed.

Obviously, I can't handle the truth.