Sunday, February 13, 2011

Off Limits

Social norms are different across every culture.

As an American, many of the things I find socially acceptable are considered taboo in other cultures. For example, in Japan they don't shake hands, in Cambodia, it is unacceptable to touch the top of a child's head, and in the middle east it is rude to show someone the soles of your feet.

One would think, no matter which country you're in, that it would be socially unacceptable to touch someone else's teeth, unless you are a dentist. (And really... most people don't even like dentists.)

Yes, you would think... but no. Because just last weekend, while on the golf course, my caddie tried to touch my teeth. (Well, not my caddie, my regular caddie would never do that, she rocks. But she was busy, so I had a replacement. And it was a mistake.)

Caddie: Ma'am, I like. (Pointing to her own teeth.)

Me: You like teeth?

Caddie: Yes Ma'am, your teeth.

Me: Oh, thank you.

Caddie: Yes. (Big Smile... followed by finger reaching for my mouth.)

At first I thought she was just pointing at them to emphasize her point... then it became abundantly clear that she was in fact going to touch them.

I bobbed and weaved to avoid her outstretched hand, and quickly walked away.

Strike one, caddie. Strike one.

***

On the first hole I found myself in the bunker.

The caddie hit my leg with the rake, which was fine... not a big deal. But then she spent the next three minutes trying to rub sand off my legs. First my teeth... now my legs... Not. Going. Well.

Strike Two.

***

Before we had even reached the green on first hole, I realized not only was she a touchy caddie, but a chatty caddie as well...

The "typical filipino woman" conversation began...

(First, it's usually something about being pretty or skinny or sometimes fat...)

Caddie: You look very sexy Ma'am.

Me: Ha! (<- nervous laughter) ... Thanks. (Although, I highly doubt it... seeing as I have on knee length shorts, and a collared shirt. I thought I had more of a "masculine LPGA" thing going on, but whatever.)

(Then she'll say something about how young I am, or ask about my age...)

Caddie: How old you are?

Me: 26.

Caddie: Oh, so young...

(Then, it's something about babies... which I find odd since she thinks I'm so young.)

Caddie: How many babies you have?! I have five kids!

Me: Wow... I don't have kids.

(Sad face... followed by asking if I'm married...)

Caddie: You married?

Me: Yes.

Caddie: How long you been married?

Me: 2 years.

(Then, as if I couldn't already tell her the exact conversation we were about to have before having it... she asks the inevitable...)

Caddie: Oh. Why you have no kids? (Sad voice... pouty face...)

Me: *Fake Smile*

(*Thinking.... Because I have no desire to have a bunch of kids I can't afford, and because there are other things I want to do besides get married and have as many babies as I can, and because I believe in birth control, and how come nobody in this country understands that?!! - But I don't say that... I never do.*

I absolutely despise this conversation... and if I had a dollar for every time I've had this exact conversation with a filipino woman, I would be freakin' rich. Usually, I just smile and say something like, "Oh, we're waiting," - which they don't seem to understand... or there's always, "I don't know... no babies yet." And then they really give me a sad face because they think I can't have children. I really don't know what the right answer is... perhaps I should just lie and tell everyone I have kids? But during this conversation I wasn't feeling particularly friendly, seeing as she was in severe violation of my "stranger to stranger contact rules," so I said the first thing that came to my mind, because this was definitely Strike 3.)

Me: I don't have kids, because I don't like children.

The look on her face? Complete shock.

Caddie: You don't like children?

Me: Nope.

It was a very satisfying moment... although, I did feel slightly guilty since she was bragging about having five kids, but then I remembered it was strike three and I didn't feel so bad.

***

On hole number 2...

Me: So... my caddie hates me now.

Lee: Why? What did you do?

Me: I told her I don't like children.

Lee: What?! Why would you do such a thing...

Me: She was getting on my nerves... plus she gave me that same whiny, "Why you don't have babies?" bit. It was the last straw. She was horrified, but she hasn't talked to me or tried to touch me since, so it worked. I'm going to start saying that to everyone. Oh, and did I tell you she tried to touch my teeth?

Lee: Noooo

Me: Yep.

Lee: Well, then I'm surprised that's all you said.

***

By hole 8 she was over it... how do I know?

Because she gave me a pat on the bottom...

Fan-tas-tic.