Cultural differences

What’s sometimes really hard to remember is that people don’t do things the same in all parts of the world. I have two separate posts related to things that are different from South Dakota versus the East Cost America. That’s just in one country. (I also hope to maybe someday write a story about those differences. I know, it’s been done in many movies, but all from people in Hollywood, and I think it’ll be really funny.)

One of these examples is that the ten children my teacher went to kindergarten with were also in his graduating class.

Anyway, that being said, my sociology  professor likes mentioning similarities between other cultures. I’m not sure how much I trust him on this. I don’t like him for a number of reasons that I don’t want to go into at the moment. However. I’m going to post these here with the idea that it can help the creative juices flowing on what you can change in your world.

• In North America, if you raise your eyebrows, it indicates doubt. However in Peru, it means you should pay me. In the pacific, it merely means yes.

• Movies from America aren’t shown in the Middle East because they are too sexie.

• There is no internet in Cuba. (Rather reminds me of the situation last I heard in Egypt.)

• In Saudi Arabia, it is a sign that the agreement has been settled and both parties are content when you hold hands, even if both parties are represented by men.

• In Europe, both men and women greet each other by kissing on the cheek.

• Here’s a strange one and I’ll actually tell you a story to illustrate it. Someone from my school went to visit Asia. He went to the bathroom and started doing his business. As he stood in front of the urinal, someone came up from behind and began to massage his shoulders. (CREEPY!) It turned out there are some places that pay men to stand in restrooms and massage people’s shoulders in order so they relax while they go.

• I had one more note here that caused me to search the internet. And I found this on Answer.com (which, I know, not very reputable but they are supposedly quoting oxford dictionary.)

The quintessential British offensive gesture for most of the 20th century, formed by holding up a hand with the middle and index finger upright in a V shape, the thumb and other two fingers curled into the palm; the palm facing towards the gesturer. If asked, most people would gloss the meaning as ‘F—you’ or something similar, and it was certainly a very potent offensive gesture until recent years when it seems to be losing its ability to offend.

• Especially in the midwest of America, adulthood is obtained when someone turns 21 and can drink. (Supposedly.)

Now, if I have any of these wrong, please tell me, because I don’t like being wrong and I do question my source. (I really don’t like this teacher.) Do you know any other differences between other countries as far as gestures and the like?

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About Abigail

I'm an elementary education major at a college in the Midwest. I might graduate as early as December '13 but more likely May '14. I write when I can. I also knit on occasion, draw, do homework and contradict teachers to make people think. :)

3 responses to “Cultural differences”

  1. Simone Benedict says :

    I could add a few to your list. In many parts of the Midwest there is a certain rite of passage when a kid gets a b.b. gun (I was four). There’s another when a kid goes on a first hunting trip (I was seven though I refused to participate).

    Your idea about noting the differences and changing the world is a very good one. I wish you the best!

    • Abigail says :

      Well, I’ve only lived in the midwest for about 7 years. (So only 1/3 of my life.) Four of those weren’t even in hunting territory. So I don’t know a lot about midwest rights of passages. :) I barely know where half the towns in the area are.

  2. cupidsbow says :

    The V sign is something that seems to be limited to the UK – I spent some time in the States a few years ago, and nobody knew what it was. The peace sign is the same but with the hand facing the opposite way, and this one seems to be more universally known.

    It’s probably not as rude as it once was, but it could still cause offence in some quarters. The middle finger has replaced it as the really offensive hand gesture.

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