Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Staring Issue

Since I was a child the grown ups in my surroundings have always told me that it's impolite to stare and/or point a finger at someone. Why is that? I sat down to think about the reason behind this cultural taboo. Obviously a person that doesn't fit the socially accepted standards of look can, or can not (depending on that person's self esteem I suppose) lead to that person feel exposed and ridiculed. If on the other hand someone you just walked by is wearing a gorgeous dress or happens to have eight young children running around her feet I can't really come up with a good excuse to why it wouldn't be ok to look.

In Morocco things are of course different. You can sit on a bus and be aware of at least 3-4 people staring at you for God knows what reasons. And the thing is, in Morocco it's totally fine to stare, even at disabled people or those who look funny for whatever reason.

Throughout my travels I have learned to accept the fact that people stare at me and now it's not a big deal at all. But if the same thing would happen to, let's say a typical (maybe drunk) male in the street or in a pub, the poor starer might want to watch out if he wants to avoid hostile situations.

I find it funny how small things like this can be such a big issue if you're not aware of them and are in the wrong place at the wrong time. So my best advice to anyone who is planning to go on vacation somewhere is to look into the culture of your destination. Find out what social taboos there are and what certain noises can mean. Not too long ago I called (for fun) for my fiancé by making the sound "kssss kssss". Where I come from that's what you say when you want the attention of a cat. Little did I know that that very same noise means that you're a prostitute and want to attract a customer. Needless to say, I learned my lesson and is now saying "missss missss" whenever I want to call for the cats!


kalle said...

we call cats (Bisss Bisss ) in my culture : ). cats and ladies it almost something similar in my culture ; )

Meme said...

Hah, well cats are intelligent and gracious creatures, so why not?