Personal Space

Yesterday after lunch at Pepper Jack Grill in Oletha, the phillies made us all a little gassy. I am personally not a fan of belching in public, but never though it was solely a cultural thing. During college one of my friends took great pride on burping in public at any opportunity and embarrassed all of us while we were at dinner in some of the restaurants we frequented. A burp is at times not something that you can control, but you can certainly control some of the volume if you chose to. Back in Colombia, one of my school mates could say the whole alphabet and is still the loudest person I have ever heard. I went to the wikipedia to see if they had anything on the etiquette and this is what they said:

In many parts of the world, audible burping is not much appreciated and is therefore considered to be somewhat impolite (although generally not as much as flatulence). However, in other areas it can be considered a sign of completion of a meal or a form of applause for the cook. Sometimes, children and teenagers engage in burping contests to determine who can produce the loudest burp, the longest burp, the most guttural burp, the burping of words, songs, or even the alphabet.

After a couple of loud belches on the drive back, and walking into work, I said something. I am personally not offended by it, but one of the worse smells other than a fart is smelling someone else’s burp. That is just something I don’t enjoy. Corey then mentioned how he has noticed that most foreigners are uncomfortable with public belching and I agreed. I added that I find it somewhat rude, but I think it is mostly because of the embarrassment I felt when my friend in college will do it next to a family having dinner. However, it is no worse than when an f-bomb falls out while in a restaurant without realizing there are kinds in the table next to you. (which I have done in the past)

Personal space is one of the most complicated things I have to deal with. Even though I grew up overseas, I have also adopted some of the personal space rules from here in the US. I have a weird mixture of rules about it that can make things fun sometimes.

Last night we went out to watch Monday Night Football, and also got to catch some of the KU basketball game. The manager came over to check on our table and motion to put his hand on the back of one of my friends, but then hesitated. I could not let the opportunity pass to give him a hard time so I said, don’t touch him. We had fun harassing the manager the rest of the night and it was all fun, but it got me thinking about personal space.

When it comes to my friends, my personal space goes back the level it is acceptable in Colombia. I am actually ok with my friends hugging me and sitting next to me at a movie theater. However, the same does not apply for strangers. It irritates when someone that I does not know me comes and pats me on the back. But I do know it is a mixture of what its ok in Colombia, where we are a lot more “touchy feely” and the more conservative US way.

In conclusion, it is totally ok to hug me if you are a friend, just don’t burp or fart while doing it.

6 comments on “Personal Space

  1. In Bosnia there was NO personal space at any time – not when going to the post office, shopping, walking down the street. I kinda missed having a space bubble, and now I enjoy having one again.

  2. hate burping and farting, couldn’t believe that people do it here with pride and in the open. even when I was in the military this was looked down upon. i had to fight that at work with cans of air freshener.

  3. Suggestion noted and followed. Try being a pregnant woman and all of a sudden your belly is public domain. Whole different level of personal space issues.

  4. I’m the same way — I can’t stand having strangers really close to me and I even have difficulty hugging my family (other than Ted). My personal space is practically a fortress. I also can’t stand smelling anyone else’s emissions. My brothers are huge farters and like to do it proudly and loudly and it was driving me crazy last week at Thanksgiving.

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