• Something smells fishy!!!

    12 August 2009
    Bas and I were walking back from visiting my grandparents and parents tonight. Goldie, my neighour's dog, came with us for the walk. On our way, he ran into another dog and they started sniffing each other's bum, as dogs worldwide are wont to do. Bas wrinkled her nose and said that was disgusting, and she couldn't understand why dogs did that. I explained that it's a social thing, their version of shaking hands. I said it was like us having to bow when we went to Japan, in order to fit in with local customs.

    Then I started chuckling. What if there was a country where, if you wanted to be polite, you had to sniff a person's bum when you met them for the first time?!? Bas, of course, snorted at my infantile sense of humour, but hey, it COULD happen!!! People have all sorts of weird customs. In fact, who's to say there isn't a country out there someplace where that already IS the norm?!?

    Then I thought, if I did travel to such a place, would I engage with the locals? The answer, I think, is a resounding yes!!! It's not that I particularly LIKE the idea -- but I always try to adjust to the local mentality when I travel. Indeed, one of the joys of travelling for me is seeing how other people live and trying to get on with them by adopting their ways, rather than expecting everyone everywhere to act as I do. In Japan, it's impolite to pick your nose in public, but polite to slurp when you're drinking soup, so when I'm there, I keep my fingers away from my nose, and slurp loudly when dining -- it's the polite thing to do! I wouldn't want to go around sniffing bums if I was the only person doing it (and I doubt that I would be allowed to!!!), but if everyone was doing it, I wouldn't want to be the stuffy, xenophobic, odd one out!!!!

    But THEN I started thinking -- what sort of a state would people keep their bums in if that was the case?!? Would everyone wash deeply and use perfume and deodorant, to keep their posteriors smelling nice and fresh, to make a good impression?!? Or would that be considered flashy behaviour?? Maybe a bit of a whiff would be like a good, firm handshake. Maybe people wouldn't wipe too hard after going to the toilet, in order to cultivate a dark, dank smell!!!!! How would you find the balance between an interesting odour and an offensive one?!? Could you be trained to get the smell JUST right?!?!? Would you be expected to comment on the smell of another person's bottom after you'd sniffed it???? Would one's stench be a topic of smalltalk, the way that the weather is in most countries???????

    Sometimes I think I think too much.....

    Wink
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