Ms. Manners for other cultures?

Probably because I am not awake yet to think of the proper search terms; (And I know the glorious brains on SDMB will have the answer!) where can I find references to what other cultures find offensive?

I think (if I recall correctly) it is offensive to maintain eye contact in Asian countries for extended periods of time, whereas in the U.S. it might be seen as dishonest or ‘shifty’ to do otherwise.

In some Arabic cultures, showing the sole of your shoe is an insult (I recall images of natives beating a statue of Saddam with their shoes).

That should be enough to get everyone started - I actually need this for reference material so any links on comprehensive differences would be MUCH appreciated! ;j

There’s a series of books called “Culture Shock” that has just the information you need. “Culture Shock: Japan,” “Culture Shock: Mexico,” “Culture Shock: United States,” etc. They’re written by a British guy so they’re from the British perspective.

FTR, I’d love to read “Culture Shock: United States,” to see what a British guy warns other Britons about the US.

They’re not written by any particular guy but by a foreigner in the country. I own two, “Culture Shock: Sweden” is written by Charlotte Rosen Svensson, of Welsh/English parentage but has lived in the US, Germany Australia and Hong Kong, and “Culture Shock: Britain” is written by Terry Tan, who is from Singapore.

Try these to start

runner pat thank you for the links!!! Those were precisely what I needed… also another (that I threaded through from your links) is

Many thanks also to amaset and HeyHomie for assisting the higher education efforts… :slight_smile:

Actually, on that note, does anyone know WHY it is considered a grave insult in Saudi to show the soles (bottoms) of one’s foot or shoe?

Also another custom that I’ve found to be on the top of my ‘odd’ cultural fluxes is that a long, noisy, loud burp after a meal signifiying great culinary pleasure…!!

Consider a pre-industrial city. The streets are filled with horses & other draft animals, defecating onto the street. As you walk through the street, you get this stuff all over your shoes, especially on the soles.

Hence, the soles of your shoes are especially foul. Showing them to somebody, or hitting something with the soles of your shoes, is symbolically smearing them with animal droppings.

Well, that’s how it seems to me.