Freetown, Baby!

Getting Shirty by jc2010sl
June 14, 2010, 1:59 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Physical contact is much more common in social interactions over here than in staid, Victorian England. Salones will pat your wrist if they want to patronise you, put a hand on the shoulder as a gesture of friendliness or slap one another heartily on the back while dissolving with laughter.

I mentioned a Salone colleague in passing with an expat and noticed her visibly shudder. “What’s the matter?” I asked “He’s just so creepy” came the reply. “I’m sure it’s just a cultural thing; you have to go with it” I said, sure in the knowledge that I was just less uptight about these things.

Next time I met the colleague in question, sure enough, he was patting me on the shoulder and drawing me by the wrist to look at an email he was drafting. “As I suspected”, I thought to myself, “just part of the culture”. I was somewhat taken aback though, when he pointed out that my shirt was hanging out and proceeded to tuck it in for me.

I had to admit to my colleague that I didn’t think she wasn’t over-reacting, and it did leave me feeling I wasn’t quite as comfortable with the culture as I’d thought.


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