by Amanda/Backpacking Tips Asia
While backpacking in Asia, you're going to meet a lot of people; backpackers and locals. Getting to know locals is fun and in most cases it generates interesting conversations.
1) "Why you not married?"
Who hasn't heard this comment before? Whether you're single or not, if you think you're hot or not, you're going to be asked this question.
I've been asked this question by locals in Asia, male and female. It doesn't necessarily mean that they're hitting on you, sometimes it's loose talk, part of the let's-ask-this-farang-some-intimate-questions-round or just plain ice-breaker to make conversation. It depends on the context.
Well, let's talk about what this comment usually means. I haven't needed to lie about having a boyfriend or a spouse because I do have a boyfriend I can refer to when people ask me if I'm married or have a boyfriend. That wasn't the hardest question to answer.
But in situations where the conversation developed and it felt uncomfortable, the trickiest part was to answer this because I had to choose to lie or not:
"Where is your boyfriend?"
Oh crap, should I tell the truth, that my boyfriend is in Norway, or should I lie and say that he's in Thailand waiting for me. I pulled the truth in Koh Pha Ngan and that didn't go well (not threatening, it only made me very uncomfortable. I wished I told the lie just to save myself from the hassle). I tried the lie in Phnom Penh and that went well.
So what does this mean?
Most normal people don't enjoy lying. But in some situations it is necessary. What's better? Rejecting them the traditional way (like, I'm not interested) or serving a white lie to protect yourself?
I don't have the answers. All I know is that I've lied when I've felt uncomfortable. I didn't feel good about it, but I did.
While we're at it, there are some persistent guys out there, and sometimes lying about having a boyfriend or not won't help. Is total rejection the most efficient way to handle it then?
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2) "Why you so brown?"
Pale backpackers who don't tan easily would probably find this comment as a compliment. In my situation, I'm not sure if it was a compliment.
I was staying in Bangkok for the 3th or 4th time and was heading for Koh Chang island the next day. I wanted to book a nice bungalow and decided to try a travel agency instead of reading reviews online. I stayed at Rambuttri Village Inn and just a couple of meters off their property, dozens of travel agencies, restaurants and shops await you. I picked a travel agency and talked to the guy sitting behind a desk. A nice and chatty guy, that's for sure. I booked a bungalow based on his recommendations.
When I passed their office later that day, he looked at me and waved me in.
We talked about Koh Chang and how tourists love beaches, how I love beaches. And then he said:
"Why you so brown? Brown dirty..."
I was like: "Uhhmm.. Because I like it."
"But why do you need to be brown?"
Again I said: "Because that's how I like it."
I looked him in the eyes and at some point he just shrugged and said: OK, OK.
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