Sunday, July 9, 2006

Privacy Matters

Public bathrooms

How different from France's! In this country, they're open, and you can actually see through. Very désagréable when you've been used to private, enclosed French toilets. Such peek-a-boo, I-hear-you joints don't seem to fit with the puritanistic roots of this country.

Public bathrooms are a good metaphor for the difference in perception of space and privacy in both countries -- another issue of cross-cultural contention. The French will be offended by Americans' immediate familiarity. They will resent having their private space encroached upon without prior permission. Americans are more confessional. They will be hurt by what they perceive as cold, rude behavior from the French. C'est la vie!
Three good books discuss this and other cross-cultural issues :
Cultural Misunderstandings, French Toast, Culture shock! France.
photos LA Frog

No comments: