The card my friend sent is lying on the kitchen counter. She is staining the deck and washing windows with her husband. Mike does everything. He is a good man.
Next to the card are the flours, beans and stuff that I just bought. On the packages there is a tagline that reads, word by word, “Modern good men occasionally should also cook.”
I don’t know how long the tagline has been there but the fact it is still there means the message is at least acceptable, if not profitable.
When I told my American friends that my husband is away often, they said, “That is tough for you.”
When I said the same thing to my Taiwan friends, they said, “Oh dear, he must be tired often.”
When I told my American friends that I have to be away for two weeks for work, my husband has to take care of the kids, they said, “It is about time.”
When I told the same thing to my Taiwan friends, they said, “Aiya, what is he going to do? How not easy [for him.]”
I ran into grandma, who is here to help her daughter. Her daughter is a Taiwanese and had married an American. They got sent here from the U.S., like we did. Grandma said, “My son-in-law is so good. He does everything. He cooks, he cleans, he even gives bath to the daughters. Can you imagine, so good!” My mind got stuck on the word “even”. “But,” she followed, “I don’t feel comfortable. He is a man. A man shouldn’t be giving bath to the girls.” His daughters are around four and six years old.
Culture is a very interesting and profound thing. It is not a small matter if you are living and working here. Imaging your business partner told you the thing I said above, what would happen if you replied, “It is about time”?
What would you say to grandma?