While browsing Korea-related sites the other day I came across a list of social niceties, otherwise known as rules of etiquette (scroll to the bottom of that page for the list). Many of them, of course, made perfect sense: respect your parents, don’t point, clean your plate (although in this era of obesity I tend to think the last one is a bit dated… but I also have a feeling there are fewer obese Koreans). But in the course of reading over the list, I came across a couple of gems, such as:
“Do not cut in line in public.”
Presumably if you’re standing in line in private, it’s okay to cut? I’m trying to think when exactly one might be doing that, since lines in general tend to be public things. I mean, unless you’re lining up for the bathroom in your home. I suppose that might qualify as a private line. Maybe. But I imagine it would also qualify as a line where cutting would not be taken well.
I also came across this one:
“When on the phone, do not hang up before the other hangs up.”
Okay. This is why cell phones are popular in Korea. Because you can never hang up. I mean, never. Each party is waiting for the other party to hang up, and neither party will because it would be rude (sounds like my chats with my sister, not that she and I generally have any problem being rude to each other… in a nice sisterly way, of course)! So, since you can’t hang up, you’re compelled to engage in all activities with a phone glued to your ear. I assume getting your first phone call must be a momentous event, and you probably want to be unavailable if it’s someone you don’t want to be talking to for the rest of your life or until you decide to be rude, whichever comes first. I am so warped: I’ve been thinking of this rule and my misinterpretation pretty much every time I’ve hung up the phone today, and my job entails talking on the phone A LOT.
Finally, here’s one that I thoroughly approve of or thoroughly disapprove of, depending on who I’m with:
“Pay for any meal shared with those younger than you.”
Wait, is that real age or emotional age?