He who hears the shema drinks the shekar!

Friday, May 11, 2007

A new kind of cross-cultural experience....

I've been fortunate enough to go on three different extended summer 'mission' trips of sorts -- one during HS to the Philippines, one during college to Kenya/Uganda, and one during Seminary to Uganda. Usually in preparation for these trips, there's a lot of talk about 'preparations' for 'cross-cultural awareness' -- much of which is blown way out of proportion, if not bordering on a complete waste of time. Apart from the obvious differences like a different language, no running water, currency exchange, the danger of malaria, or 'Africa time,' there's really not all that much to 'adjust' to. In all of my times oversees, I don't remember being adversely overrun with homesickness, stomach sickness, or that 'lost' sickness that many feel when entering a so-called 3rd-world country.

Not even living in Canada for two years and living in a neighborhood that was predominantly Chinese and Indian made me feel 'uncomfortable'!

Moving to 'LA LA' land from Texas to go to college? No big deal.

What about working at a food pantry, a trouble-teens house, a soup kitchen, and the like? No problem.

What about moving to Berkeley? Different, yes...but so what! I just roll with the punches and fit right in.

However, yesterday I finally had the over-arching sensation of what one missiologist called, 'cross-cultural confusion'. I was lost, shocked, bedazzled...yea, even a bit terrified. And interestingly, I only had to drive about 15 minutes down the road to discover such confusion.

Although I didn't need a passport for entry, I discovered there's a whole knew 'country' that goes by the name of Victoria. And, no, this new 'country' is not my fiancee, Vicky.

I'm sure lovely Vicky has many secrets that I will soon discover....but long before I met Vick, there was another Victoria in town....who had a whole truck load of 'secrets'!!

Yes, I have finally been exposed to world of women's lingerie!!!

To be perfectly fair, someone previously signed me up for the Victoria Secret's catalog while I was in seminary....under the name, Ashley Morgan. Never did find out who it was, although I have my suspicions!! That made for a nice laugh every few months, but nothing more.

But this time around, I had to actually learn what all of these things mean. For example, I learned that a 'merrywidow' is not an old lady who discovers new love at the age of 73. And I learned that a 'cami' is not something you wear to hide while playing paint ball in the forest.

[Trying to understand women's clothing sizes is hard enough. I'm convinced that some women long ago purposely came up with these odd 'numbers' just to confuse men trying to shop for their women. I mean, just think about it -- would a guy ever call something a 'Size 0'?? I rest my case.]

Suddenly, I remembered a joke from one of Bill Engvall's stand-up routines -- "I've imposed a new rule for my teenage daughter: the label on your panties better not be the biggest piece of material!" Now, it all made sense!

I just loved the over-eagerness of the employee girls to help me find what I was looking for. I almost felt like asking one of the girls, "Does my shirt have a sign on the back of it that says, 'Clueless Shopper!'?"

I have to lay some of the blame on the ladies that attended Vick's bridal shower last weekend. Listen, I don't know much about bridal showers...but one thing I know is that a few people are suppose to bring lingerie. So when Vick was a bit disappointed that she didn't get any, I decided I would have to take things in to my own hands....which might not have been such a good idea.

For now on, I'm buying online -- there are some stores where men just should not physically enter!


Kim H said...

I'm sorry you had to venture in there alone. What confusion! Too many choices for a guy to have. It gets easier....you'll see. Soon it'll be fun! well, we'll see....

Joel said...

LOL I went in there once....never again! I blushed when I walked in, and never stopped blushing. It's like the place is perfectly calculated to make men feel awkward. Online is definitely the way to go!