Whilst I have not yet travelled to South Asia, I know a fair bit about the, errr, ‘touchy’ topic of public affection.
We’re told in our travel advisories and tourist books that in many countries, including Nepal and India, showing affection to our partners in public (even husbands and wives) is rarely seen and should be avoided.
On the other hand, some Nepali friends (only a few, certainly not the majority), say that it’s becoming more common in Nepal’s city areas and whilst living abroad, most Nepalis/Indians adopt to the Western ways.
Recently a reader of my blog emailed me and told me how me how her Nepali husband holds her hand in public whilst in Nepal around his friends (and she is white).
Rabindra was surprised when I told him this and when I asked him whether he would do this in Nepal with me, he said no.
I was a little upset because this topic is something that makes me feel uncomfortable in some regards.
See, when we first met, Rabindra would vehemently avoid holding my hand or kissing me in public and this would annoy me. Like most girls, I thought “what’s wrong with me?”
He’s come around a lot more nowadays and will sometimes hold my hand, touch my butt, or let me sit on his lap when we are in public but I know he’s still a bit uncomfortable about these displays of affection, especially kissing in public.
He says that although he lives in Australia now, he still holds onto his culture quite strongly and says it’s not easy to change your thinking and your habits after living a certain way in his home country for 26 years.
Obviously around his parents and family I would be extremely careful to not do any type of touching that could be deemed inappropriate, but, I feel that if we were visiting other parts of Nepal without people we know, it would be ok to put arms around his shoulders and waist while walking around.
Am I totally off the mark here or is that a realistic expectation?
I’m not going to pressure him and tell him he needs to do it more, but I think it’s just another one of those cultural (and in this case, his personality) issues.
I also feel that with having a language barrier between me and his parents, one way to show I really care about him is to be very caring and hands on. For example touching him on the cheek or neck, rub his shoulders etc, and wondered if this type of affection would be considered OK or not? ADVICE PLEASE!! HAHA
Anyway I wanted to know what you and your other half thinks about public displays of affection?
When you are in South Asia, what types of affection are OK and what’s not OK?
What about around family members?
What about when you are in America, UK, Europe or elsewhere? Does he/she adapt to the Western way of public affection?
Is he/she uncomfortable about it? How does this make you feel?