Free Conversation, Food, Flirting Essay Sample
Public identities are acknowledged not only through what is eaten but through rituals such as the British Sunday lunch in which people feel connected to a wider nationwide community through involvement in a combined activity. Food eating not only works to reproduce ethnic identities but also to confer their significance. For example, Polly Platt's well-liked self-help book for expatriate executives in France, French or Foe (1994), ridicules and derides the common place Anglo-Saxon image of the French as 'luxuriating lotus-eaters' (p. 16), but, however, maintains that 'cultural practices in France is everything significant - history, art, food, love, it's all part of culture' (p. 101). This negative response of culinary traditions can be seen as a sign expressing the longing to establish some degree of independence from the familial culture and simultaneously put forth some control over one's own individuality.
Platt describes the importance of building up a network of friends and acquaintances in what she calls her 'persistent personal operating' procedure. This procedure can also provide the personal touch in cultures in which a personal relationship is necessary to transform a 'no can do' into a 'can do' situation.
Privacy is a part of nonverbal system of communication. Or as Platt so aptly describes it in her guidebook to French manners and more, people walk around inside a series of concentric bubbles that define what's public, what's private, what's personal, and what's intimate. Should a [French] child start babbling at the family dinner table, Platt reports that the parental reply is often 'that's boring', or 'you're just trying to get attention', in order to train the child to wait to speak until he has something witty or valuable to say. That will surely seem cruel and maybe even incomprehensible to lots of people, but remember the objective: they're trying to prepare their children for the real world.