I went to see a fortune teller with Mia, and he told me I have more bad luck than good luck in the area of romantic love, so I had to go tam boon, or make merit, you know, to help balance out the luck. Why not? Tamai la!

He gave me very specific instructions based on my numerology and feng shui. There were a couple of wats I could go to. I had to go on Monday (the day of my birth), with fifteen white flowers and fifteen incense sticks between the hours of 1.30 and 3pm, 2-5 times before my next birthday.

So I went. I did it. I told the monk I was here to tam boon for love. He gave me my blessing and it was kind of fun. And later when I told my friend he said, “Weren’t you embarrassed?”


I was taken back. Was I supposed to be embarrassed? So that got me thinking, is it embarrassing to ask for what you want? Is this one of those differences between male and female?

Then I remembered a few days back when I was eating out with the same friends in a heavily concentrated touristic part of the moat. I was flexing my usual people watching skills, watching the parade of hippie types and relaxed individuals, when I muttered, “They are so dirty looking.”

I think my friends were shocked by my statement, probably thought I was being an ass. I felt bad because of their reaction, and later realized I had said the very same thing my mom had said before.

Egats. I was acting like my mother.

But I agree with her here, and this time, I won’t apologize. Because when I was living in the US, I remember feeling the derogation of society watching folks care less and less about their appearance and general grooming. It was not uncommon to see folks wearing PJs or pajamas at the grocery stores, sometimes complete with bunny slippers.

At second or first glance perhaps this is fun and silly but combined with the landscape of fat America, surrounded by consumerism and strip malls, I felt like I was on another planet, one that I want to get off of.

Perhaps it is embarrassing to take pride in your appearance, you know excessively vain or something. Perhaps somewhere along the line of life, it became cool to look bedridden. I don’t know, but I’m a bitch for saying this, right?

I ran into this same feeling in Hawaii, working at a public school. Teachers want to be taken seriously but here our were educators dressing beneath their station. And I understand Hawaii is a very casual place. I grew up there but it doesn’t mean we can’t be comfortable and look professional too.

I miss the time in US history where the men and women dressed with style. I miss class. I miss taste. Maybe that is why I like Thailand for this reason. (Their emphasis on appearance, not necessarily their dress.) There are times when I see a tourist dressed comfortably and well, and I want to stop them and take their picture. I should, shouldn’t i? I think clothing like art, is a reflection of society: Thai society copying Japanese and Korean pop culture, US citizens just – giving up.

Yeah, isn’t it funny what we consider embarrassing.

2 replies on “You’re embarrassing

  1. I just went in the bathroom and when I looked in the mirror I noticed I had my shirt on backwards (to my credit, I DID bother to turn it back around face forward). And the, y’know, my grey-green clogs, I bought a new pair, and I left them on my balcony, and after a couple weeks they melted and warped. Now I’ve gone back to wearing the old ones until I can make it to the mall to buy a new 300 baht pair. One has a hole in the bottom.

    Back when I used to have a corporate job and had to go to work formal, and had a corporate salary, though, I had a collection of over 30 ties.


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