No pajamas, no slippers, no flip flips, no flashy clothing, no mismatched socks, no line jumping, no spitting, no tactless questions. Beijingers are receiving a crash course in etiquette as the Olympics loom.
Officials have handed out 4.3 million booklets to local residents, hoping that all of them will be on their best behavior for one month. God forbid visitors return home with pictures of men with their shirts pulled up above their protruding bellies.
Good luck with that.
But to be fair, I haven’t experienced a lot of the bad manners that Beijing is notorious for. Sure, a guy cut in line while others were patiently waiting at the subway ticket booth. That might be the worst thing that’s happened.
The spitting doesn’t bother me much. Perhaps it’s because I spit from time to time.
I think what bothers people is how Beijingers spit. It’s not discreet, not a simple spit and go. The way they spit is guttural, almost primal. It’s as if they’re summoning a vast of amount of mucus deep within their Confucian souls, making it a whole body experience.
Each step, from the collection to the final expulsion, is done at the highest possible decibel, just so everyone within spitting distance can hear, an ominous warning to get the hell out of the way.
If there was a spitting competition in the Olympics, the Chinese would surely take the gold.