Monday, January 16, 2012


This is a complaining post, and kinda gross, so if you're not in the mood please skip to the next item in your reader. And my apologies in advance to my Brazilian readers (all one of you) for making broad generalizations.

I was leaving an event on Saturday, and noticing the girl seated at the door was kinda cute, when suddenly she said "Snort." She didn't look quite so cute after that.

Actually she didn't say snort, as that implies the use of vocal cords, rather, she was actually making the sound via her nasal passages - presumably snorting mucus back up them.

I've started to notice that this is extremely common here, and apparently not a social faux pas. I've had people, presumably moneyed, educated people, on airplanes snorting away repeatedly, and on my street snorting and hawking is nearly constant. Lucas had a classmate whose mother must have some kind of allergies or something, as she is constantly snorting as she converses with me. Use a kleenex, I think, please.

It's not universal, however, I've discussed it with my wife and she thinks it's as gross as I do. I do wonder what's going on - I know Americans (um, 'Unitedstatesians') are considered crass, so we must do things that other people find offensive and are completely oblivious... is that what's happening here as well?

As I write this the woman who works in the store next to mine has snorted at least three times. That's what got me thinking about it.

The worst thing about this, much like with littering, is trying to get Lucas not to do it. He sees everyone else snorting away, without shame or repercussions, so he doesn't see a problem with himself doing it as well. I am trying to disabuse him of this, with very little effect. So far.


Jennifer Souza said...

It's gross. And socially acceptable. Asians tend to have this in their social acceptability column as well. Sigh.

markuza said...

Sigh is right. At least it's not only Bahia :)

fabiobossard said...

In Rio this is considered impolite and more common among less educated people. When the people has some kind of allergie is more accepted, but still not a common thing.
I didn't know Americans are considered crass. I think Americans are so self-conscious.

markuza said...

Hmm so maybe it's a Nordestino thing, I hate to think what stereotypes that would reinforce. As for whether Americans are crass, best ask a European :)

Stephanie said...

Gross. Seriously. I haven't really noticed it too much here in MG...but of course now that you have written this post I'm going to notice it everywhere. Thanks Mark. LOL I will report back if I hear any snorting going on here. But again. Gross.

markuza said...

Don't thank me Stephanie, especially if you start noticing it all the time! :)

Colleen Chen said...

I would say that it might be an Asian MALE thing because I never heard an Asian female do that before. My (Taiwanese) dad does it though and it really grosses me out.

My husband also does it and it made me wonder if I manifested a husband with this behavior because it bothered me so much with my dad (and we get what we resist). He says it's an addictive habit. I tell him to change his eating habits because obviously his body is trying to rid itself of excess toxins, but that's not going to happen, so I guess I'm stuck listening to this awful noise.

markuza said...

I've heard (as I think many did in the lead-up to the Olympics) about the spitting in China, but haven't heard about snorting. In my travels thru SE Asia I don't remember either, but I wasn't really paying attention. And I didn't make it to China or Taiwan or Korea or Japan so what do I know. I'm rambling... must... stopppp...!!

Spitting and Snorting are widely practiced here in Salvador, AFAICT by both genders.