Interesting Dutch Fact #2
In the Netherlands, it is taboo to ask another person how much money she or he makes. In my opinion, this question is also (most of the time) taboo in the States ... However, other questions that are taboo in the States are not-so-taboo here. Here's an example. I play the piano. Here in the NL, immediately after hearing that fact about me, someone asked me if I was good at it or not. And I was expected to simply say "yes" or "no." In the States, such a question, though not impolite, would be slightly taboo, simply because it would put the piano-playing person in the awkward position of either 1) bragging about their abilities (Yes, I am very good!) or 2) admitting their downfalls (No, I'm actually quite terrible.) In the States, we would be more apt to ask a question like: "Do you enjoy it?" or "How long have your played?" or "Do you enjoy performing?" Thus, we would give the person a chance to say something more about their level of piano playing without putting them in the hot seat, so to speak. Not so in the NL, where straightforwardness in conversation is par for the course! Personally, I find it refreshing -- though it was hard to get used to at first.
But back to my initial point ... I find it interesting that money appears to be a somewhat-universally sensitive subject. What is it about money that makes us so uncomfortable? I may have more thoughts on this later. For now, I will let the question dangle.
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