美国文化 | 来美国17年,我仍然无法理解的美式亲密(American Intimacies)

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After 17 years in the United States, these public displays still make no sense to me. But I’m trying.
来美国17年了,我还是不理解这些公然的表现。但我一直在努力。

Hugs Galore
大量拥抱

Hugging wasn’t a thing in my childhood in Hong Kong. When I saw my grandmother, I just shook her hand. In fact, I never hugged anyone until I was 13, when I came to America. The concept of hugging was so foreign to me that I had to study how other people hugged to understand the mechanics of wrapping your arms around someone. Was I supposed to put both arms over the shoulder? Both arms around the belt? One up and one down? It was a confusing time in my life.
我的童年是在香港度过的,那里不流行拥抱。看到奶奶,我只会拉她的手。实际上,在13岁来美国之前,我从来没有和任何人拥抱过。拥抱的概念对我来说如此陌生,以至我不得不去研究其他人是怎么拥抱的,以便理解这种张开双臂环绕住某人的技术。我应该把两条胳膊都放在对方肩膀上吗?都搭在腰上?一上一下?这是我人生中的一个困惑时期。

美国文化 | 来美国17年,我仍然无法理解的美式亲密(American Intimacies)

When I finally mustered the courage to hug this girl in school, I’m pretty sure I forearmed her in the face. Yet these days, I’m recklessly hugging everyone, with complete disregard, and hopefully fewer injuries. I hug my friends, I hug people I’ve just met, I hug the UPS man if he delivered a cool package. (Even if he delivers toilet paper, I still give a quick hug.)
当我终于鼓起勇气在学校里拥抱一个女孩的时候,我敢肯定当时我的小臂碰到了她的脸。但如今,我会轻松自如地拥抱所有人,完全没有顾虑,但愿也没造成什么伤害。我会和朋友拥抱,和刚认识的人拥抱,和给我送来好东西的快递员拥抱。(即使他送来的是厕纸,我也会快速拥抱他一下。)

‘Bae’?
宝宝

Most of my friends have at least two dating apps on their phones. One friend is having lots of success on Plenty of Fish, another had her heart broken twice by different guys from Bumble, and I have gathered a database of nightmare stories from my own Tinder dates.
我的大部分朋友手机上都有至少两款交友应用。其中一个朋友在Plenty of Fish上收获不少成功经历,另一个朋友被通过Bumble认识的两个家伙伤透了心。我自己也在与用Tinder认识的人约会时发生了很多噩梦般的故事。

I once matched with a woman whose job description was “social influencer.” Deep down I knew this probably meant she was unemployed with 50,000 Instagram followers — some of them real — but I gave it a shot. I took her out to Dave & Busters so if the date went south, I could still enjoy myself playing Mario Kart.
我曾经和一个工作描述写的是“网络红人”的女人被配成一对。她在Instagram上有五万粉丝——其中一部分是真正的粉丝——内心深处,我知道这可能意味着她没有工作,但我想试试。我带她去了Dave & Busters娱乐餐厅,所以如果约会失败,我还可以玩马里奥赛车(Mario Kart)。

Throughout the date, she kept having me take videos of her for her Instagram story. “O.K., do one like that, but turn the phone the other way.” “Let’s do one with the puppy face filter!” “O.K., get one of me playing Mario Kart.” I’m not your cameraman! I want to play Mario Kart, too! I would have walked out if I hadn’t just invested $30 in my Dave & Buster’s game card. Priorities.
在整个约会过程中,她一直让我给她拍可以发到Instagram上的视频。“好,这样拍一个,但把手机换到另一边去。”“咱们用狗狗脸滤镜拍一个吧!”“好,拍一个我玩马里奥赛车的。”我不是你的摄影师!我也想玩马里奥赛车!如果不是刚往Dave & Buster’s的游戏卡里充了30美元,我当场就走了。这才是最重要的。

We never got to know each other, but that didn’t seem to be an impediment to her, at least not on social media. The next day I saw a post on her Instagram of her playing Mario Kart, with the caption “I love it when bae takes you out for game night.” Um, what? I definitely was not her “bae” and we have never spoken since. As Justin Bieberwould say, “Baby you should go and love yourself.”
我们根本没能了解对方,但这对她来说似乎并不是问题,至少在社交媒体上不是。第二天,我看到她Instagram上发了她玩马里奥赛车的帖子,图说是“我喜欢宝宝晚上带我出去玩”。什么?我肯定不是她的“宝宝”,后来我们再也没说过话。就像贾斯汀·比伯(Justin Bieber)会说的那样,“宝贝,你应该去爱你自己。”

The Rampant Spread of ‘I Love You’
泛滥的我爱你

In many Asian cultures, people rarely, if ever, utter the words “I love you.” But in America “I love you” can be used as an endearing greeting from lovers, as a supportive term from parents to their children and even as a casual goodbye to friends: “That was an amazing brunch, let’s do it again soon. I love you, bye!”
在很多亚洲文化中,人们很少说“我爱你”。但在美国,“我爱你”可以是爱人之间的亲密问候、父母对孩子的支持甚至是和朋友的随口道别:“这顿早午餐太棒了。咱们改天再一起吃。我爱你,再见!”

American culture is just much more intimate than what I was used to growing up. If I said “I love you” to my parents, they would probably think I’m crazy or that I have terminal cancer. I have said it to my friends sometimes, in a drunk-guy-at-the-bar way. “Hey, I love you, bro, you’re awesome, man.” And I have said it to one girl, but to be honest I’m not sure I meant it — it just seemed like the right answer at the moment.
美国文化远比我在成长过程中所习惯的文化亲密。如果我对我的父母说“我爱你”,他们可能会认为我疯了,或者是到了癌症晚期。我有时候会像酒吧里的醉鬼一样对朋友说。“嘿,我爱你,兄弟,你太棒了,哥们儿。”我对一个女孩也说过这三个字,但说实话我不确定自己是不是认真的——只是因为那一刻似乎应该那么说。

She was wonderful, and two months into our relationship she told me, “I really like you.” I said, “I really like you too.” Then she said, “I really, really like you,” and looked into my cornea. And I said, “Yes, I really, really like you too!” Frustration came over her and she pushed on: “No! I mean, like, I really, really, really like you!” Aha — I finally realized what she meant, so I gave her the answer she was looking for: “Oh yeah, I love you.”
她很漂亮。交往两个月后,她对我说,“我真的喜欢你。”我说,“我也真的喜欢你”。然后她说,“我真的、真的喜欢你,”并看着我的眼睛。我说,“是啊,我也真的真的喜欢你。”失望袭来,她进一步强调:“不是!我的意思是,喜欢,我真的、真的、真的喜欢你!”哦,我终于明白她的意思了。于是,我说出了她想要的答案:“是的,我爱你。”

That was a regrettable mistake from this naïve people pleaser. We eventually broke up because we both realized I didn’t mean that.
这句幼稚的讨好话造成了一个令人遗憾的错误。我们最后分手了,因为我们都意识到我说那句话不是认真的。

So what does it really mean to say “I love you”? Does it mean nothing more than “You’re cool”? Or is it actually a magical phrase?
那么说“我爱你”究竟是什么意思?只是“你真酷”的意思?还是说它真的是一句有魔力的话?

I asked my 70-year-old Chinese father, “Dad, why don’t we ever say ‘I love you’?” And he said, “We don’t have to always say I love you, it’s understood.” Maybe he’s right.
我的父亲是中国人,他已经70岁了。我问他,“爸,我们为什么从来不说‘我爱你’?”他说,“我们不用总说我爱你,心里都明白。”也许他是对的。

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