It’s easy to misunderstand. This is especially true when your home country isn’t the one you grew up in.
There are a lot of things about American culture that I don’t know about having lived in Asia most of my life. Going to college was enlightening for me in many ways.
There are still many times when I miss a cultural cue or pop culture reference, just ask my friends. They have many a funny story of me embarrassing myself or saying something silly.
It happened again recently.
On a recent media coverage I met a girl who just got engaged. I asked how they met.
“Playing Cooties,” she answered.
I wished my coworker had taken a picture of the expression on my face at that moment. Having lived in Asia, I do try to monitor my facial expressions, but sometimes it’s just plain hard.
Boys have cooties, that’s what every elementary and early pre-teen girl thinks. But, how do you play cooties? This doesn’t sound PG and I am not sure this is something you tell someone you just met.
“Excuse me?” I asked.
“Yeah, we were playing in the basement around New Years’ Eve.”
Sketchy. I think this might be TMI. I won’t tell you what I thought she meant by that.
“Will you tell your children that’s how you met their dad?” I thought. I had enough of a filter not to say this out loud.
She explained that Cooties is a game that many kids in America play growing up. I completely missed this phenomenon. She said you play it by adding parts to a cootie bug. You add limbs etc.
“It’s really intense,” she said.
Really intense? Adding plastic legs to a cootie bug is an intense game? I don’t understand.
I did look up the game and it is a legit Hasbro game, so she was not a sketchy of a person as I had initially thought.
Oh the joys of being a third culture kid. Experiences like this add to my arsenal. Next time, I’ll be prepared to joke about how wonderful cooties are.