What do these situations have in common?
• A locker room full of sweaty uniforms
• A car filled with old fast-food wrappers
• A kitchen with an overflowing garbage can
They all stink. And to show your displeasure with the stench, you might do what people all over the world would do in a similar situation—grab your nose and pinch it. (It’s good to know that some nonverbal gestures are the same no matter where you go!)
If you’re at a gathering in Asia, keep your hanky hidden, even if you have an itchy nose. While Americans don’t exactly embrace nose blowing in public, they tolerate it. However, blowing your nose at a social event in Asia is considered very rude.
There are some other gestures centered on the nose that vary from culture to culture. For example, if someone taps her nose in the United States, it’s sometimes a way of saying, “I’m thinking.” That same gesture in the United Kingdom, however, means that whatever information is being passed at the moment is to be kept private. You may not see this move employed in the latest British spy movies, but you can feel free to use it to add a little mystery to your persona the next time you’re in London.