Lip Pointing with Manny Pacquiao vs. Ray Rice

Here’s how our weekend went:

It was Saturday and I knew it was bound to be a crazy one. My son was going off to college as a Freshman and my emotions were mixed; between sadness about my little boy leaving home; and unbridled ecstasy about my little boy leaving home. The plan was to get up early, have breakfast, pack the car to the brim, and take off for the two hour drive to his new life.

I got up and volunteered to make breakfast so that Janet could get up and eat with us and say her goodbyes (“regards” in the Philippines). I’m a lousy cook but managed to rustle up a bunch of eggs, bacon and toast and didn’t burn any of it, which was a very good sign for the day ahead.

Janet stumbled out to breakfast. My son wasn’t nearly ready, so the two of us sat down to eat. That’s when I noticed her eye…

Let me go back a moment and tell you that Janet is a very sensitive young woman – physically. I mean if she comes within an inch of brushing the dining room table the next day there is a large bruise. She works in a store and comes home almost daily with bruises on her arms and the occasional burn. I implore her to deal with these accidents at the time they happen but I think she just knows herself well enough to blow it off.

But Saturday morning across from the breakfast table as I glanced at her normally pretty face I saw a good sized mouse under her eye. “What happened to your eye?” I asked shocked. She didn’t have a clue what I was taking about. “You have a black eye,” I exclaimed. “Did you bang your eye?”

She assured me she hadn’t but then said, “I did cry a little bit last night.” She was missing her family and some tears did fall.

“Crying should not cause a black eye,” I said still shocked at how she looked. “Does it hurt?” I asked. She shrugged, still not really comprehending my concern.

Finally she giggled. “Well, I guess I’ll have to tell everyone you hit me.”

“What! That is not what you want to say in the U.S. And the last place you want to joke about being hit is in Portland, Oregon – and certainly not this week.”

“Why not?” She genuinely appeared confused.

“Because it’s a terrible thing to do to a woman – to anyone. And this week there’s Ray Rice.” I was sure she didn’t know about that.

“You know I would never hit you, right? I have never ever hit a woman.”

It took me a few terrified minutes to explain the trouble I would be in if anyone believed such a joke. “The cops would haul me off and throw away the key.”

“I’d just tell them it was a joke,” she calmly said.

“You don’t understand. They would assume you were lying, trying to get me out. People take this sort of thing very very seriously here.” I added, “…And for very good reason,” just to emphasize that I was a liberal, good guy who would never consider hitting a woman.

“I mean Roger Goodell’s gonna lose his job over Ray Rice and he wasn’t even in the elevator.”

“I mean Roger Goodell’s gonna lose his job over Ray Rice and he wasn’t even in the elevator.”

Janet looked at me clueless but agreed that she would not mention that I’d hit her. She then asked me about who this Ray Rice was and excitedly asked if she could see the video.

Her plan in my absence was to go out with her best friend. For a moment I considered emailing the friend to assure her I had nothing to do with the eye, but before I could deal with that my son came upstairs, we packed the car and took off.

In the afternoon, after I’d gotten back home Janet texted me asking if I’d like to meet them. I walked over in the hot afternoon sun. After we greeted each other, I asked Janet’s Filipina friend if Janet had told her about the eye. “Yes,” she said. “My husband one time rolled over in bed and kicked me hard. So it can happen.”

“I didn’t kick her and didn’t give her the black eye!” I exclaimed frustrated but finally laughing at the absurdity.

Now, this concerns me and not just for my near brush with the law. Janet is a very honest person and Filipinas often filter their conversation to save face, or at least expect you to filter what you say. While out in public she sometimes shushes me or scolds me for pointing.

But in fact she has much less of a filter than I do and there are many things she says that she does not realize you cannot say in the U.S. We may be out in public and she will get my attention and motion toward someone and say “she’s ugly,” or “he has a very long nose.” Cleanliness if very important in the Philippines and one of the worst things you can say about someone is that he/she is not clean, yet Janet has no problem motioning toward someone and indicating the person “is dirty.”


Of course in the Philippines no one points to anyone like we rude Americans do. Janet raises her eyebrows or points with her lips, as is the Philippines custom. I know her well enough to know she’s motioning toward something or someone and probably not in a good way.

“You shouldn’t say she is dirty,” I will admonish.

“But she is.”

“True, but people here take such comments very seriously.”

“Then she should clean herself better.”

Janet works with the public and is well liked by her employer, so I assume she hasn’t offended any customers. But as a new husband I worry that she might cause herself troubles because of cultural misunderstandings.

“Just be careful. Someone may hear you and take offense. And you’re smaller than most American women.”

“I will kick them,” she replies and I am reminded that she’s a lot tougher than she looks.


On Sunday Janet and I did our weekly grocery shopping followed by a trip to her favorite Asian store. They sell lechon on Sundays and I had promised her some. We were checking out the fish section when we saw Janet’s BFF from the day before and her husband, also there for the lechon, fish and live crabs. Next thing I knew they’d invited us to dinner and the women were organizing a feast. Janet spent the afternoon baking bread. Around 5:00 I asked, “So when are we supposed to go over there for dinner?”

“Oh, they are coming here. Our grill is better than theirs.”

“No problem,” I said by now immune to changes in plans. “But I guess I’d better go out and clean the grill.”

“You didn’t clean the grill yet?”

“No, of course not. How was I suppose to know…” I caught myself and laughed.

It’s more fun in the Philippines or in the West with a Filipina.

6 thoughts on “Lip Pointing with Manny Pacquiao vs. Ray Rice”

  1. Eyes are the windows of sins .
    So maybe the ghosts overheard what I said & that’s the reason why he tutored my eye while I was in my peaceful sleep 😀

    Nice read , giggled to the bones @ Dave!

  2. I learned a few words for fat, cute, etc. in the Tagalog or Cebuano language that way I don’t have to hide if they overhear us talking about them. Also comes in handy when others are talking about me!

  3. Dave, I’ve encountered a near miss at Target (check out line). Luckily the lady in front of us did not hear my asawa (…fat…). I told her shh be respectful please. Anyway she is a tiny thing and later I asked how the view was from down there-well..she gave me a look like -You don’t want to know”.
    …and Janet, if you are reading this, yes!! take what Dave says about bruises very seriously about any bruises or boo-boos. Here in the states it’s taboo to joke like that.

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