I read once years ago in the Readers Digest that "only a true friend will tell you when your face is dirty." Telling someone they have a black smudge on their brow is one thing, but what about when someone has gunk in their grill? The other day at work I was deeply conflicted when a coworker had something large and green stuck in their teeth. I was just unsure whether or not I should say something. After considerable inner turmoil and struggle, I didn't. I wanted to, I kept looking at it (doing my best to keep my glances opaque), but I opted to keep my mouth shut--after all, I'm not sure how cross-culturally that would have been received.
Tonight Malia and I were discussing if someone stank of some foul stink, would you tell them? How close does the family or friend need to be for you to let them know that anyone with a properly functioning sniffer would find their scent repulsive? Malia has no reservation to begin to dramatically dry-heave if my 'B.O. is a ten point O' or if my breath is 'hummin'. Is the relationship between hygiene feedback and love positive and linear? Should I interpret her theatrical gagging as an expression of endearment?
Well what if someone unknowingly rips their pants and you can see their underwear? Do you tell them? Malia was 100% unaware of the below. Probably because there is no cool breeze in Singapore to alert her to the unfortunate wardrobe snafu. From the look on Rhett's face, he too was aware, and even were it not for his inability to speak more than 15 comprehensible words, I tend to believe that he too was disconcerted over the predicament of whether or not to say something. It was really hard for me to stop her from walking into the mall, store to store... I almost didn't. I wanted to wait until after our errands were through--knowing that the public display would compound the fun factor. But amid my thoughts of the humor in humiliation, only one thing stopped me--for better or for worse I have covenanted to love her. And while I hesitantly decided to express my love in the form of informing my wife about her indecent exposure, I'm at least glad that I was holding the camera so I could share this moment and my inner struggles with the world through the miracle of the internet.