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Yanchao Dai
A man touch a young lady's waist when they meet first time. Is this a impolite behavior ? It was in an international academic conference. They talked about some queations after the young lady giving a report. She has read some papers written by the man before. But it is the first time for her to meet him. So the young lady ask her friend to take photoes for them. The man put his hand on her waist from behind during this process. The man looks like  at the age of 36, 37. The young lady is about 26, 27. I wonder whether it is a impolite behavior or not. Do you think girls should refuse? and how?
Apr 10, 2018 6:05 AM
Comments · 24

I think that the man was probably a little bit awquard but didn’t have any bad intentions. One shouldn’t be so harsh in judging him. His behavior is rather paternalistic. Since the young woman cited his own papers he felt that there was some kind of connection between them and forgot that the woman comes from a country where people do not easily touch other people.

Cultures are different. In France young people make a bise (a kiss on the cheek) to someone who is introduced to them for the first time, in some places even three time!

Japanese do not mind to show themselves naked to strangers in an Onsen (public bath). That behavior is strange to me. So behavior changes from one place to another.

Maybe if you mentioned the nationality of the man we could understand better.

From your surprised reaction he understood that you do not like this kind of familiar behavior and will not do it again.

April 10, 2018
It’s not clear from a verbal description exactly how he touched her, but I tend to agree with Aliph. The man is probably not used to having fans come up and ask to take a picture with him. He probably only takes pictures with friends, and is simply assuming the same pose (a close pose so as to fit in the picture frame) that he uses with his friends.

April 10, 2018
I don't see anything impolite about it at all in that situation. That is acceptable and common behavior in America for both men and women.  It is considered friendly behavior and not sexual at all. 
April 22, 2018
I think it’s a purely cultural thing. In the US and perhaps elsewhere, putting your hand around another person for FOR A PHOTO, is totally appropriate. After all, it’s only a photo. Elsewhere among simple friends it wouldn’t work. To stand just side-by-side with hands to the side with someone for a picture would remind me of people at the UN in diplomatic shots. Way too formal. 
April 22, 2018
Yanchao Dai,

I could do it.

When young people (and 27-36 is rather young here) take (informal(!)) group photos here, they often would do that in half-embrace -  or, depending on the level of informality, soemthing more.
E.g. if it is college students a girl may put her head on some boy's shoulder.

Here in Russia the genre of "photo" invites people to try to look less formal! And also here in Russia gestures of affection between (1) girls and (2) boys and girls are very common. I don't touch people often - but when we take photographs, it is normally girls who do somethign like that to me:) I think, I have been half-hugged by several hundreds of girls at public events:)

Women's behaviour here is often more sociable, openly emotional and to some extent they can be more 'child-like' with each other and with men likewise.

Actually, if we were happy to talk to each other, I could even hug you when we are parting  - a hug being a way to express happiness and care. It means some freindly feeling but it is not sexual at all.

At more formal situation, like a conference, some more informal gestures may feel less appropriate. But touching waist looks a bit more formal - and I could do it just because I need to put my hand somewhere and it is awkward otherwise! The point is: it is a photograph, it is a group photograph. Then it should not jsut represent two people standing independently, but also show that these two people are related to each other somehow, interact somehow! That's the point.

P.S. In "official" conference group photos most of people are just standing, though. BEcause it is 'official'
April 10, 2018
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Yanchao Dai
Language Skills
Chinese (Mandarin), English, Polish
Learning Language
English, Polish