Saturday, March 6, 2010

Won't Miss #135 - "giri choco"

On Valentine's Day, women are expected to give men chocolates. They don't give them to the men they love or even like, but rather out of obligation ("giri"). As a foreign woman, I was never expected to observe this dubious custom, but I heard plenty of complaints from women in our office who had to do it until the president finally outlawed the practice (likely out of fear of full-fledged rebellion by his female staff). My husband still gets these chocolates from female students, and while I get to enjoy the booty he receives, I still feel that the whole thing is unfair to women. I find it particularly troubling that the women who are most expected to hand over chocolates to coworkers are office ladies who are the lowest paid. There is a made-up reciprocal holiday called "White Day", but men tend to fall down on the job when it comes to returning the favor.

I won't miss the custom of obliging women to give men chocolates.