Faux pas

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Faux paws

A Faux Pas (originating from the French 'Don't fuck', pronounced foxed pass) is a violation of an accepted, although unwritten rule. These vary widely from location to location; an activity that passes for good manners in one culture can often be considered a faux pas in another. For example, while in Canada it is considered a faux pas not to bring a stuffed and dressed bear to a dinner party where the host or hosts are wearing more expensive shoes than yourself, in Japan this very same act usually leads to death at the hands of angry mob justice.

Examples in Various Cultures[edit]


  • In South Africa, wearing shorts on a Tuesday while looking at your own reflection makes everyone your enemy.
  • In Nigeria, defecating or urinating in the kraal's sole well enunciates one's claim for the leadership of the tribe, so it should be avoided if one does not want to get caught in the tangles of local politics.


  • In the UK, shitting in the sea is considered a serious faux pas. This developed from the British people's respect for the sea, believing it to be the source of it's wealth and security. In many other nations, however, sea-shitting is allowed or even actively encouraged.
  • The people of Great Britain consider eating to be a sign of weakness. Those suspected of the crime of Ingestion with Intent are usually given sentences of up to eleven days or twelve or nine. First time visitors often make this mistake, but they are shown no mercy.
  • Shooting a person in the UK with a pistol is considered rude and uncivilized. In a formal setting, a longbow should be used, although in very informal situations a crossbow can be substituted.
  • In France, it is usually considered impolite to talk to someone whilst holding a fish's hand. This rarely causes problems, however, because fish don't have hands. They have fins.
  • Also in France, it is considered ungrateful to leave a party without settings the host's car on fire.
  • In Sweden, much blood has been shed in the tragic dispute between those Swedes who believe that it is wrong to groom a horse on a Sunday, and those who believe it correct only to do their grooming on Sundays. Swedish history has long been punctuated by these frequent dispute, often resulting in corpse-strewn streets, families torn apart and irrevocable damage to historic buildings. The Swedish Parliament building has been burned down 54 times, most recently in 2002.
  • In Denmark, you shame yourself by consumating less than 4 pints of stout ale. Other alcoholic beverages are completely off limits.
  • In Germany, it is considered seriously rude to joke about another person's weight or lack of hair. Unless they're, like, really really fat or ugly.
  • In Italia, speaking the local language is considered bad luck, as it is derived from Latin, which according to the Bible was inspired by Satan. Note that you should not speak Spanish as well, while Greek is no problem.
  • In Ireland, waiters will scorn you when you neglect to tip them with snails. The general rule of thumb is that for every ounce of food or drink you consumed, a medium-sized slug should be added to the tip. Note that contrary to popular belief, edible snails are worth less than slugs, as the cooks will have to remove the shells when preparing the Irish Stew.
  • In Poland, it is considered very impolite not to have few plans on how to assassinate Ratzinger Z. Since April 2005, when it become a national hobby, government had created several training camps for those who try to openly accept him on the Holy Polish Throne in Vatican.
  • In Soviet Russia, an acquaintance considers you a very rude act by greeting it on the street.

North America[edit]

  • In the USA, people will mistrust you when you wear a top that is not showing your belly and at least one nipple. What have you got to hide? Are you, per chance, a TERRORIST?
  • In Nebraska, it is considered rude to remove chewed food from your mouth and then suck it through a straw; in New York, however, this is considered highly sophisticated.
  • In New Brunswick, it is improper to let a child play with a corpse.
  • In Québec, it is impolite to eat an English muffin without first translating it into French.
  • In Alaska, it is considered rude to urinate in the toilet of a woman's house. This applies to the owner of the house, as well, who must go to the toilet at least a mile away from her home, in case she offends herself.
  • In New England, contrary to Old England, sea-shitting is a favourite pastime. New Englanders enjoy being chased by their shits as the waves beat them back towards the shore. This caused particular fear among the original Puritan settlers, as they believed that the shits were in fact excised demons who were trying to re-possess their hosts.
  • In Massachusetts, it is considered improper to enter a home through the front door. While the owner of the home may enter through the side door, guests are expected to enter only at night and only by slicing through the screen of an open window. If the window is unopen, then the guest must wait until morning so that he may be flogged.
  • In Ohio, when hosting a birthday party, it is customary to bake several live bats into the cake. You have not legally had your birthday until this has been done.

South America[edit]

  • In parts of Colombia, it is considered rude to shoot people over breakfast tables. It is acceptable, however, to shoot them at dinner or lunch. This restriction does not apply in the District of Columbia.
  • In Argentina, drinking milk in front of a picture of Jesus is considered so irritating, your family hires a vet to put you down.
  • On the Falkland Islands, the traditional greeting is "baaaaaaa" as sheep outnumber people.

Middle East[edit]

  • In Iran, it is considered very impolite to be rude to a woman, as they don't exist.
  • In Iraq, when a close friend retreats into the quiet of his burrow to meditate, you must not, under any circumstances, disturb him, as otherwise his relatives will sacrifice themselves in suicide attacks, infuried by your offense.
  • In Pakistan, it is unacceptable not to walk around backwards on all fours during Thursday evenings. There is no real reason for this, other than to confuse tourists.


  • In parts of India, not finishing a meal another has cooked for you, while wearing purple in a household that has recently seen a bereavement, after washing your feet in a public area while holding flowers that have only just bloomed (assuming it is summer, obviously), having touched any animal in the last two weeks, while simultaneously arriving at either your work or home by any mode of transport other than a lorry, having been a vegetarian once in your life but recently slipped back into eating meat is considered so confusing nobody bothers thinking about it much. Unless you're newly married, in which case it's an outrage.


Shooting bananas out of your nostrils and flying away backwards - a gesture of goodwill in Japan, but considered to be disastrously faux pas anywhere else with the exception of the Banana Republic.
  • In Japan, not tucking your trousers into your socks while addressing a person of superior social standing gets you a slap, and a crude new nickname.
  • In Singapore, virtually anything is a faux pas. First of all, make sure that you remove your shoes at the airport, lest you should stain the sidewalks with the filth on your soles.
  • Tibetans consider invading their nation inappropriate, something which would not even raise an eyebrow in France.


  • In Australia, shooting down helicopters is generally considered impolite when in hospital zones.
  • In Australia, it is a social taboo for working grunts to give decent service. A normal Australian would be offended if they weren’t ignored, given attitude, driven to silently question the hygiene of the food and perhaps safety of ones self when served a cup of coffee and a kangaroo steak.
  • In Indonesia, you do what you're told. Understand?