I don't run into many Filipinos in my neck o' the burbs. I do see quite a few Filipinas in their 50s and 60s working as caretakers for senior citizens, but that's about it. R & V's school is just 4% Filipino; there were only five other Filipino kids out of about eighty Kindergarteners. But this summer, my local shopping avenue has been teeming with (oh, forgive me) Team Filipino!
Imagine my excitement! The wide open smiles I offered, the veritable kisses I blew! But that's before I remembered something that has been true, now, for most of my adult life.
And it's not my imagination.
I'm not being paranoid, delusional, or overly-sensitive.
The thing is...with the exception of my family and Filipina pals, many other Filipinas—meaning those I encounter on the street or while shopping or whatnot—appear to dislike me on sight.
How do I know this?
Because instead of smiling back at me with the hey-we're-all-in-this-together look that I inexplicably and naiively long for, they proffer the ancient Filipino sign for ewwwww: pursed lips and flared nostrils.
Why? Is it some sort of twisted defense mechanism? Are you mistaking me for a member of an ethnic group that you disdain? Do I smell? Is my lipstick shade not to your liking? What is it? I mean, if you don't mind me saying so, I am so nice.
Of course it could be that these women simply don't care that they've found another Filipina in their midst. I'm willing to accept that as an explanation. But why, then, the deadly lips/nostrils combo? Why not just ignore me rather than willfully dismiss me?
But I guess the most important question here is...why do I even care?