Why do people point to their wrist when asking for the time...

Malaysia
June 16, 2010 4:02am CST
...but people don't point to their crotch when they ask where the bathroom is? some simple sign language can really transcend borders and be universally understood. i used to travel alot. now i travel alot less.. but when i was travelling alot, there were times when i had to try and learn a whole new language when i was on the plane. and this inevitable lead to me learning & memorizing only the 'important questions' that i might need to ask in that new country..important questions & statements like: [i]'hello, how are you you?' 'i am....what's your name?' 'excuse me' 'how much?' 'no, not tonight dear..'[/i] but somehow i always forget to put 'excuse me, where's the bathroom?' on the list so i end up trying to mime the question when i don't know the words. it's always easier to mime when asking the time, and not that easy when you need to go to the loo.. so, how would you signal this much critical question should you be stuck in a foreign land where no one understands you and you really really need to answer the call of nature....? it may be funny, but wait until you get into that situation, then you'll know how i try not to laugh at myself when miming it.. or you can just enlighten me and try to figure out: 'Why do people point to their wrist when asking for the time, but people don't point to their crotch when they ask where the bathroom is?'
6 people like this
12 responses
@Opal26 (17690)
• United States
17 Jun 10
Hi mario! I love the responses! Wish I had been here earlier, but since the time difference is a, differentI was doing my "Sleeping Beauty" immatiation! I sleep during the (USA time) and am up all night (which I think you already know)! So, usually miss alot of stuff like your discussions and all the fun! Since I have only been to one other Country, which was Canada and I do know a bit of French I had no problem. But, it would be scary not knowing how to say such an important word when traveling someplace and not knowing the language! I think that you've gotten the best ideas! I like Irish's idea the best~ the "pee pee dance" always works in any language!
@Opal26 (17690)
• United States
17 Jun 10
I sleep during the day(USA) time and also excuse the mispellings and typos! Sorry! Hit the subit a bit too quickly!
• Malaysia
17 Jun 10
haha..was it you who tagged 'pee pee dance' to the discussion? every time i tried the pee pee dance, someone always laughs at me and doesn't take it seriously that i'm in an emergency...maybe it's because of my constantly funny demeanor
@Opal26 (17690)
• United States
17 Jun 10
Nope! Wasn't me! I'm not a tagger~ I don't even tag my own discussions and they still get tagged! And sometimes with "Mature Content" and there's never anything "Mature" about my discussions! Ooopps! Think I might have had too much rollie tonight!
@skysuccess (8882)
• Singapore
16 Jun 10
Pee - If you cannot say the proper language, then it will be the next best option.
mario_stevens, You're simply hilarious here. Anyway, just to share a few experiences as far as language is concern, I think before we actually had that multi functional cellphone getting around in a foreign land is indeed quite a challenge. Back in those days, I would try and jot down the proper word and pronunciation of certain important words like thank you, taxi, bus stop and most of all toilet. This is one word you really cannot afford not to learn by heart. Because, it is not a joke trying to play a game of charade when your bladder is bursting or your other part is trying to offload a ballad. Or, if that is not enough, then it will be to have a pen and paper ready for a figurative speech. (See attach) However, I've actually tried miming zipping and unzipping when I was in France to look for the toilet but I would not dare do it if I am in the Middle East or some conservative part of Asia. I mean if some parts of the world have limb amputations for their penal code - try imagining how I feel. Anyway, today I would not have any difficulty as cellphones nowadays are both equipped with recording functions or translation apps. Like this forthcoming trip to South Africa to watch the semis and finals, I could record those vital words and play it make when I need them.
• Singapore
16 Jun 10
P.S. Sorry for a typo error on the last para, last sentence where it should be: ".....I could record those vital words and play it back when I need them." Sorry for the error.
• Malaysia
16 Jun 10
hi skysuccess no worries about the error...happens to the best of us sometimes yeah, travelling today is so much more easier with technology to help us out when we're in a bind. but when i was travelling back then, cell phones were still to pricey for me & i had this useless phrase book that my friend got me...only to discover that he was playing a practical joke on me! so the phrase book was kind of difficult to navigate through and wasn't much help at all.. i ended up looking like i was doing a little dance in the street. imagine how embarrassed i was when some people started clapping in rhythm to my predicament! haha...what an experience..
@xeroeight (1061)
• Philippines
16 Jun 10
honestly I laugh when I read your discussion you are right I never notice that simple thing. I never saw a man point on their thing when they are asking where is the comport room. but if they ask for time they do point on their wrist. Actually I don't know the answer all I can think is if they do point on their thing when they ask for comport room they surely get a nice punch in the face. Well If someone point their thing on me I will think that he wants to have something with and definitely that would be a signal for a fight. One is I will think that man think I am a gay by pointing that while looking at me this is only my point of view goodluck
• Malaysia
16 Jun 10
you're right...they might get a wallop for pointing at their thingy i too had trouble communicating this when i didn't know what the words were..it was such an embarrassing experience
• Malaysia
16 Jun 10
if i'm thinking what think i'm thinking...then i think i'm not thinking.. i never new it was a 'bunch'! hahaaa...
@apples99 (6564)
• United States
18 Jun 10
Maybe because we typically wear our watches on our wrist so people assume that every one will immediately identify time with our wrist so thats why most people point to there wrist. But when it comes to bathroom signals I'm just as lost as you lol maybe try using a flush sign hahaha you know that lever people use to flush I dont know, LOL. lucky for me I can just draw a lady's room symbol or a toilet.
• Malaysia
18 Jun 10
that drawing thing is a good idea for me to keep in mind for the next time something like that might happen
@o0jopak0o (6407)
• Philippines
17 Jun 10
well i think it is one that is not offensive. And most people know/have wrist watches.
• Malaysia
18 Jun 10
yeah...having used wristwatches myself, it's kind of natural to associate a wrist gesture with 'excuse me, what is the time?'
• China
17 Jun 10
People point there wrist for asking the time that because people wear the watch to there hand. That's why they mention it. But when somebody ask for bathroom they show there finger i think. Hope you got the answer.
• Malaysia
18 Jun 10
hmmm...a few people have mentioned that finger showing technique. but i can't imagine how it goes as i haven't seen that signal being used...
• Italy
17 Jun 10
Okzzzzz can you suggest another sign for asking time?
• Malaysia
18 Jun 10
mmm...i don't know but there was a bit more to the question in the discussion...
@smartjack (521)
• India
17 Jun 10
That's really funny my friend. You are absolutely right to ask such a question. It is very difficult to ask especially when you are not aware of the language. I have never traveled much but in future i may go out of the country to a foreign nation and if i go to a place where they don't understand English then i may find myself in a soup. I will have to plan in advance before such a situation arises.
• Malaysia
18 Jun 10
hehe..it's a funny but true story. and believe me, you wouldn't want to be stuck in the same situation i was while you are in the midst of a 'bathroom emergency'!
@ellie333 (21029)
16 Jun 10
Hi Mario, You do ask some strange questions lol but yes can see the difficulty, I think I would keep crossing my legs to give them the message but yes whydo people point to their wrist but not there crutch? I have no answer to that one unless orcause you add that to yourlist of phrases so you don't get caught out next time you travel. Huggles. Ellie :D
• Malaysia
17 Jun 10
Hi Ellie.. sorry, i can't help being strange i've got quite a number of recommendations here to try out..will let everyone know once i have a chance to use a few
@sender621 (14956)
• United States
16 Jun 10
I think that people are so used to wearing a watch on their wrist to keep track of the time. It is just a habit to point to your wrist when you are thinking about the time. It is something we many not even be awate that we ate doing Think about it the next time you wear your watch. See what happens.
• Malaysia
16 Jun 10
hmmm...yeah, i'll try it and see what happens
• India
16 Jun 10
Hey You really made me laugh my friend, some time sign language really work.. Thanks for sharing. Welcome always. Cheers. Professor
• Malaysia
16 Jun 10
you're welcome Professor
@rosdimy (3936)
• Malaysia
16 Jun 10
Maybe because many people used to wear a wristwatch, something which belongs to them (forget about where it originally came from), and carried around. On the other hannnnnd nobody carries a bathroom wherever they go. In my country we mimic the action of pulling down the rope or string attached to an old fashioned cistern. I guess progress has made many people forget about this, since cistern design has changed quite radically
• Malaysia
16 Jun 10
that's a nifty way of mimicking your intentions.. maybe if i carried around a little photo of a bathroom, then it would be easier to point out my predicament