Jason: That was a lovely party, wasn't it?
Harold: Yes, it was. The food was pretty good, too.
J: I was a little puzzled about something, though.
H: What was that?
J: At one point in our conversation, Mr. Jones gave me a really funny look...it was almost like I'd broken some sort of a rule.
H: Oh, yes...well you did ask him how much he paid for his apartment.
J: And? What's wrong with asking someone how much they paid for a piece of property? Back in China everybody talks about buying and selling apartments.
Jason是从中国来的，在晚会上问东道主Mr. Jones公寓是多少钱买的。Mr. Jones gave me a really funny look. Mr. Jones看他的表情有些奇怪，好象他这样问犯了什么大忌。A funny look意思是说不清楚的奇怪表情。Jason说，在中国，大家见面就是谈房子，因此他不懂，What's wrong with asking someone how much they paid for a piece of property? 问别人买房子花了多少钱有什么不妥呢？Harold解释说：
H: Yeah, I know....but in many Western societies, talking about money in public is a faux pas.
J: What's a faux pas?
H: It's a French term that means a social blunder. Questions like that are considered a little bit impolite.
J: Really? I had no idea. Back in China, it's not generally a problem to ask about how much something costs.
H: I know you meant no offense. When I was assigned to Guangzhou for 6 months, people frequently ask me how much my monthly salary is.
Harold解释说，在很多西方国家，公开谈钱是faux pas, faux pas is spelled f-a-u-x, faux and pas p-a-s, pas, faux pas也就是social blunder在社交上忌讳做的事，属于失礼的行为。Jason听了觉得很出乎意料，说自己完全不知情，I had no idea. 因为在中国，询问财物的价钱完全不是问题。Harold说，I know you meant no offense. 我知道你不是故意冒犯Mr. Jones. Harold说自己派驻广州半年时，就经常有人问他每个月的工资是多少。Jason说：
J: That's funny, because Western society seems so open. People talk about all kinds of private things that we wouldn't bring up in China. But money is a no-no, huh?
H: If your Western friend buys something for a really good price, he or she might mention it to you by saying something like, "Take a look at this camera that I got on sale for only $99 dollars." But unless the person is a close friend, we almost never ask how much something costs.
J: So, do you avoid talking about money so that people with less money don't feel bad?
Jason觉得很有意思的是，西方社会如此开放，对很多中国不敢涉猎的私人问题都可以拿到台面上来说，但是money is a no-no. 钱的问题却是个禁区。no-no两个no连在一起，中间加个连接线，是一种非正式用法，名词，意思是不可以，不被接受的事情。西方人回避谈钱，是因为怕刺激没钱的人吗？我们下次继续听。