Growing Up Dominican: Mannerisms

(If you missed the first of this series, check it out here: Growing Up Dominican)

I may or may not be about to poke some fun at a few things we Dominicans do! But hey! All in good fun 😉 (I’m sorry Dad for the things I am about to say.)

As you are probably well aware, every culture has its own customs and traditions, but have you ever thought about mannerisms? Have you ever noticed that a specific group of people use their hands more when they speak? Or anything like that? It’s something that I find super fascinating (don’t ask me why, because I have NO clue!) Well, one thing many Americans (and a bunch of other cultures, I’m sure) tend to do is point at things with their fingers. Well, something that many Dominicans (and Hispanics in general) do more often than not, is motion to things with their lips/chins!

Yes. Their lips. I know it sounds stupid, but its just…a thing that we do. Basically, give yourself some duck lips and motion with your face to thing item you want cousin generic name #4 to get for you. That simple. Maybe one day I’ll post a tutorial…

Another technical mannerism that is true of almost all Dominicans is their hospitality! (Okay, so I had to google whether or not hospitality was a mannerism. SORRY.) We’re experts. I would even say that we rival “southern hospitality”. (I know, CRAZY…not.*rolls eyes*) When people come into our homes, we usually go overboard and completely overwhelm them with extra things. Stuff you usually see in hotels, but for some reason, we feel like we owe it to these guests! Sweets on the pillows, small toiletry packages for everyone who stays overnight, we cook deluxe breakfasts, offer to wash their laundry, you get the idea. It’s a bit ridiculous, but it feels right. When people come to my place, I absolutely hate it when they try to help in ANY way. (Unless it’s my sister. Fool get yo own plate. Love you!!) They are guests and should therefore NOT do ANYTHING. It makes me feel like I’m doing something to show how much I care. When the food is ready, I usually announce it, which is also a Dominican trait. No one starts eating before I give the okay! Guests are always served first, and always have first dibs on seconds. (Okay, I want to be a guest in my own home…not fair)

Thirdly, being fashionably late is a real thing. One I intentionally do NOT follow. Probably due to my mom’s affinity for being on time! (Thanks, Mom!) But being 15 to 30 minutes late is considered polite. If you show up on time, its okay, but kind of strange, you know? Like they will answer the door, and be happy to see you, but inwardly, they will be wondering if they gave you the wrong time, or they may wonder if you even actually know them. Storytime: On my mom’s wedding day, my dad’s sisters were trying to get her to be fashionably late, and she was not okay with it! (I find it hilarious, picturing my mom in a puffy white dress with huge hair fighting to be on time in her oh-so-cute flustered way) They succeeded and I think she was 15 minutes late! So, yeah. I don’t do this thing. Nope, nope, no. Ask my husband. He DOES embrace this horribly annoying trait. (Grr…)

Hope you’ve enjoyed a little peek into the fun mannerisms of this cool culture! Now go point at things with your lips and see how people react! (It’s hilarious, trust me!) I could probably keep rambling about all of the adorable things Dominicans do, but I’ll save it for next time 😉

Adiós friends!

Tori xo



Author: Tori Wilson

I’m 26 years old, I’m half Dominican, and I’m from Paterson, New Jersey. I however currently call Charlottesville, Virginia my home! I have a cat named Fiyero, a dog named Watson, and I am married to my wonderful husband, Davey. I LOVE wine, food, friends and the color periwinkle.

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