"She... kissed me!"
I took my friend, Northern European Protestant whitebread political activist, to Mexico to meet my friends, Latin Catholic darkbread political activists.
It's a more public culture than he was used to. Because he was my friend he was their friend, and they greeted him as though they'd known him all their lives, with effusion and affection and real kisses which embarrassed and astonished and delighted him.
It delighted him so much that he married the most outgoing of the sisters, and that turned out to be a more public culture than he was used to, too.
For the first years of their marriage their fights upset him to the marrow of his bones. She yelled, threw things, chased him around the house berating and castigating and generally behaving in such an angry way that he felt the sky falling, which is to say, that she couldn't possibly love him anymore if she acted with so much vehement destructiveness. Of course she loved him perfectly well. She simply acted out her anger in a public way that was shocking to him given his cultural upbringing.
The difference was terribly difficult for him. She got mad, got it out, and got over it. He kept his shock and insecurity to himself and it lasted for days, fearing all that while that their marriage was over or about to be.
I don't know how he finally got over it. Now he shouts back or chases her or simply falls over laughing.
I think something of the explanation is that time led to confidence. After years of fights he realized the marriage wasn't ending, wasn't even in danger, and he began to understand her explosions of anger as something more purgative than aggressive.
Is this all it is with us?