At this point, I'd kind of thought we were immune to this. I have lived in Asia before, and I spent my entire college career studying the language, philosophy, and culture of China, so I thought I had a good handle on all the dos and do nots of our new home.
Turns out, when it comes to culture, like most things in life, you never stop learning.
Because, you see, when Angel is too lazy to style his hair, he'll wear a baseball cap instead.
Lately it's been this John Deere cap, because it's the only one he has. This lifestyle doesn't allow for a lot of duplicates.
Angel made the grand mistake of going casual to the office on a day when he didn't have any classes. "Casual" meant he didn't want to put product in his hair, so he wore a cap.
He'd hardly been working at his desk for long when a coworker pulled up a stool next to him. From her body language, he could already tell that he was in for a serious conversation.
"I know you're new to China," she said, "And I am very, very sorry to tell you this, but it is very bad for you to wear a green hat."
He snatched the formerly-innocent John Deere advertisement off his head, stuffed it in the backpack, and said, "Can I ask why?"
"Just believe me. It's very bad."
Now we know, from this point on, Angel will only wear his cap when we travel outside the country.
We were curious enough to do our own research on why wearing a green hat is so bad that our coworkers won't even tell us why it's bad. According to the internet, wearing a green hat means a man's wife is cheating on him. Aiyah! Also, according to the internet, the reasoning behind this is because the phrase describing the action of wearing a green hat sounds similar to the phrase that means cuckold. Not that everything found on the internet is true, but to me, this has the ring of truth, as most Chinese superstitions stem from a would-be innocent object being a homonym or near-homonym of something bad and undesirable. The nature of Mandarin lends itself to homonyms, they are much more common in that language than in English, but this is one I'd never yet come across.
If you're ever in China, now you know, leave the green hats at home!