Photo: Johnny Silvercloud
1. Thou shalt respect the ‘Aina.
Locals tend to have a respectful relationship with Mother Earth and don’t appreciate when others pollute or harm her. Land and water are elements to be respected. Our state gem is a coral — technically a living organism. So when you’re around your girl, or anyone or thing, don’t be careless.
2. Thou shalt not correct her speech.
Pidgin is a legitimate creole in Hawaii. Correcting a girl’s grammar in the phrase: “You like go jus fo look?” is a sure way to get dumped. Also, it’s pronounced karaoke like in Japanese and “shave ice” not “snow cone”!
3. Thou shalt not draw attention to oneself.
Locals tend to be quieter and a bit more reserved than Mainlanders. Generally, bragging is frowned upon. You are no better than anyone else and likely there’s someone nearby ready to “crack you on da head!” if you get too cocky.
4. Thou shalt relax and take it easy.
There’s a song that goes: “Don’t worry, be happy,” which is somewhat Hawaii’s creed. When you’re with a Hawaii girl, don’t take life seriously. There’s good surf, good sun, and plenty of fruit punch.
5. Thou shalt get the approval of her relatives first.
Many locals tend to be old-fashioned when it comes to family values. If you’re dating a girl from Hawaii, expect to be grilled by her parents, siblings, aunties, uncles and cousins.
6. Thou shalt love the outdoors.
Not that everyone is outdoorsy, but in Hawaii basically the only thing to do is take advantage of the beautiful land around you — surfing, hiking, fishing, sailing — just get out there with your girl. She doesn’t want to Netflix and chill inside.
7. Thou shalt never order Hawaiian pizza in front of her.
Seriously, pineapple and ham on pizza? Who thought of this stuff?
8. Thou shalt not wear shoes in her house.
Shoes are dirty and meant to be left outside on the porch. Enough said.
9. Thou shalt not think that a crack seed store is where you buy cocaine.
No, no, no! It’s where you pick up fruit snacks of different flavors for your girlfriend — licorice, mango, salty plum — mmmmm!
10. Thou shalt not ask her dumb questions.
There are a lot of tourists in Hawaii, and as with any large group of people, there are bound to be a few silly questions asked along the way. Once, my friend was sailing with a group of tourists. When they asked: “What altitude are we at?” she responded: “Well, how tall are you?”
11. Thou shalt not stop on a bridge just to take a photograph.
Yes, Hawaii is beautiful. But stopping in the middle of the road for a photo together is a sure way to cause an accident. You’d be surprised how much this happens.
12. Thou shalt not question the random chicken springing across the road.
Rooster running beside your car? Mongoose darting in and out of the bushes near your house? Whatevah brah.
13. Thou shalt not insult Hawaiian history or traditions.
Hawaiians are fiercely proud of their heritage and you can get in trouble if you’re caught bad-mouthing the monarchy, heiau, kupuna, kapu… basically, anything considered sacred. Hawaiian culture is a culture of respect.
14. Thou shalt not stick your chopsticks upright in your rice.
Or cross them. Or whistle at night time. Or ignore the hoot of an owl. Or be rude to an elderly woman (who might later turn out not to have a face!). Or turn your back on the ocean. There are a lot of superstitions in Hawaii, respect them.
15. Thou shalt not call oneself Hawaiian unless you are indigenously Hawaiian.
Live in Hawaii but no Hawaiian ancestry? Technically you’re a local, or a kama’aina.
16. Thou shalt never honk one’s horn.
What, you think this is the Mainland, brah?
17. Thou shalt always buy her at least 20 lbs of rice.
Why would you buy anything less? You’re going to be eating it every day with her anyway.
18. Thou shalt always dress up for a date with an aloha shirt or muumuu.
Dressing up with a suit and tie is usually unheard-of. Wear a colorful shirt with floral patterns and you’re good to go.