There is one thing I think we humans have in common and that is curiosity about something that is different from us. For example, I am stared at quite often. Why? Because I don't have dark hair, dark eyes and my skin is flawless. Well, that is an exaggeration but my white skin receives plenty of ooo's and aww's. But I think the funniest case of curiosity came from what happened to a friend of mine.
On an outing day I bumped into a family of American foreigners heading to a particular store in a nearby mall. The mission? To find a bra for the teenage daughter. Why this store? Because it was reportively to supply larger bra sizes. You see, the trouble some of us female foreigners have in China is finding clothes that fit and bras that accomodate sizes larger than a lemon. I am in the melon section of that isle so I thought I would join them.
As we entered the store my husband and the teenage son of this family headed for the men's department while mother, daughter and I went bra hunting. We found the little store and, yes indeed, they had larger sizes. Good start. My young teenage friend picked out a couple of nice, well made bras and slipped into the dressing room to try them on. The attendants, 2 young woman, were more than helpful. As my friend started to undress she motioned for the attendants to leave, explaining she can do it by herself. They insisited on staying. Again my young friend said "no need" but they still lingered. Finally the attendants confessed. They wanted to see what American boobs looked like! (Could it be because my young friend is a black American as well?) Of course my friend responded emphatically "No, please leave!", which they did.
Now I was outside not knowing of the drama in the dressing room but as the mother emerged, laughing hysterically, I knew something was going on. Once told, we laughed together. The daughter, however, was not laughing. To her there was nothing funny about being asked to reveal her girls to a couple of curious clerks. Ah, the curious things of China. I can't wait to see what's coming next! (BTW, I have permission to write about this from my young friend.)
Tags:General Expat Tales
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Alot of the behaviour which is excused as "curiosity" in China are things which would never be acceptable if one Chinese person were to do it to another. Behaviour like this isn't curiosity alone, it's curiosity mixed in with an objectification which permits people to behave in an otherwise unthinkable manner. Just a point for future writing by the way: "American foreigners" and "us female foreigners" sounds really odd. Do you actually think of yourself as "a foreigner"? Why does "foreigner" need to be added on to "American" to complete the description? I am not sure that this is a label which needs to be reclaimed.
Aug 14, 2013 16:52 Report Abuse