Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Wasai---Bear on the beach

In September, my girlfriend and I went to Fulong beach. My girlfriend is very pretty and its normal for people to stop and stare when she's on the street. Upon arriving at the beach, we changed in the bathrooms adjacent to the parking lot and headed toward the water. She was wearing a long skirt and a spaghetti strap top. We were holding hands and crossing the parking lot when a tour bus full of seniors pulled in. The bus was about half unloaded when they noticed us passing. The whole crowd next to the bus was frozen in awe. They stared at us like we were endangered pandas. My girlfriend giggled, she was flattered. She realized that she forgot something in the changing area and walked back in that direction. But, the old people's gaze didn't follow her. The whole crowd was fixated on me. Or, not "me" exactly; it was more like my chest hair. One old man drooled while he fixated on my chest. An old woman blushed and waved at me. When my girlfriend returned she instantly understood and laughed at me. Then she roughly scratched my belly the way you scratch a dog laying on its back. I felt like Chewbacca. The rest of our time at the beach was full of similar experiences. Taiwanese people tend not to be very hairy, which is common in Asia. Body hair is such a non-issue that the normal word for it, "毛 mao2", is the same word used for "animal fur". So, the accepted stereotype of Western people is that we are hairy compared to Asian people. As a person who is hairy, even by Western standards, sometimes I'm left feeling like the bearded lady at a freak show. I don't know whether to charge for a peek, or find a waxing salon.

Submitted to Wasai Taiwan by: Michael Garber
(Taipei City, Taiwan--- Pittsburgh, USA)

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