Chinese people are the best fun.
Last week I was waiting at the Bund, trying to get a taxi. Unfortunately I wasn’t the only one with this idea, so as you might be able to imagine, things were not moving fast.
One yellow-dressed, happy looking, middle-aged traffic guard saw my frenetic waving, smiled and waved me over.
-Can you speak Chinese? He asked as I strutted up to him.
-Sure, I said.
-Great! Then we can chat! And I can help you get a taxi.
It took about 15 minutes for us to get me a car, but that wasn’t any biggy because my new traffic guard friend was great fun. Or, OK, he was great fun, until he suddenly said:
-Western women… It’s impossible to tell your age?! How old are you?
-Guess! I challenged.
-Are you joking?
-No? How old are you? I’m sorry I just cannot tell!
-I’m not even 30! I cried. I’m 27!!!!!!!
-Are YOU joking?! You cannot be only 27. You look sooooo muuuuuuuuch older!!!
End of fun conversation. Weight is one thing. I have sort of learned not to be offended anymore when Chinese people tell me that I’m not “super fat” but just “fat” but now this?! I look 8 years older than I am? I think I’m just going to pretend he said so because I’m tall (and I was wearing killer heels) and try to forget about it.
Anyway, that was just last week. Last night some old workmates were in town and we popped by a wine bar in the French Concession. I chatted for a bit with the Chinese bar manager (from Anhui) and was greeted with a huge smile when he realized we could speak to each other in Chinese. When my 2 friends went out for a smoke (how LOVELY is this new law that you cannot smoke inside some restaurants/bars?!) my new friend pretty much took a seat next to me to keep me company.
We went over the usual stuff (how long I’d been to China, where he was from and yadi yadi) and then he asked where I was from.
-Oh! You are very tall, I should have been able to tell. But then you look cute and I think you have the most perfectly shaped face!
-Yes… you know what? I have met many Swedish girls and their faces are often too long. Your face is like… a watermelon seed!
Just when he said that my 2 friend walked back inside, and he turned to them:
-Don’t you agree, her face perfect! Just like a watermelon seed!
I could tell my friend looking something between surprised and hysterical. They had only been gone for a minute or 2, and here they come back, being told that I apparently have a face that relates to watermelons. They decided to be polite and nodded and agreed for the moment.
Not until we paid, left and got into a taxi did they burst out laughing. And I’ve officially gotten a new nickname now, at least when I’m around them: The watermelon seed!