I have been thinking about this topic for some time now. Unfortunately, it is one which is difficult to get photos to demonstrate what I am talking about. The topic is “The Look”. As we make our way through our days here in Jiaxing, we are frequently given “the look”. It is somewhat similar to golf swings – as many people as there are, there are swings or looks. Generally, however, they fall into these categories.
1.The cursory glance – they see that you are different from them and they just give you the cursory – “Oh, a foreigner” look and carry on with their own business.
2. The once over – they note that you are a foreigner so they have the right to look you up and down before carrying on with their business.
3. The unaware stare – they are actually staring at you without realizing it (really). As soon as you say “Nie ha/how”, they realize it, respond in a somewhat embarrassed way and look away.
4. The hooded look – I love this one. As they approach you they try to look like they are looking down, but really, they are looking at you through the tops of their eyes.
5. The frequent eyer – if I look at you repeatedly, but only for a second and then look away again, you won’t know I am looking at you. (Of course, I may trip on something, but that is irrelevant)
6. Pass me by – and then I will turn and watch you walk away. (Great fun – they don’t seem to realize that I can turn around and see them staring!)
7. I’m lookin’ at you– you are in my country and if I want to stare at you I will.
8. Shorts – you’re wearing shorts? – the warm weather has returned and with it my attire has returned to shorts. Now, we don’t think that Chinese men wear shorts a lot – so I get a combination of all of these looks as I am white, wearing shorts and either sandals or shoes and no socks.
Now here are three examples of people today.
I loved this guy. The buses here have a variety of seating arrangements. Today I was on a bus with two seats facing each other and this gentleman was facing me. He was very friendly but he just could not stop looking at me – until I turned my cell phone/camera on him.
This woman was sitting across the aisle on the same bus. She looked me up and down and over several times – again until I took out the camera.
Finally these workers couldn’t get enough of the shorts (BTW – just plain brown shorts). By the time I got the phone out though, they had gone back to work.
A couple of addenda:
In December, they put the bikes out. In March, they put up the supports and in April they will put the roofs on. Anybody else think it might be out of order?
Finally, I really thought (and hoped, prayed and wished) that I would never have to resort to using a “squatter”. But finally I had no choice and today I was forced in to a McDonalds to use the facilities. I am now a full fledged local…