Friday, June 19, 2009

Asian Realisation #1 - I am Handsome

Dislaimer: This is an old photo, and I am slightly more handsome than portrayed in this candid shot

It didn't take me too long in this country to realise that people find me handsome. The first day in the office sitting around a table full of Vietnamese women (95% of the staff were female) all blushing telling me they didn't realise I would be so handsome kind of tipped me off. Many times when I visit a store, storekeepers tell me how handsome I am or call me dep trai - handsome in Vietnamese. It makes me feel awkward and sometimes I pretend that I don't know what I am supposed to say.

Even more embarrassing is when these shop owners go and grab their daughters from upstairs in an attempt to kindle some sort of multi-cultural romance too strong to be stopped by the limits of language. The other night, in Can Tho, I stopped by a smoothie street stall to grab a custard apple and avocado smoothie (my favourite). A girl in her mid-twenties served me kind of giggling. She immediately called over her mother and they began chatting to each other and trying to decide on words to say to me. The girl told me I was some hand. And they were grilling me trying to find out if I was married.

She ran inside her house and came out with a younger girl - the other girl's sister. She looked rather messy, as if she had been plucked from her bed. Her hair was tied up and she had pink pyjamas on. Her mother pushed her towards my direction and was telling me to talk to her. I just smiled and awkwardy stirred my drink.

Her mother then pointed to her daughter and leaned into me saying I love you me, and giggled. Her daughter just stood there unamused - this was obviously not the first time.

I wouldn't say that I am ugly - but I am definitely not worth the credit I am given here. I don't know what it is they see - the large nose, the big ears, maybe way my eyes widen out in the centre...

I am also popular with the men... I won't go into too much detail in this blog, but I have been in situations where straight men cannot stop mentioning how handsome I am (something that, now that I think of it, is somewhat of a fantasy for many gay men...). I must mention that it is much more acceptable her for both men and women to complement someone in this way.

But let's just say... I don't want to get used to this attention... or else I'm in for a depressing reality when I get back to Canada!

8 comments:

Cat said...

Hehehe.
This reminds me of when the pho chef thought I was pregnant with your baby.
AAAHHHH!!
And really, do Vietnamese people never get embarrassed? With foreigners they really can be rather silly.

Hoàng Thu Oanh said...

Asian Realiation #1: You are foreigner so you are different. You are handsome (as you wrote) so you are different. Difference makes you be noticed. Just it :P Due to be confident when you come bach Canada :P (JK)

tofusquirrel said...

you are beautiful! even in that photo!

Jeannette said...

No one in Japan thought you were handsome...hehe.

Jeannette said...

Oh wait, Motto did.

Jonathan said...

Thanks guys.

I think it is just the foreigner thing... mixed with the fact that Vietnamese people have different social habits...

Timelrie said...

I always thought you were Handsome, maybe not to their extent though

Rebel said...

Oh honey, just soak it up. You're smokin' hot!

A lot of students told me I was beautiful when I first got here, then I realized it was one of the few things they could actually say.

But then I decided - If they say I'm beautiful, who am I to argue?