The other day, I decided to be social and went to a “Chinese Corner”, a meet-up for locals and foreigners to meet and engage in conversations. It was really fun! There were lots of people there and we got divided into beginners, intermediate and advanced according to our Chinese language skills. I ended up in advanced which made me very proud! There were lots of great people there and as usual, more foreign men than women; just me and another girl (I didn’t actually talk to her since she was at the beginners table) were the only foreign ladies. As you can imagine, this attracted the usual attention and both Chinese guys and girls started talking to me and shower me with the craziest “compliments”.
“Your Skin Is So White”
This one is the most classic “compliments” foreigners receive anywhere in Asia. One time I visited an ancient town with my friend and we both got really amused by all the people exclaiming “好白!” when I was walking buy.
It would have been a great drinking game now that I think about it…
Even though Western media projects the “beauty standard” with white skin, blonde hair and blue eyes all over the world, it seems like there are some key differences in beauty ideals between East and West.
I am actually pretty white, even in Germany, and I remember my grandma usually being worried I might be sick because my skin is so white. In the West, being really white is considered rather “unhealthy” whereas in the East, it’s extremely attractive. Either way, it’s just my skin…
There even are certain “white skin” jobs that people can only, or much easier, get if they are white in Asia. These can include teaching and definitely anything that has to do with promotion for bars, clubs or modeling.
“I Love Your Long Nose!”
OK, now, I get really sensitive about this one since I really dislike this feature of my face. I have a slight hook on my nose and then the tip goes upward. I actually considered getting some kind of “surgery” in Korea but Jeongsu would kill me 😀
In China, foreigners are actually also called “long noses” 长鼻子 since Asian noses tend to be rather small compared to Western ones. I have seen lots of pictures of Kpop stars and other Asian celebrities who got a nose job but the nose simply didn’t suit them because it’s a “Western style nose”.
As you can see in the photo above, the second lady from the left and the lady on the far right have distinct “Western noses”. In my opinion, it doesn’t match with the rest of the face and their entire ethnicity. It’s just wrong.
“Your Face Is So Small!”
One of the weirdest things I have ever heard is that I have a “small face”.
What does that even mean?
I never looked at someone and thought about the size of their face. The only thing I am familiar with in that sense is the size of a head. There certainly are small and big heads. But faces? I don’t know… I guess… I’ve just never given it much thought.
After that, I actually asked my boyfriend about it and he agreed: I do have a small face and yes, it is considered a beautiful feature in Asia.
There are even plastic surgery procedures to get a “small face”.
“Your Eyes Are Really Big!”
That Asians dislike their almond-shaped eyes is widely known. To me, it’s a feature what makes them who they are and shows their ethnicity. Jeongsu has almond eyes and I love them. They are attractive to me.
Eyelid surgery is one of the most popular procedures around Asia and Asians overseas.