Women & men in Southeast Asia

It’s funny how you always want what you can’t have. The same is with looks. Western women straighten their hair, while Asian curl it. We go to the beach and tanning salons to get a tan, Asian women walk around with umbrellas to prevent getting tanned. They even use bleaching skin creams to get whiter. We do nose jobs to make our hooks smaller, and they do nose jobs to make it bigger and have something hold the glasses on their faces. However both western and eastern women are beautiful. Which is definitely not the case with men.

So the situation in Asia is pretty much like this: Asian women: tiny, lovely, cute smiles, wonderful dark hair, most of them are really, really beautiful, very feminine. In Asia some men can be feminine as well, so much actually, that you might pick up a girl in a bar, go somewhere and get really surprised once you figure out that she’s not as much as a girl as you thought. Asian men: very short (there are actually soldiers and policemen shorter than me (and it’s very unlikely that a man is shorter than me, because back home men sometimes use my head as an armrest, when they’re too drunk or tired – so you can imagine I’m not exactly 6 feet tall), teeth – maybe (it’s not a must to have teeth), long nails – definitely a must (I like to call it: “the long nail trend”. I don’t know which drugs they must be on, to think that’s attractive, but it seems as if the longer nails you have, the more of a man you are (cause that’s just pure logic, ain’t it?). And you know it’s not like they forgot to clip their nails off so they’re a tiny bit longer. No, it’s like: I’m shaking hands with someone and it feels as if I’m shaking hands with a tiger, who is stinging his claws in my hand. Dirty hair with loads of gel in it – does a better hairstyle even exist? , spitting all of the time (whether to spit a piece of food, to express an emotion or just for the sake of spitting). Now that’s something I can’t stand. Even if you were Hugh Jackman and you’d spit I’d be so disgusted I would never want to speak to you. Ok, maybe if you were Hugh Jackman, and you’d spit only once I might turn a blind eye. But that’s really disgusting, especially when they accidentally (or not accidentally, I’m not sure) spit near you and you get sprinkled. Wearing unbuttoned shirts – we all know it’s hot, we’re all sweating like pigs, but unless you have an amazing sixpack to show off, do us all a favor and button that shirt. Chewing on toothpicks – if you’re actually using it for the sake of getting a piece of food out, even though it’s not the most attractive thing, fine. But if you’re chewing on a toothpick till it’s literally gone (cause you’ve chewed it off and probably swallowed the pieces), then it’s quite awful. And they seem to do that as if it was the manliest thing on Earth. Foreign men: even if they would be completely ugly and unattractive back home, here they become shining knights. Even if they’re short, they’re tall here. Even if they where single all of their life, here they’ll find someone in no time. Even if they have the worst taste in clothing, here they’re all Valentino or Lagerfeld. And even if they don’t know squat about football, they’re all Lionel Messi here. So one could say that western men seem to have it quite good here. On the other hand western women are those who have it worst. No woman is crazy enough to go for that classy, long nailed, spitting Asian man, and the foreigners seem to be quite occupied with Asian women. So not only do we fight horrible toilets that we’re forced to use after eating a delicious but outrageously spicy meal. Not only do we shower in the weirdest and dirtiest bathrooms. Not only is it impossible to buy cosmetic products here (I’ve literally spent 1,5 hour in a shop the other day, trying to explain that I’m looking for hair conditioner. Since English does not work in most cases here, and I do not read or speak Vietnamese yet, I literally had to open each and every shampoo looking bottle in the shop till I’ve found hair conditioner). My skin is peeling from when I got sun burnt but they have no clue what skin moisturizer is, or at least they don’t understand it. So you’re basically entering shops and trying to explain, play mime games and try to show what is it and how it’s used and still nothing. So in addition to all the other pros of being a woman here is that you look like you have leper skin. So not only do we face all that, but the chances of romance in Asia are almost non-existent.

The other day I went to buy flip flops (mine had broken so I had to buy new ones, + being a women I would take any excuse I can in order to buy something). I had tried a bunch of them in the shop and they were all too small. I kept asking for a bigger size (not that they have sizes or anything – the saleswomen estimates the size with her bare eye – and does not give up on doing so even if she’s clearly mistaking). After trying on a bunch of pairs and still asking for a bigger size, the saleswomen looked at my feet with a certain disgust in her eyes and then said: “You, man feet. Women, small feet. But you, man feet!” (FYI I wear size 37, so I guess a woman that wears 40 would be considered a dinosaur feet woman here).

I had bought my man size flip flops, and headed sightseeing. As always in Asia, my hair looked like I got electrified, and due to skin peeling and discoloration of my skin I could have been mistaken for a dalmatian dog. Also due to huge variety of clothes that I have in my 9 kg heavy backpack I wore pretty much the same thing I do all the time. Every morning when I wake up I have some tough women choices to do, like: what to wear today? – the black t-shirt or the blue one? Oh, tough choices! BTW yesterday I accidentally put on one of the various shirts that I have back side front and discovered that it looks like a completely different shirt! So now, instead of 4 shirts in my backpack I actually have 8! And then they say women are not resourceful!!! Anyway, I wanted to have a bite before sightseeing Da Nang. Every restaurant that I have entered was crowded with men (I have no idea why) and every time I’d enter one, all of them would turn around and stare like I was Santa Claus and they were 5 years old boys believing in Santa. When that would happen, I’d get mad, run outside and try another restaurant. It happened a bunch of times, and it ended up with me flipping them off! I hadn’t eaten that afternoon, but at least I was not being stared at like I was an alien. I’ve experienced the same thing while I was living in the Middle East but hoped I would escape it here, as it’s rather unpleasant when a bunch of long nailed men with toothpicks in their mouths stare at you. And every time that happens I try to ignore it, but if it’s constant I get upset and start flipping people off. Which was maybe not the brightest idea in the Middle East, however here, they’re so much smaller than me, that I don’t feel as intimidated. And try to keep in mind that I do look like a dalmatian with an afro, so what would be the case if I actually looked nice? If I got half of the looks I get here, in Europe, I would have probably been married and divorced 5 times with 15 kids by now. Which according to Mimi (a woman selling goods at Cua Dai beach, Hoi An, Vietnam) is better than being a 26 year old single woman. We started talking when she tried selling me bananas, and she asked how old I was. Then she asked if I was married. Surprised by the responses Mimi told me: “You old. Must get married. You very old.” Well Mimi, I won’t get married in Asia, that’s for sure.

So, if Asia is full of attractive women and unattractive men, where on Earth is the situation opposite? I know there’s wonderful men in some parts of South America, but then the women are even lovelier there, so that doesn’t make things straight. Where is that place? (BTW this is not a rhetorical question, I really wanna know. Cause that’s where I’m traveling to next 😉 )

1 Comment

  • Tina says:

    hahah Nika, this was your best one yet 😀
    I don’t know the answer to your question though, but Mimi seems like a lovely and insightfull lady, maybe she knows 🙂

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