On any given day in Tianjin

Yesterday afternoon our neighbourhood bike repairman (Mr. Lu) was playing with my arm hair. This led to a conversation about body hair in general during which we both pulled down our shirts to compare (I could count his).

Two years ago this kind of conversation would have made me a little uncomfortable, but now it’s just fun.

This is one aspect of the China experience where think foreign males have it way easier. Culturally (in North America) we males have way less pressure put on our appearance, so people poking at it in awkward ways isn’t so uncomfortable. But for foreign females, coming from our hypersexualized and objectified culture where their looks are almost everything, landing in China (where most women still are generally smaller and thinner, even in the north) and getting poked, prodded, squeezed, and discussed by neighbours and random people in public can be routinely devastating.

Right now as I type this, our neighbours are outside having a neighbourhood singing practice with an accordion. They’re actually not too bad (photo from our kitchen balcony):

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Off to class… (I can’t believe the pollution today is worse than yesterday!)

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