L and I have recently started having play dates with other babies and moms. Yesterday we met up with a new Chinese friend and her 11 month old baby. This mom lives on one of the university campuses that is a short walk from our apartment… there is a lot less traffic on campus, and a lot more trees…which makes it a good place to go for a stroll. While we were waiting at the place we were supposed to meet our friend, L played the role of “foreign super star baby.” People gathered around us, making clucking noises at her, touching her hands and face, and saying over and over “Bee-yoo-tee-full.” At one point we must have had about 10 people leaning over her, all trying to get her to smile (which is, fortunately, not too difficult to do).
Once our friends got there we found a little clearing where some other moms and babies had gathered. I was telling her about the scene she’d just missed, and my friend said (in Chinese): “She is beautiful. She is much, MUCH more beautiful than you.” Then in English, she said “No offensive.” :)
I thought it was funny. I wasn’t offended, as I know that L is more beautiful than me (and want her to be). I just wouldn’t have ever said it that way myself. Yet another example of how the supposedly indirect Chinese are often very, very direct.