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Sleepless in Taipei

I had the privilege of flying on one of Eva Airlines’ Hello Kitty planes today.

Here's a screenshot so you know what I'm talking about

 

Everywhere you turn on the plane, you see signs of Hello Kitty: from the pins on the flight attendants’ uniforms, their pink aprons, the pillow covers, to the air freshener in the lavatory.

Eva Airlines is seriously dedicated to Hello Kitty

 

I started chuckling as I stepped onto the plane. It’s cute and adorable. But soon I grew weary. [Yes, I tend to overthink. Are you even surprised?]

There are obvious social and cultural reasons that girls, and in fact, women under 50, are encouraged to be cute, to find cutesy things desirable, and also to screech in delight whenever such cutesy things are encountered: In a patriarchal, male-dominant society, men prefer women that are dependent and docile (or at least seemingly so) and find them to be more attractive.

A nation of young women marching to the drumbeat of cuteness. Some critics have even gone so far to call it the “infantilization of women”.

There is the voice that many women here speak in. High-pitched and nasal. 

The facial expressions: eyes blinking deliberately with eyelashes a-fluttering, better yet if they appear to be watery & starry. Verisimilitude of manga characters.

I imagine myself a reject from the Hello Kitty factory.

I’ve never been able to be cute – partly because I am 5’7″ and not starving myself. By Taiwan standard, I am enormous. I also cannot fake Jennifer Tilly’s voice. Just imagine Lucy Lawless feigning cuteness. That. Did you throw up in your mouth too?

That being said, I begin to lean towards + on the cuteness scale when I arrive. It’s as if when I speak in Chinese, I assume a different personality. Or maybe they’ve spiked all the food here.

I tilt my head. I blink my eyes. I smile vacuously.

I know tomorrow I will start making a bunny sign when having pictures taken.

This is like an emergency note written by a survivor before the inevitable Borg invasion.

 

 

 

 

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It’s 2:46 am here in Taipei. I have been awake since 1, lying quietly next to the exhausted boys who passed out at 8 pm, which means they’ll be up and ready to go any minute now.

Jet lag sucks ass when you are traveling with kids.

I am also typing this on my stupid iPhod with my nose hovering above the screen because genius here packed a pair of glasses with NO prescription when my eyes are so effing bad (9.80 and 10.20). Wearing contact lenses 24/7 is simply not an option for me; I’d be blinking the whole day like Sarah Palin, I mean, winking.

I still have some work to do for work, and I would have gladly been working on them except I don’t know how to work on Excel while you are effing half- blind.

Except the above loser glitch, and the fact it’s going to rain the whole week, everything is nice. It’s nice to be here with my folks. Awesome to rub the tummy of my nephew’s wife (Yes, that means I’m going to be a GREAT aunt soon… Shut up! If I’m a great aunt, you all are great aunts and uncles according to the Chinese rule of familial osmosis.). Awesome to see my 12-year-old hovering above my parents (I’m the black sheep in my family: different in every way including effing poor eyesight). Wonderful to watch my dad watching Mr. Monk eating and my oldest doing homework with a content smile.

I’m being a bad blogger. I thought I should drop you this note and let you know why it is all quiet on the WESTERN front…

Love, from Taipei

How he feels about the REAL Chinese food...

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