Friday, April 22, 2005

"You're too ugly to have had such cute kids"

Today me, my wife, and my two kids were waiting in front of Sogo in Taipei, in the heart of the once-great shopping district there. As we waited by the landmark clock, the friend we were waiting for strolled up. I wandered off to find a garbage can, and an old woman walked up to my wife.
"Are these your kids?"
"Yes," said my wife with her customary gracious smile.
"You and your husband are much too ugly to have had those kids," the woman bluntly informed my wife.
My wife's face froze and you could see that in her brain the infamous Blue Screen of Death had appeared. A quick internal systems diagnostic revealed nothing wrong with the Hardware: the ears were indeed working fine. Still, she stammered out a "Whaa-aat?"
"Ugly. How could you two have had such cute kids?"
The air throbbed with the sudden, violent expansion of my wife's shit list.
"Yes, you." The woman drove home her point by indicating with an extended finger. My wife was clearly suffering from a serious internal conflict: should she bite the finger off, or just break it in place? I stood there, trying to overcome my chubbiness, balding head, and general bedraggled Taiwan-has-worn-me-down air to look like the dashing potential father of two cute kids. I must have failed miserably, for the woman reiterated her point, in case we had missed it the first three times, and then wandered off.
Welcome to Taipei.


Mickey said...


I vote for risking an assault charge: break the finger off, hand it to the woman, and tell her to shove it where the sun don't shine.:D

If this kind of unbelievable rudeness is common there.....and it sounds like it might be.....Americans look downright polite in comparison!

Tim Maddog said...

The sorry excuse for a human being must've read your last post where you said "I LOOOOVVVEEEE Taipei!" and thought you meant it.

Going with the assumption that it wasn't some sort of "Candid Camera/Punk'd" TV show/excuse for public humiliation, perhaps an appropriate reply would have been: "一點也沒有你的個性那麼醜吧∼∼∼" ("Nowhere near as ugly as your personality!") before telling her to "Go find someone whose looks suit your 'sensitive' nature, and wave your finger at them instead."


Hey, while you're in Taipei, be sure not to miss seeing the poor, tortured creatures pacing back and forth in the nocturnal animal exhibit at the Muzha Zoo.

Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

I usually circumvent such rudeness by announcing my ugliness in advance.

My wife had a similar, if less egregious experience here in Korea. In response, I wrote this blog post on the experience:

Anyway, Michael, you know that your wife is beautiful, and you've posted photos to prove it, so who cares what some elderly woman with cataracts says about her looks?

Anonymous said...

LOL. It's true! She is beautiful. It was just so funny, the way the woman kept insisting on it. They had quite a sharp discussion in Taiwanese about it. Passing comments are the norm, but a whole dialogue....

Anyway, good to see your name here, HJ.


Zhang Fei said...

mickey: If this kind of unbelievable rudeness is common there.....and it sounds like it might be.....Americans look downright polite in comparison!

Americans are rude? Only in the movies. Americans are some of the most polite people on earth - certainly with respect to Asians, but also with respect to Europeans. Hospitality staff agree - in one survey conducted in East Asia, Americans ranked at the top of the list.

Daniel said...

ha ha ha! What a nasty bitch!

Anonymous said...

I have been married to a wonderful lady from Taiwan since 1976 and have two grown children who according to their PRC relatives look like ABC's. We have visited and stayed in the north and south of Taiwan many, many many times over the years and occasionally an obnoxious comment arises, but mostly surprise, not criticism per se.
However, having said that, I would note that in the past 5 to 10 years there has been a significant change in nasty, rude comments to my wife and children when they are present. Unfortunately this is mostly in Taipei.

Anonymous said...

Michael... your wife can disagre with me...but I see this as quite normal. I grew up in California and these type of statements said to my parents (both Taiwanese) in jest whenever I visit them. Or I get the "oh, you grew up in the states that's why you're sturdier" (I'm a size 4 and not the anorexic 0's found in Taiwan) I find it rude but my parents say it is part of the culture. :-|