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Suns Out Guns Out

June 28, 2011

The phrase most recently acquired by my new chinese/ international roommates. Why? Because the sun finally came out in Shanghai.  For the last three weeks Shanghai has endured a constant and heavy downpour.  From what I can understand about the late spring rainy season, the locals cannot predict its arrival, but they can predict its conclusion down to the day.  These last few weeks, by co workers would casually glance at the dark sky and giant drops of rain and say, “only 10 more days of this”.  And they were right. I have finally caught a glimpse of the shanghai sun, and the shanghai heat that has gained a notorious reputation for being unbearable. But for now, I am just excited to restore my vitamin D reserves. This excitement was what prompted me to say the popular davidson sun salutation, “suns out, guns out”.  My co workers were confused for several reasons.

1. they thought I was talking about weaponry

I explained to them in fact that “guns” was just an american term for arm muscles.  I didn’t go into the cultural details as to why americans call them guns…but I think they understood without me having to explain to them why americans like to show off their arm muscles like they are weapons.  This then sparked discussion on the beauty benefits of lifting weights. I lost that debate….lifting weights make women look to masculine. (mom and dad-super slow would never work out here)

2. I was excited to see the sun

The top googled health question on asian beauty forums is skin lightening/bleaching techniques. They are just as  serious about lightening their skin as  the jersey shore cast is in darkening theirs. In china, “suns out” does not mean guns out. it means avoiding sun basked windows, an umbrella shield, and light long sleeved shirts. It means running commentary about how you wish you were lighter, or how light that girl walking by was. It means ushering me under their umbrella when we are walking places, and multiple questions about why on earth it would be a bad thing to “lose a tan”.

on another beauty tangent, there is a thing in the United States called the crack nail. Apparently, drug addicts will keep one pinky nail really long to snort drugs from. In China, it is a common custom to keep one finger nail especially long to show that your occupation is not something labor intensive, it is a sign of wealth.  So imagine my nervousness when I noticed yet another cab driver with a crack nail. I was under the impression they were all drug addicts (but maybe thats what it takes to calm the nerves while driving. who am I to judge really?)I have in fact been informed otherwise, but it really is amazing how just an altered concept of beauty changes how you perceive people.

I think I’ll keep my concept of beauty.


One Comment leave one →
  1. Anonymous permalink
    June 29, 2011 8:41 pm

    Gen –
    with the Chinese wanting to be light and avoiding the sun, tell me – Do the older people have smooth wrinkle free skin? I prefer a good tan with my white hair. Love, Gramma

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