Too Tall for Taiwan

Ok… maybe this is a silly post, but here I go anyway.

At 6’6" (approx. 197 cm), I’m always getting stared at. I’d like to think it is because of my striking good looks. However, I’m pretty sure it’s my height and size… and the beard… and the fact that I’m a foreigner. I know, I know… when they do it, they don’t mean anything by it and it’s not considered rude.

Intellectually, I understand that but, sometimes, emotionally I don’t care and it bugs the hell out of me. My reaction, usually depends on how much I’m liking Taiwan at that moment (it’s only been a bit over a month and I’m still adjusting ). I either ignore them or, when I’m feeling better, I stare back, smile and/or wave. Occasionally, I engage them, or they me, in a limited conversation based on our respective language skills. But, I digress…

Are there any resources for the taller among us foreigners? Anyone interested in starting a club? Or, should we just bitch about it here!?!?


lol. i’m 6 foot and i feel like a giant here sometimes. i can’t even imagine what it’s like to be 6’6". but being 6’6" i imagine you would have gotten some curious looks in the states as well.

You will get used to it. And they will never get used to it. That’s life in Asia, Shorty. The best thing is to shave your beard and grow a good sense of humor. You are just a curiosity, and they admire you. Make the most of it. And then marry a lady who is 6’4" or so.

Hi LJ,

  1. You are a (western) foreigner -> you will get stared at.
  2. You have a beard -> you will get stared at even more.
  3. You are tall -> well, you’ll get stared at some more, but this is not really the decisive factor, so maybe the topic should have been named “too foreign for Taiwan”.

Just try to enjoy it by thinking it is because of your striking good looks… or imagine you are a mafia godfather and everybody is staring at you in fear.

If you want to get stared at some more, try this:
Foreigners with non-black hair will get more stares, as well as those with long hair. Travelling to remote villages will help, too. And don’t forget to wear sandals to give everybody a chance to stare at your “enormous” feet.

Enjoy your time in Taiwan! You’ll eventually miss the stares back home!


I imagine that they’re staring at you because you’re incredibly handsome and sexy, LJ! Not because you’re an anomaly…

I saw some freaky looking Taiwanese just last night whom I couldn’t stop staring at. One was this enormously obese man with tiny little piggy facial features and a big fat body. He hunched over to inhale his dinner and I just couldn’t help but watch. The other was this hideous, gone-to-seed, lumpy trollop with long scraggly hair past her ass and sporting a blue spangly halter top and mini skirt as if she were some tart selling betelnut. She was a fright.
The Taiwanese were staring at those two more than they stared at the several foreigners around the joint. I think that many people in Taiwan prefer to blend into each other because of the “collectiveness” of this culture, so anyone who looks different gets the gape. We foreigners do the same thing after a while because those who’re unique in appearance tend to stand out here.
That’s probably what gets me in the gut when I go back to San Francisco, it’s more interesting to see weirdos everywhere you go and it’s so much more acceptable to BE one. But then, there are plenty of big, blonde women in San Francisco, so I’m not strange there at all.

But LJ, it also probably doesn’t help much that you’re in Danshui because it’s less “citified” there and Taipei residents tend to ignore oddities like amazingly handsome, tall, bearded foreigners.

Just placing the enormous shoes outside the door is enough to scare
many away, lest the door open and fi fai fo fum

I know when I got here 27 years ago everyone told me that the Taiwanese would stare at my hairy chest when I went to the swimming pool or the beach, but I got used to it pretty quickly. It doesn’t bother me anymore.

You know, in some sense, this entire discussion brings up the issue of the TREATMENT of different people. Consider this: Suppose an old-timer says that if you go to such and such a place, and behave in such and such a way, then the people there WILL TREAT YOU JUST LIKE A CHINESE.

Think about that!! Is that good or bad? In my experience, in many ways, foreigners here may be treated more politely than locals.

Also, another important thing you have to consider is that the Oriental STARE does not have the implications of the western STARE. From your posting it is easy to see that you are uneasy because you are being stared at. I suggest that you need to acculturalize more. To the local people, a STARE is no big deal. You have (unintentionally perhaps) attributed some negative emotion or negative connotation to the STARE which you received. However, I think the local people are rather innocent (i.e. naive) about such things.

The stares used to bug me too. But then I went home and found the lack of attention quite unsettling.

Enjoy the stares, it’s nice to be noticed!

According to your descriptions/conclusions I should be starred at constantly but I do feel rather ignored. Especially by the girls.

Or am I just too ugly to be even starred at?

quote[quote] I imagine that they're staring at you because you're incredibly handsome and sexy, LJ! Not because you're an anomaly... [/quote]

Thanks, Alien! I’d like to think this is true. (I can see Alex rolling his eyes ) However, I think it is probably more often the staring thing. Though, that does bring up a good point! How do I know when I’m being cruised, as opposed to just gawked at? I’m not looking to hook up, but it IS nice to know that you are being looked at and appreciated!

Like I said… sometimes it bothers me and sometimes I could care less. Sometimes, though, it is kind of fun. Like when I walk into a classroom for the first time and the kids go crazy. “Are YOU our new teacher?!?!?” Inevitably the first few minutes are spent discussing how tall I am.

On Saturday Alex and I were with another couple. We stopped at McDonald’s to eat lunch. The two Americans found a table while the two Taiwanese bfs got the food. There were 4 teenagers (3 girls, 1 guy) at the table next to us. As we sat down they all looked at me (not the other guy) and said HI.

I went to talk to them. They asked me my name, where I was from, etc… Then one of the girls asked me something. I assumed it was going to be the inevitable questions: how tall are you? However, after a bit of confusion I realized that she asked me if the guy with them was ugly or cute. Well, I had to be honest. I said he was cute. The boy was suitably embarassed, and the girls were suitably amused.

quote[quote] The best thing is to shave your beard and grow a good sense of humor. You are just a curiosity, and they admire you. Make the most of it. And then marry a lady who is 6'4" or so. [/quote]

Well, that’s a negative on shaving the beard or marrying a lady. I like my beard (without it I have no jawline). And, I don’t like women that sufficiently to marry one. My bf is 6’ tall, though… will that work?

quote[quote] I saw some freaky looking Taiwanese just last night whom I couldn't stop staring at. [/quote]

The thing with my height being an oddity is that I’ve seen some tall Taiwanese. Sure the majority are still short, on average. However, I’ve seen guys taller than Alex and/or near my size. Of course, many of them are sticks, compared to my imposing build.

Oh well…


I’ve found that I get the most stares in places and environments where foreigners are most likely to be found, whereas if I am in a situation where foreigners are not expected, I don’t get many stares at all.