I can’t enter the previous thread for some reason, so here we go with a new one.
I have a mate in Banqiao who runs a hiking gear store. I usually visit him three times a week, either to chat or teach him English, or both. Since my daily clothes have all been purchased from Michael’s shop (every day I wear Lowe Alpine clothes and Asolo boots), I am occasionally observed with interest by customers who view me as a sort of walking model for his products. Of course, both my friend and his wife wear Lowe Alpine gear every day as well, but the locals seem to find a foreigner more interesting to look at.
In this capacity I am subjected to scrutiny from various angles, and field the odd comment about styles, colours, and appearance. I do my best to help sell the goods, and sometimes take the customer over to the clothing racks to help them look further. Sometimes the comments and subsequent conversations are odd indeed. Here’s one which happened this Tuesday just gone (translated to English):
Woman: [pointing to me] Oh, those pants are a good colour! [comes over to have a closer look] Oh, that blue is really good.
Me: [standing still] Yes, it’s good.
Woman: [actually plucking at the legs of my trousers while she speaks with her husband] Look, these are really good looking. So handsome!
Me: [wishing she would let go] I’ll give you a look. [turns slowly on the spot, causing her to release her grip on my trousers]
Woman: [changing subject] Oh, that shirt is great too, what a good colour. [clutches the sleeve of my shirt] Oh, so handsome!
Woman: [investigating the shirt’s breast pocket by unzipping it and casually exploring its interior with a free hand] Great, so smart!
Me: [having had enough of being manhandled] Come with me and I’ll show you the others. [I had a talk with my friend later about how in Australia you just don’t paw people you’ve never met before]
I led her over to the wall where the women’s shirts were.
Me: Here, have a look.
Woman: Oh, that’s great, so many colours.
Me: There’s this one in blue…
Woman: They look great.
Me: [taking the pink one] This one’s very pretty. I bought it to give to my wife.
Woman: Oh really? It’s so pretty! Can you put the sleeves up?
Me: Yes, you can put them up like this. [shows her]
Woman: Oh, great.
A later conversation was even more strange, and a little unfortunate:
Woman: [to my friend, apparently forgetting I can speak Chinese] Where does he come from?
Me: I come from Australia.
[my friend laughs, and the woman turns to me in surprise]
Woman: Oh, Australia!
Me: Yes. Melbourne
Woman: [predictably] I like the kangaroo! [imitates kangaroo using her hands as the kangaroo’s forepaws, and bobs up and down, as if I’ve never seen one before]
Me: [enthusiastically] Kangaroo is very delicious!
Woman: Oh. I’m a vegetarian.
Me: [thinking ‘oops’] Mph.