Monday, May 11, 2009

A pretty girl is like a malady

What you see above is a plastic surgeon's ad, which I found on another blog, illustrating the modern Korean ideal of beauty: Caucasian, basically. Young women, often to better their chances of getting hired, sometimes have surgery on their eyelids and cheekbones to look more Western.

It's kind of ironic, really, considering how many Western men find East Asian women attractive; seems that, for some, being a pretty-but-Asian-looking woman is almost considered a medical problem. Okay, that's way too strong, but it does allow me to use the title I slapped on this post.

Koreans also, apparently, find lighter skin attractive, possibly as a holdover from the days when it was a sign of status to be able to stay out of the sun, unlike fieldworkers. Now that the hot sunny days are here, I see a lot of women using umbrellas. Either they think they're Mary Poppins, they're performing an homage to Rene Magritte, they're Zapruder film re-enactors, or they're trying to keep cool and untanned.

Also, many, or most, store ads use Western models and most cartoon characters, which are used heavily in the media, look Caucasian.

...and that's precisely the kind of hard-hitting social commentary you've come to not expect from my blog. So let's see what else is going on...

Yesterday was an odd, traveling about and doing nothing kind of day for me. I taught in the morning, got out at 1, as I do one Sunday a month to go to Writers' Group meetings, took the bus downtown to Club That (erstwhile home of our base, Hami Mami's, and still our gathering place), only to find no one there but Pill-kon, our one Korean member, sitting at the picnic table in the courtyard. After 15 minutes, nobody else came, so I left. Then I got a phone text from Justin saying he'd be late because he was finishing lunch, joined him and his girlfriend at the Holy Grill for a beer. bought some sandals, went home and boldly went where this man has gone before, taking a nap.

(By the way, Star Trek movie? Terrific.)

It was a hot day, up to 93 Fahrenheit, but we're still in that short period where it cools off at night, and come dusk I had to get out into the world. The three of us were woefully short in the cat-litter department, so I took the bus to Costco, about a 20-minute ride. It's always fun horsing the 30-pound jug of litter, along with whatever else I've bought, onto the bus to come home.

This time I had a slice of delicious horrible wonderful fatty heavenly greasy Costco pizza, which I took out to the bus stop because the tables inside were taken. I was hurrying to engulf it when the 323-1 bus pulled up, I shoved the pizza slice in its box into my bag, and I hopped on.

Well, here's the deal. The 323 bus runs a big loop counterclockwise, the 323-1 the same route clockwise. I take the 323-1 to Costco and the 323 back home. Unfortunately, your greasy-fingered friend here hopped on the clockwise-loop bus this time. No biggie, right? Probably I'll just have to ride a little longer. How long could it take?

Well, I didn't know the 323-1 from Costco visits the west side of town (but at least I got to see the Woobang Tower in its multicolor floodlit glory), every backstreet in Daegu, and I think, parts of Shanghai as well. It took 95 minutes to get home, but it seemed longer because I kept wondering when we were going to turn around and, as we finally got back into my neighborhood, whether I'd recognize the stop in the dark from the direction opposite to the one I'm used to, or have to walk a half-mile uphill with a 30-pound container of cat litter.

Still, my newfound serenity helped; I was much less tense than I would have been before I found a spiritual path. I would have been having kittens over it in my neurotic, crisis-mode way not that long ago. I once was lost, but now I'm found. Even when I'm lost.


PeterBugnet said...

I tried to find, but showing my inattentiveness: what new found path?

Stephen J said...

Well, I've become much more spiritual, though unaligned with any particular religion. I have learned some things from Buddhism, for example, especially about being in the moment and releasing fear and anxiety. Ironically, the first tenet of Buddhism is compassion, and I think I'm more compassionate in my lifestyle than the vast majority of Buddhists.

If there were a Unitarian Church, I would probably attend it, but the only gathering I know of is one Sunday a month, in somebody's apartment, in Seoul.

Probably, if you're so inclined, the best way to trace my "path" is to click "deep" "thoughts" in the "Labels" sidebar.

Peace, my friend.

Stephen J said...

Oh, and I should add that for years I've been interested in writers like Wayne Dyer, especially when they talk about how new scientific discoveries (quantum physics and other stuff I pretend to understand) regarding the nature of reality dovetail with what different spiritual traditions have said for millennia, and especially have been much influenced recently by "A New Earth" by Eckhardt Tolle, Marianne Williamson's daily podcast, and "How to Write Ludicrously Long Sentences" by me.