So this morning I was getting dressed in the change room at the gym, when a woman slinks in beside me to use the same mirror. We are both standing there, moisturising, drying our hair, putting our face on when she suddenly lifts her arm up to pull her hair back.
My jaw dropped open and my look of horror was so blatantly obvious and I could do nothing to hide it.
This woman looked as though she was smuggling a small Asian child’s head under each arm. Her pits were so hairy that I had to check I was in the right change room.
After a bit more thought, I started to wonder if it was just me that feels women should ‘keep it tidy’? I began to get concerned that I wasn’t challenging my methods enough…”I’m getting old” I thought. Have I spent too many years being influenced by the Western world and their socially acceptable ways that I have morphed into one of those insular, narrow minded people limited by their world, that thinks everything they do is the bee’s knees? (inhale a breath) Are my ways so ingrained that I can’t physically stand the ways of something different?
After more thought…no. I’m not, otherwise I wouldn’t be having this discussion with myself.
Look, I’ve had my fair share of female change room encounters and I have to say that there is a vast difference between the Western world and Asia when it comes to grooming and I can accept that. I may not like it, or enjoy witnessing it…but I can deal.
No one likes to admit that they have ever checked out another woman whilst in the change room, but if you were all truly honest with yourselves…you know that you have… at least once or twice.
The major differences that I can note:
- A Western woman will have decent underwear on, especially if they take the bold move to stroll around the change room freely in it. The average Hong Kong female(particularly the older variety) appear to give less of a damn when it comes to their choice of under garment…they put it on, holes and all, and strut as if they were home alone. To this I say…”good on ya”
- The Hong Kong female has a variety of shower products, usually kept in a small plastic tray (think a smaller kitty litter tray) that is taken into the shower cubicle. The Western woman – she does a quick dash to the cubicle, uses whatever product the gym is offering through their little dispensers and gets on with it. To this I say… “What an organised lot!”
- The Western woman makes her change room experience short and sweet, head down – bum up. The Hong Kong ladies like to take their sweet time, gossiping over the shower cubicle doors, standing around (usually starkers) and discussing… (well, im never too sure what exactly it is they are discussing). To this I say…”If you’ve got the time, take it!”
- The Hong Kong woman will find a space where you didn’t think there was a space and set up camp within moments, sharing this with all her mates, whereas the Western woman is all about ‘personal space’ and will be offended when this space is invaded within the meter.
- Now the nasty bit…grooming. Typically (and don’t hate me for generalising) I find that Western women are … ‘manicured’. There is rarely anything ‘sprouting’ from the never-never and I have certainly never, EVER seen any children being smuggled under their armpits. The Hong Kong gym junkie…she don’t care. She lets it all hang out and does a fantastic job of making it look normal (well…almost).
Plucking hairs, popping pimples, scraping ear wax and doing calisthenics whilst nude or knicker-clad is usually true to the form of these intriguing ladies of the far East and ‘Hey’, perhaps it’s me that’s got it all wrong. They seem happy, fit and healthy. Their at the gym at 6.30am, 5 days a week and happy about it.
Maybe it is me that is missing something…I wonder, do they look at us and sometimes wonder; “She’s got no arm pit hairs…FREAK!” or
OMG – I didn’t see her clean her ear wax out this morning…how repulsive” or how about “That blonde girl, so prudish…always wearing underwear!”
Who knows, and I spose I never will…at least until I attempt to learn Cantonese.