When I was in the 2nd grade I went to school wearing one of those maxi skirts that was in fashion at the time. Mine was patchwork, but that is not the point. The point is that I forgot to put on underwear that morning and spent the entire at day at school MORTIFIED that someone would find out. I mean, what kind of girl would they think I was? Instead of my usual tetherball match or game of dodgeball at lunch I sat on a bench at the farthest corner from any pupil and prayed to God to please end this day early by some sort of natural disaster. I guess I have that “hyper-sensitivity-to-embarrassment gene” thing. Later on when I was a sophomore in high school I was standing in the crowded quad area at lunch and this senior boy, the popular, football star no less, comes right up to me and in front of his friends (and the rest of the world), grabs both my breasts. Did I run to the principal? Did I slap him across the face? Call Gloria Allred? Oh no. I ran home after school crying to my mother and blaming her for my big boobs. And what, pray tell, does this have to do with China? Well, I think that after living here a year I may finally have been cured of this. The Chinese don’t have this so-called gene, they just do what they do and go about their lives. You want to wear your sequined dress at 10am? Your pajamas to the bank? Tell someone they’ve gotten fat? Wear high heels to the gym? Hold your best friend’s hand and skip to the loo my darlin’, you go right ahead because nobody here is going to give you the side-eye or second look. I can finally be free to be me. Now if only I still had that patchwork maxi skirt.
Speaking of being free…a wonderful day at the only REAL, leash-free dog park in Shanghai.