Wednesday, December 8, 2010

La Moustache!

During Epik orientation we were told by a presenter that Koreans pay attention to appearance, a lot of attention. So much attention that if you change your hair style, for example, they will question your mental health- didn't quite make sense to me either, but that's exactly what we were told. Due to this information I had been putting off shaving my beard even though mustaches kind of annoy me. I generally change my face once every other month or so... I like change.

I shaved last night! Went from a beard to a goatee with burns- a classic me look. I expected to go into school today and have everyone comment on my newly shorn face; it was not so. In fact, I went the entire day with only one person making a comment about it- the crossing guard outside the school. I don't know if you've ever seen the movie "La Moustache" but I certainly felt like yelling "LA MOUSTACHE!!! LAAAA MOUSTAAACCCCHHHE!" On more than one occasion today. Oh well.
Facial hair for me, and maybe all men and some women, is significant in that it becomes part of my identity. When I sport a full beard I look and feel older which juxtaposes my clean-shaven self when I look like a teenager and feel younger than I actually am. Since being in Korea the beard as added yet more depth by making me feel and appear obviously foreign. It is very rare to see a Korean man with any sort of facial hair; I'm told that being hairy is a signifier of lust here. In fact, there have even been stories of teachers being asked to shave by their schools due to these superstitious complaints. Koreans have on more than one occasion told me that I look like Jesus Christ, the comment is always set-up first by asking if I'm religious/Christian, the answer being "No" never stops the comparative follow up. I'd like to tell them that Jesus was probably not a white skinned, freckly, blue-eyed, Euro-mutt... with a pinch of Native American... but I would make less friends if I did that. Needless to say, now that I've shaved I'll be curious to see how new Koreans interact with me when we meet, looking like Jesus was a good way to break the ice.

P.S. I need winter vacation ideas.

1 comment:

  1. Penis Statues at Sinnam?
    Trout/Ice festival in HwaCheon?

    We're doing the Ice festival thing...I'd like to go to Penis Park to (don't read into that too much). Just a unique experience. If you want to travel abroad a little more, there is an amazing Ice Festival in Harbin China. It's pretty cheap to get there...and cold. There's some ideas.