“Is your hair dyed or is this your real color?”

Illustration by Ruth Silbermayr-Song

Illustration by Ruth Silbermayr-Song

Starting from today I will publish posts three times weekly, on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Guest posts will be published every second Saturday. Make sure to pay China Elevator Stories a visit on these days!

This is the last part of a conversation with a 17-year old girl working at the hairdresser’s doing massages. Click here if you’ve missed part 1 (“Do you have brothers and sisters?”), here for part 2 (“How much do you earn?”) and here for part 3 (“I have the heart of a boy”).

After talking about family, work and education, we switch to yet another topic.

She: “I think that foreigners are really cute. They are open-minded and easy to get along with. Unlike many Chinese who like to keep their distance. Foreigners are usually really nice, especially the girls. The guys, well, I once came across a guy who asked about the way in English, but I can’t speak English and I was a bit intimidated because the way he said it sounded so harsh.”
I: “I guess it really depends on the person. There are also many nice guys.”
She: “Maybe. So far I haven’t met that many foreign guys, so I don’t really know. But the girls, they are really nice – and pretty. One time I had a Russian customer, her skin was so soft and thin that I was afraid to even touch her. Your skin is more like our skin, but hers, well, it’s hard to describe, but in the end I asked another woman working here to do the massage, I was afraid to hurt her.”
I: “That’s funny.”
She: “Is your hair dyed or is this your real color?”
I: “That’s my real color.”
She: “I love the color of your hair. I once wanted to dye my hair exactly like this, but the outcome was nowhere near my expectations.”
I: “I didn’t even know there is a color like this for dying your hair. I never really liked the color of my hair, it looks so bland and in Austria we don’t think that this color is very special.”

She, looking curiously at my ears: “Have you ever had earrings?”
I: “No, never. When I was smaller I wanted to get earrings, but my mother wouldn’t allow it. When I got older I wasn’t too eager about it anymore.”
She, showing me her ears: “I have quite a few ear piercings.”
I: “You do have quite a lot.”
She: “I have 6 on the right side and 3 on the left side. I’d like to get even more on the left side. Is it true that many foreigners have piercings in the nose?”
I: “Yes, there are quite a few who do.”
She: “Would you want to get a piercing for the nose?”
I: “Not really, I imagine that it might hurt when you have a cold and use tissues to whipe your nose.”
She: “I think it looks really nice. How about the tongue?”
I: “Some also have piercings in their tongue. Or above their lips.”
She: “You’re right. It’s really common for Indian women.”

She then looks at my trousers and says: “Your trousers are really individual. Did you design them yourself?”
I: “I wouldn’t call it design. We once made a wall painting in my company and when we were done with it, we used the colors that were left to paint a bit on my trousers.”
She: “Which kind of colors did you use?”
I: “I’m not sure what they are called in Chinese.”
She: “When I was younger I liked to cut holes into my jeans. My father didn’t understand what I was doing. He thought it was a real waste to buy trousers and then cut holes into them. But I liked the style. I also really like your trousers, maybe I’ll make trousers like this too.”
I: “Just make sure the colors are water-resistant.”
She: “I will.”

Have you ever had an inspiring conversation with somebody much younger than you?

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