Well, I haven't been up on a soap box recently on the blog, so here we go...
There is nothing more free and powerful than an American male, and I am reminded of that every time I leave my home here in Taipei. Being here, as a foreigner with pale skin, I attract a certain level of attention. People are kind to me. People stare at me. People are interested in me, by me, about me, and so on. I am a walking novelty (to many). Nevertheless, my magic pales in comparison to that of an American male, preferably one young enough that he might still on occassion be referred to as a young man... let's just call him a boy. [Even though it doesn't seem to matter if you are old and unattractive either...]
It doesn't matter how many people watch me as I walk by, wonder what I am asking when I open my mouth - they don't aspire to be my companion, or I guess my presence is more intimidating than mystifying. For the white men, women cling to them. They each have a Taiwanese girlfriend, maybe two or three for all I know??? Whatever it is about being a white boy, it is all the leverage they need to find the right job, meet the right girl, have women lining up to be thier 24 hour tour guide and translator. For me, it is not the same. Now don't get me wrong, you all know I am already spoken for, but when people ask me if I've 'made any new friends?' - this is one segment of the population that you can count out. With so many beautiful locals vying for thier attention and eager to be of assistance - the foreign men that I've seen could care less about a foreign female crossing thier path!
It doesn't end there. Who else in the world has such access to education, power, fame, wealth and prosperity? Who is born with the right to vote, choose who they marry, borrow money, purchase land? I was speaking today with two different coworkers who have just recently finished their military service terms. In Taiwan, all males serve a minimum of one year mandatory military service before they become a certain age. The term may be served before or after college, should they choose to attend, but it is still required - there is no easy out. [I actually find this concept fascinating; I can't imagine what friendships and experiences the men take with them from this chapter of thier lives. In my mind, it would be comparable to the ups and downs of the journey I am on... but I am still grateful that my husband wasn't swept away from me at age 25 to serve a min. one year military service term with little pay and lots of hard work...]
Moral of the story? If you woke up this morning, and saw your pale, grizzly, American face looking back at you in the mirror (hopefully that excludes the women...), I hope you count yourself lucky! :)