Pure as Ivory Soap


So the other day, the nurse mentioned how the woman on KBS t.v. asked me how I stay so young and beautiful…(wtf?) and how my answer was, “hair dye.”  So she wanted to know if there actually was anything else special I did…(how totally bizarre to me)  The male teacher commented that it was probably because I don’t wear makeup.  Actually, I told him, I’ve been wearing makeup every day, but also I’ve only been wearing makeup the last year or two.

This isn’t the first time I’ve heard this theory – that wearing makeup ages people.  Migumi, a Japanese girl I worked with years ago also said she wouldn’t wear makeup because she didn’t want to age prematurely.  Interesting…

Then, yesterday, some other male teacher commented how pretty I look without makeup.  “You look more pure,” he said.

“NOT pure.”  I said.  “So not pure…”

I’d never worn makeup before simply because my freaking epicanthic fold on my Mongolian eyes just wouldn’t let me.  Not without having linebacker black smudges under my eyes, at least.  But even when I have tried recently, I’d hardly call the application of it trashy.  (believe me – I grew up in blue eye shadow country)

But this whole notion of purity has me both intrigued and appalled at the same time.

The other evening watching t.v., I was kind of shocked and wasn’t sure what to think when I ran across a very baudy comedy set in historical times, and there was nakedness every five minutes and pretty much everything except genitals showing.  The women were also smoking in public. I asked about this the following day at school.  I was told that every man fantasizes about a smoking woman who is a libertine, but that nobody REALLY wants a girl like that.

So I guess that old virgin/whore dichotomy reigns the whole world over.  But in Korea it seems more about purity and innocent looks than virginity.  At least that is the subtle distinction I am catching.  In Thailand, the girls dressed either very conservatively or they actually did look like hookers.  In Korea, even the conservative girls wear stiletto heels and except for the occasional miniskirts, it’s not so easy to tell who is easy or not.

And so I go, walking down the street, smoking my cigarette, getting the occassional double-take.  And so I go, looking so Korean nobody would ever guess I am foreign.  And there I am, looking pure yet feeling so used and thrown away on so many days.  And I look in the mirror and I suspect that I am unusual looking, even here.  I think I am something like Cyndi Lauper.  Been there.  Done that.  A bit unusual.  But still somehow retaining a small measure of purity.  That I don’t understand.

two unusual girls with downward turning mouths – smiles are over-rated!

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2 thoughts on “Pure as Ivory Soap

  1. My friend once worked a benefit that Cyndi Lauper performed in…her job was to help her strap a pink glittery dildo on before the show.

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