In a sea of jetblack, Harry-Potter-dark hair, the ginger has a tendency to stand out in the crowd. Here in China, people watch what I do, where I eat, when I use the facilities in a public restroom – all while pointing, staring, giggling, taking pictures, and cooing at the “laowai” or foreigner. It often feels like that segment in People magazine where they show the celebrities walking their dog or going to the grocery store or playing with the kids in the park and the caption next to it always reads in big, shocked, capital letters: “CELEBRITIES, THEY ARE JUST LIKE US!” Well, here in China, the phrase of shock, joy, and fear, is: “WHITE PEOPLE, THEY ARE JUST LIKE US!”
So naturally, the smart individuals hiring for companies have decided to capitalize on the Chinese fixation in regards to transparently white skin paired with freckles and a carrot top of hair and turn it into a business proposition.
Want to stand around for a couple hours on a Saturday night entertaining guests while singing KTV? Go for it. And hey, we will pay you.
But then there is the catch. Oh, you have to be a female. Oh, you have to look pretty. Oh, you have to sing (not at a professional level because that’s just getting a little too picky) but you should probably be able to perform at just below Whitney Houston level to get the job.
And then they have positions like this one:
They try to make it sound legitimate. But yet, I envision myself standing there holding a bottle of wine going “vino?” all while wearing a massive apron covered in bulls, and intermittently shouting things like OLE to draw peoples’ attention my way in the sea of stores that is China.
Luckily enough, though, there are also a plethora of slightly more normal jobs where I am not getting paid…to be white. Part time teaching jobs are everwhere as well as small gigs apparently working at the TV stations in Shanghai and doing voiceovers for commercials. So perhaps there is a weekly extra hour or two of potential cash earnings in the future, but until then, I will amuse myself by scrolling through QQ International and finding more wildly entertaining job postings for us “laowais” desperate for a few extra bucks.