Body of Evidence

On the Kevin & Bean Show on KROQ, the local rock radio station, here in Southern California, they interviewed a band called Paramore. As it turns out, the powerhouse lead singer Hayley is 5′ 1″ (154.5 cm), just an inch taller than me (152 cm). Although she didn’t reveal her weight, from the look of it, she is probably around 100 lbs. (45.36 kg.) like me too.

And to American standard, anything under 5′ 5″ is just itty bitty. Of course, some teasing ensued.

“You guys are on tour a lot. When you fly, Hayley, do your band mates check you in as a carry-on?”

“Hayley, we have heard a report about this so we’d like to confirm with you. Is it true that once you were almost drowned in the 7-11 Big Gulp cup?”

Now, jet yourself back to Bangkok for a second.

I came back home a few months ago and found myself feeling like a giant beast, perhaps not much in height but definitely in weight and built.

Mind you, I’m not built according to the typical blue print of the Thai perception of beauty, a curveless skinny form with a pair of toothpicks for legs. I have a butt and muscular calves. My mom used to comment on my choices of shorts or knee-length skirt, “Why are you wearing that? People can see your fat calves.”

A fellow Thai expat blogger Pondering would echo my sentiment as we both have long since given up finding pants that fit in Bangkok. I have 26-inch waist. Not a big waist by any means. But I found myself buying pants many sizes larger just to have enough room in the seat, then I would have to tailor the waist to fit.

See a little bit of a self image issue here for this expat?

America thinks you are tiny little thing at 5 ft. 100 lbs. Your American friends think you are built quite right, may be even on the skinny side. You’re starting to feel okay about your weight and your built.

While in Thailand, everyone seems to be just about as tall as you are at 5 ft. or at least you find more people who are shorter than you. Everyone else seems to be as skinny as the chopsticks you’re using to shovel Bahmee Moo Daeng into your mouth. And being 100 lbs. was borderline heavy. Oh and with that butt of yours, you’re J-Lo of Southeast Asia.

In one country, you’re a smidgen over being an anoroxic dwarf. In another, you’re a fat cow.

And you wonder how I get this deranged.

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