Asian Children Don’t Have to Exaggerate


As the child of an Asian mother, strict in her ideas and notions, I often have to laugh at the things I hear. Failure to laugh could possibly manifest itself in other ways: depression, rage, substance abuse. Does anyone understand this? I’ve said this before, but if I were a stand-up comedienne, my mother would provide my material. But, she is not unique to her Asian thoughts and words. Case in point:

Earlier this week, I had the notion to stop off at Dillard’s during my lunch hour to look for some new work clothes. Struggling to find what I was looking for, I walked up to the nearest saleswoman, who happened to be an older Asian lady, and made my plea. The following is the result:

I asked the little Asian sales lady for wide-legged dress pants, “you know, like to wear to work.”

She asks “yess mam, wha sigh you nee?”

Smiling, I say I’m a size 4. She walks around the counter and zeroes right in on my hips and says “oh i see whya yu lika da why-leg pan,” she pats her hips and says “you hava some bigguh heah, mus haf why leg!”

I almost embraced her…”Momma?” I’m not sure why this is so funny to me. I’m also not sure why I follow her….

She proceeds to lead me around the store pulling out every pair of dress pants, looking at it, looking at my hips (through her reading glasses perched on the bridge of her nose) and says things like “No, thee ah nah foh you sweehar” and, “you wan to try sigh sick instead sigh foh?”

I feel a Facebook post coming on.

Then. THEN! She comes INTO the dressing room WITH ME and says “I cah see you hava da PROBREM right heah” and pats her hips again. She says “I hava da righ pan foh you, you wahn me get?” I feel so exposed. Oh wait. A strange Asian woman is in the dressing room with me, ‘exposed’ is an understatement.

At this point I am laughing, and many have asked why I even followed her after such insulting statements. My answer is simple: she DID call me ‘sweehar’ and she’s not MY mother.

Speaking of my mother, I thought I’d share a few of the statements I heard from my own dear mom in the last 4 days:

Thursday, I am working from home. She pops in on her way home from the store to bring me salad. Why salad, you ask? Her words, “I bring you sumting good for you, I know you only fee your kid the hoh dog.”

All I can think is “Three mom. I have three kids.” I am beyond arguing her theories on what I feed my kids.

Then she looks and my lovely burlap table runner from Pottery Barn. I love that thing. Burlap is all the rage in case you haven’t noticed from Pinterest this year. It’s subtle, it’s cool, it’s country, it’s adorable.

She picks it up with two fingers, like it’s sick with the Asian Bird Flu or West Nile Virus (both of which she thinks I will get, one because I’m Asian, the other because I don’t use OFF! liberally each time I open the front door).

I digress. Sorry. She picks it up with two fingers and says “Why you haf dis? It look so….POOR!”

Saturday evening, I’m headed out to have dinner with a couple of girlfriends and she pops in on her way home from church. I’m wearing a trendy yellow dress that I picked up from Charming Charlie’s a few months ago. She is wearing a royal purple pantsuit. I’m strangely reminded of Jack Nicholson in Batman.

Standing behind me she says “ZEE-na….why you wear that dress? It so tacky. Cannot belief you buy dat.”

This, my friends, is the epitome of being an American-born child of an Asian mother.

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