The time has come to pay tribute to the Asian immigrants of Toronto. To them I owe a debt of gratitude. They have improved my life substantially in two very important ways.
I reached my full adult height and weight by the age of 16. That was (and is) 5'4" and 115 lbs. Back in 1988 I was considered scrawny.
I recall being both disappointed and insulted when I went to the Eaton's young ladies' department to find a prom dress. A section of the store had been set aside to showcase the beautiful, floor-length gowns in a rainbow of lace, satin, and sequins. I tried on dress after dress in the smallest sizes on the rack. They were all too big. I could look down each cavernous bodice, shout "HELLOOOO!" and hear my own voice echo back to me a moment later.
The helpful saleswoman advised me to go to the children's department. I was 18 years old.
That's just the way the clothing industry worked back then. In most adult stores, the smallest size was too big on me. Throughout my 20's and even into my early 30's, I dressed mainly in clothes that didn't fit, or stuff I picked up at second-hand stores in the kids' section. It started out as a necessity and turned into a bad habit. Little did I know that as time passed and the Asian population of Toronto grew, stores had begun to stock smaller sizes to cater to their new, tinier clientele.
Now my two favourite stores stock one size smaller than my size. I am only XS, not the ridiculously mini XXS. Compared to some of the girls in my neighbourhood, who totter around in frilly mini-skirts and kitten heels on their wee bird-legs, I feel substantial and robust. I also enjoy being able to buy sophisticated and stylish business-wear with ease. Thank you, Asian ladies, for swinging the size statistics in my favour!
Now that I am living wheat-and-dairy-free I eat almost excusively at Korean, Japanese, or Chinese restaurants. European food relies too heavily on bread, pasta, and cheese. If I go to a White People restaurant, I am more or less stuck with potatoes as my only starch option, which isn't all bad because it gives me an excuse to eat french fries.
I still miss wheat. I haven't yet managed to convince my brain to remove it from the category of "food" and transfer it into the category of "toxins". I still look at wheaty treats and feel a strong impulse to eat them. I also feel sad every time I forget and then remember again that something I used to look forward to is now something that I can no longer have.
Hey, we're going to for Indian tonight! I can't wait to have some hot, fresh naan... wait... DANG! Say, there's that roti shop that I haven't been to in a while. I'd love a nice fresh, roti in a soft, chewy wrapper of... wait... MAAAAN! Passing a platter piled high with chocolate chip cookies at the buffet... reaching for one... wait... remembers... BOOOO! Well at least I can have fish and chips at this place, except... the fish is breaded... BREADed... GRRRR! And on it goes.
Thank you Asian immigrants, for providing me with many restaurants in which I can not only eat, but have multiple ordering options! Without needing to request substitutions!
Smile at an Asian immigrant today, on my behalf. Thank you.