Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Thank You Asian Immigrants

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.

1.  Smallness
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!

2. Rice
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.


Warped Mind of Ron said...

I've always had the opposite problem with clothes...

Me: Nothing fits!
Salesperson: Try looking in the Hill Giant section of the store...

Lynn said...

I can't even imagine being XS - although I see that it has its own set of problems. :)

Jameil said...

God bless 'em! I'm glad they're hooking you up! I doubt I'll see any Asians today seeing as I doubt I'll leave the house but I'll send good vibes!


Well, good to see you have rejoiced in the cultural exchange...thats silver lining in the U.S. with of course the ongoing immigration problem..but hey they have your size...well damn it I am on your side then...zman sends

kenju said...

When I was 14, I had to shop in the children's dept., since I weighed so little. The only problem was, I was already 5'10" and everything was too short and had to be let out, faced, and re-hemmed. Nowadays, even some pants are too long for me!!

G said...


You would tower over my wife and be almost eye to eye with me.

My problem has always been remembering what the length of my jeans are. Ain't nothing worse than buying a pair of jeans with the wrong length.

Can anyone say, "cuffs the size of boots"?

Jenski said...

That made me want one of those sesame buns that has sweet bean paste in the middle and is rice flour, chewy, and rolled in sesame seeds. Yum. It also made me miss China. :-)

DarcKnyt said...

Well, good for you! I can see a story where YOU are giant terrorizing Japan, knocking down buildings and roaring as you rip electrical towers down! They'll launch teeny-tiny little missiles at you but you'll swat them away, gnats to be shooed aside!

You are, my dear, the Asian GIGANTICA!

DarcsFalcon said...

There used to be chain here called Petite Street, that catered to the 5'4" and under set. I guess it didn't make it up to Canada. I guess they folded, I haven't seen one in years.

How nice that you've found food and clothes that meet your needs so much better. :) That's always a bonus.

wigsf3 said...

My favourite thing about Asian immigrants would have to be two of my best friends. One from Singapore, the other from China.

Granny Annie said...

My goddaughter wore size 0 forever. My daughter and I both tend toward lots of meat on the bones. We both took goddaughter for her fancy dress for a school dance and could not find a thing to fit her. The clerk, assuming we were her mother and sister, glared at me and said, "Well, if you would feed this child...." We definitely needed an Asian store about then.

Sparkling Red said...

Ron: LOL I flashed on an image of you dressed in clothing made from trees. Isn't that what a Hill Giant would wear? Bark pants and a leafy shirt?

Lynn: Being small is very convenient in a crowded city. I can squeeze myself into 3/4 of an empty seat on the bus next to a wide person. It was only inconvenient in the clothing dept.

Jameil: Thanks! I live in a primarily Asian neighbourhood (immigrants from a variety of countries) so I get to see them even if I don't leave my house, through the window, walking with dogs or kids or grandmas. They're all very nice and polite. :-)

Zman: The immigration discussion seems to be quite different in the US than Canada. Toronto especially has a huge number of newcomers in our population. We'd better make the best of it!

Kenju: My goodness, you must have had a huge growth spurt! 5'10" - I can't imagine being that tall!

G: I like hanging out with people who are around my own height. In high school I had to girlfriends and two male friends who were all very tall. I got tired of looking up at them all the time.

Jenski: Mmm... red bean bun... *WANT*

DarcKnyt: No kidding! When I shop at Pacific Mall (a specialty mall with only Asian boutiques) I take a size Large. RRRAAAAAAHHHHHRRRR SPARKZILLA RULES!

DarcsFalcon: Petite Street - cute! We have petites here, but it was the width of things, not the length, that was at issue. Petites, at least in Canada, are shorter all over but not skinnier. In fact I find most petites to be just a wee bit short on me. I'd rather buy the regular sizes and have them hemmed.

wigsf: If you go back a few generations, my husband's family (dad's side) is originally from Japan.

Granny Annie: That's such a terrible thing to say! People feel very free to make assumptions. I'm always assumed to be vegetarian, because people think that all vegetarians are thin and vice versa. Silly.

LL Cool Joe said...

XS is small! Is 5'4" short?? I think that's about the average height of women in the UK!

And there's nothing wrong with teenage clothes! :D

Pixiebaby said...

I share your height issue coming in at about 5'3" and some change. But I am carrying around a good bit of extra weight for the last few years. It's slowly going back down but not being able to exercise the way that I used to is making it more challenging. Anyway...back to your post lol...Buying clothing has always been a challenge for me too. It's either built in slippers because the pants are too long and can be wrapped under my feet or a length that's not quite capri...more like high waters ;)

Sounds like the asian immigrants have been a nice boon for you. That's great :)