We all know about the moral implications of conducting experiments on humans. This is what prevents us social scientists from adequately controlling our variables. However, every once in a while, due to some freak accident of circumstances and nature, we are presented with a situation that so closely imitates laboratory conditions that we have the opportunity to conduct some real groundbreaking experiments. No, I’m not talking about my non-blog work (that would be too good to be true, and I would be accepting my Medal of Science by now). I am talking about my man-shopping.
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It was a crisp fall day in Paris. I was on the metro line 1, on my way to a meeting. Purely by coincidence, I had sat myself down next to a fellow yellow, so to speak. And as I was settling into my seat, I couldn’t help but notice how closely we resembled each other on the physical front — and not just because we were both Asian.
We were similar in height, build, and facial bone structure. We had the same haircut. We even had similar outfits, except that I was wearing grey and bright green, and her outfit was in all different shades of the same puke-y brown.
Other than the color scheme of our clothing, our physical differences were limited to the following:
- She had alabaster-pale skin, whereas I was rocking my perpetually tan complexion.
- She had more slitted, almond-shaped eyes, whereas mine are rounder and with a double-lid.
- Her boots had a half-inch heel, whereas mine had a three-inch heel.
- She was hunched over in her seat, staring intently at her nails, whereas my posture was erect, shoulders back.
I thought to myself, “She’s the ultimate stunt double! She could be my man-shopping double!”
Here’s where it got interesting…
A cute guy got on at the next stop and was clearly taken aback by the wave of Asian awesome that we launched his way.
It was at this point that I thought to myself, “Wow, this is a once-in-a- lifetime opportunity. Physically speaking, most variables have been controlled for. Now all I have to do is wait until Mr. Cutie chooses his target, and then I can determine what he considers to be physically desirable.”
I saw him vacillate between the two of us. He was momentarily torn, and I saw his mind-gears turning as I blink-blinked my eyes at him. I glanced over at my double, and I saw that she, too, was doing the blink-blink, albeit from a more hunched-over vantage point.
He walked over to us…
… and knelt down next to…
… my double.
Of course he did.
So as Mr. Cutie began to whisper sweet nothings to my counterpart, whose French, by the way, was atrocious, I had no choice but to conclude that the man preferred the more diluted, paler (literally and figuratively) version of myself. I must also conclude that he preferred someone in ridiculously ugly shoes.
All these years, my grandmother has been begging me to comport myself in a meeker, less obtrusive way and to do something to lighten my dark skin. I am so irritated that she may have been onto something.
Oh, don’t worry, this little impromptu experiment will in no way change my fashion sense or my posture. But it does make me just a tad more cynical…