I tried to go shopping the other day. I managed to get into the shop without knocking anything over or crushing anyone under my canoe sized feet and started looking for clothes that might be flattering on someone who is part gorilla and part whale. As I pulled a dress off the rack I felt something warm on my neck. I spun around and came face to face with a saleswoman trying to perch herself on my shoulder. Fortunately she couldn't reach that high and I shook her off before she could get a ladder. Instead she followed me around the store like white on rice as I picked up the delicate dolls clothes and tried not to snag them on my large, rough hands.
Eventually I found a dress made with elasticized fabric that might accomodate the berth of my wide, western hips and asked my conjoined twin if I could try it on. I gestured both to the changing room at the back of the store and mimed putting clothes on; charades team, London 2012. She countered, making an X with her arms. I grunted, scratched my armpits and pointed again at the changing room. She shook her head vigorously, and emphasized the shape of her arms, X, X, X. I wiped the drool from my chin and lumbered out of the store.
Bruised, but not broken I went to the next store. After finding a style that might flatter a post-pubescent body I asked the saleswoman/my newest apendage what size it was.
"Free size, free size!" she explained.
"Ahhh," I said, "I didn't realize the sizes were being kept in a tiny fishtank. Give my regards to Willy."
"No, no! Same size for everyone!"
"It fit you!"
Sure, if 'it' is minigloves from the dollar store. But okay fine, I'll give it a shot and commence 'try it on' charades.
I pointed at the door to the fitting room, to the sign that says FITTING ROOM in English and say "fitting room" in what I think might be an assertive voice.
X, X, X.
What is this, Pretty Woman? Look, I got money to spend in here. Millions and millions of your won's lady. I begin to act out 'not a hooker' but give up and stumble out of the store, tripping slightly on my dignity as I get to the door. Keep your clothes Korea, I don't want 'em anyway.
(post script: my co-teachers explained to me that in Korea no one is allowed to try on dresses or shirts, only pants and skirts. She couldn't say why. I suggested that a dress is really only a skirt with a shirt attached. She nodded, and said "only pants and skirts.")
She would go on to ask me what kind of food I eat at home.
"Oh, mostly Western. I don't know how to cook Korean food yet. And if I see one more grain of rice I will personally see to it that it's shoved up the nose of the person nearest me. I don't think Kyle would like this very much. So yeah, mostly Western."
"Korean food is very healthy. I think Korean food will help you with your weight losing."