My boyfriend Josh works for an upscale photo chain, and last night his boss threw a staff holiday dinner at a very good, very busy restaurant in Manhattan’s Koreatown. I was invited along as Josh’s +1. I got to the restaurant before him so I waited out in front and stared in the direction from which I expected him, scanning the crowd for his bearded, beanie-topped head.
[In case you’ve never been Koreatown, I should explain that it’s pretty damn Korean – more so, I think, than Manhattan’s Chinatown is Chinese. I kind of don’t like going into stores and being waited on there because the staff will automatically start talking to me in Korean and their faces will drop or twist in disgust when they learn that I don’t understand them. That said, it’s also pretty damn touristy. You can make out the non-Korean faces quite easily: just look a few inches above the top of the Koreans’ heads, and that’s where you’ll find them.]
I was probably standing stock-still for a minute or two when a middle-aged white man came up to me and bellowed, “HI!” into my ear. As his mortified family dragged him away, I heard the man shouting, “I thought that was a mannequin! I thought that was a maaaannequin!”
Though this experience was bewildering at first (I actually started laugh/crying as I recounted it to Josh minutes later), I love that this man on vacation was like, “Oh look at that mannequin I’m gonna do something funny.” And to a lesser extent, I also like that I could pass for a mannequin in (the extremely body-conscious) Korean society.