Monday, January 30, 2012

The Double Eyelids Nonsense

My coworker was sharing with me her feelings on the Korean pop star and actor Rain.

"I used to think he was ugly, but now I think he's handsome."

Um, sure, that's great.

She then proceeded to relate to me this Rain guy's sad story of having been born with single eyelids.

"A lot of people get surgery to make double eyelids, but he didn't want to get the surgery. I don't think people should have to get the surgery. That's not right. You know?"

I nodded.

Actually, I had no idea what she was talking about, with these "single eyelids" and "double eyelids." But it was too late in the workday, and I did not have sufficient mental energy left to endure one of her typically meandering, broken English explanations. So I simply nodded.

Afterward, I went home and looked up this "double eyelids" nonsense. Turns out, my coworker was not making this up at all, as the "double eyelid surgery" is, according to Wikipedia, one of the most common cosmetic procedures in Taiwan and other parts of East Asia. I had to look up some photos even to see what the difference was, and I found that the "double eyelid" description was apt. All my life, I had never before been consciously aware of the difference between single and double eyelids, although I suppose I had always intuitively noticed that different people (and, to generalize, different races) had different-looking eyelids. My coworker was also right that it was a pretty stupid and needless surgery, the cultural prejudice against single eyelids entirely unjustified.

As for this Rain guy, it's also true that, early in his career, he was repeatedly rejected in auditions because he did not have double eyelids. It says so right in his Wikipedia entry, so it must have been a big part of his life story.

Reading that, I found myself seething, but not because of the injustice done unto Rain. Rather, it was because the whole thing sounded like the most unbelievably ridiculous nonsense I had ever heard, and yet the guy's fans, including my coworker, apparently take it as a very sad "aww"-worthy story.

So, let me get this straight, this Rain guy's MAJOR ordeal . . . IN. LIFE. is that he was born without the double eyelids? No, don't even deny it. It's right there in his Wikipedia entry, under the "Early life" section. And now he's a millionaire pop singer and movie star, adored the world over, probably lives in a mansion. And I'm supposed to feel sorry for this guy?

Okay, okay, I kid. No, I don't feel sorry for Rain, but neither would I want to trade lives with him. It's ridiculous to me that this "double eyelids" obsession is such a thing that for him to not get the surgery was a big deal. But I don't suppose that's in any way his fault.

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