Social Experiment: The Tale of Two Profiles

*note I changed the original picture since somebody decided to make it an issue because I photoshop some pictures to make my skin smoother. Due to lighting and some apps yes that can lighten skin. In no way am I ashamed of my true complexion. So ask a question before you make assumptions that I am ashamed of my skin tone*  
It’s bizarro how I am finding everything about my life a social experiment lately.  It is what fueled me to write my latest blog entry. It is what helps me to keep my sense of humor when I am having one of those infamous Bad China Days. 

The Next topic in my Social experiment series tackles online dating in China.  With online dating your picture is what everyone looks at first. I know if a guy doesn’t have a profile picture, I am less likely to read about him. He could have written something that was a beautiful as a Shakespeare sonnet but no picture no read. I am sure that men are doing the same thing with my profile.

  
Online dating is like being a kid in a candy store, so many choices to choose from but many people are selective in their choices. In a candy store I prefer jellybeans and caramel over black licorice.  It is just a choice. 

Online dating is just like that. My social experiment on this began as an accident. When I first came to China I had an online dating profile with OKCupid. My friend met her boyfriend now fiancé in China using OkCupid. I have had mixed results with this website in the past. So I did it I put up my profile. It has been active for 2 years. In 2 years I have had 14 responses to my profile. Oh and 106 views. Of the responses most of them were black men. The views I had a mix of men but mostly black.

  
 In the first profile I am heavier and there are only face shots. I also am wearing my hair in it’s natural state.  My smile and my words in the profiles remain constant. My age changed though. In China there is a stigma about age so I subtracted some years off my age in the first profile. Also I sent out maybe 4 responses that never got answered. 

Once I moved to Hangzhou after my tragic love life ,I decided to  give love another try.  I decided to open my OKCupid profile again.  Well guess what??? I forgot the password!  So I decided to open up a new account. A new account a fresh start. 

  
This profile was born about 3 months ago. So it is very new. I put up my most recent pictures. Well the response was way different. In 3 months I had about 51 men respond to my ad and over 100 views. These statistics are way better than my older profile. The words are  basically the same. I am still a romantic and still an animal lover.

So what could possibly illicit a difference in response?  There is a saying, ” A picture speaks 1000 words.” So yes image is everything. I think it is the differences in how I look. Many physical variables differ between the two profiles, like 60+ pound weightloss and sessions with my flatiron. Also in some pictures I appear lighter than in others. That is due to lightning and maybe some photoshopping skills. However I have a variety of pictures in both profiles.  Location may have also been a variable. However I was getting responses from different areas than where I live in both profiles so this variable probably is not a great enough factor to change the results of this experiment. Someone mentioned that I am more confident and that comes across in a photo. Maybe …. But I don’t see that as I look over my two profiles. I see the same exact expression.

  
Another thing that I noticed was the type of men that responded to me in both profiles. In the first profile it is mostly black men that respond to me. I would say they are all Africans. Many were very polite in their responses. I don’t often reply using the first profile. I only remember it whenever I get an email alert to a message. 

   
The second profile I get responses from a variety of men representing a variety of races. I guess this profile is more man friendly.  Maybe the overall cuteness factor of ChocolateChickinChina revamped is the answer. Maybe it be an unknown like how many licks does it  take to get to the center of Toostie Roll Tootsie Pop. The world may never know.

Social Experiment: The Superficiality of the Chinese Culture

http://youtu.be/NRbtNxf7Cu8

This is part 1 of an ongoing social experiment that I have been conducting since coming to China.  Since my arrival in China I have noticed an ongoing obsession with appearance. It is worse than in The Western World. In the west at least we have a variety of standards that defines beautiful. Here in China not so much. 

  

Their ideal of beauty is so far fetched that not even the average Chinese woman can attain it. So it creates a system of woman going through any means to reach something that in unattainable unless you get plastic surgery. To them beauty is pale white smooth alabaster skin, big doe eyes , slim body( to the extreme) heart shaped face, pointy chin and long straight dark hair. I don’t know many women that look like that that aren’t anime characters.   

They also view Westerners as beautiful but you have to have white skin. Anything that is white is beautiful to them. They even consider white dogs to be cuter than brown and black dogs! So if you are white and slim you are a god or goddess.  It is their culture and it will not change. It is probably the hardest thing to have to face in an Asian country. I have to look in the mirror and tell myself that I am beautiful and not a fat ugly monster.

  

  

It isn’t as bad as when I first came to China. With my Afro textured hair, chocolate complexion and full body, I was the antithesis of their ideal of beauty.  The Chinese didn’t know what to make of me. So I was not treated kindly. I was made fun of and laughed at. This really lowered my already low self esteem. So on the outside I was smiling on the inside I was dying.

Then I begin losing weight and I noticed how people changed. People smiled at me more. They approached me more. Then I began changing my hairstyles. When I wore a wig my coworkers told me I was so pretty and all I needed to do was to lose weight because a boy only looks at a good figure. (Cue eye rolls) 

  

After I hated the falseness of wigs I went back to natural hair. I notice that again my collegues distanced themselves. I had one student that was repelled by my natural hair. Oh and I got parents that complained about my hair. I also had a parent say I was too fat to teach her child. I have students call me fat Laoshi. 

  

I decided to get braids. Well this style was different than the Chinese norms. The kids were fascinated by my hair as were my Chinese friends. They thought it was amazing. This is when I had strangers touch my hair.  They thought my hair was cool and fashionable. It was eccentric. I was also losing a lot of weight at the same. So the Chinese people were very nice to me during this phase. 

  

I got another braided style that was curly and I had black and red braids. I loved it. The Chinese didn’t. This is when I was called Hei Gui on many occasions. One of my more verbal students said my hair was ugly. My coworkers just kept glaring at my hair. One had the gall to ask me if I actually like my hair that way.  That  hair was way too much from their  beauty zone. On a side note, Western men loved the big hair and I got some interest from them. So big sexy hair is a turn on for western men. 

  

Next I got a Brazilian Blowout and I will say this. Big humongous difference to how I am treated. This hair looks more like their hair. So I am more accepted. Not viewed as an oddity anymore. I have noticed more Chinese men checking me out. Also my OKCupid ad is getting way more responses by men of all cultures. Once I put up the straight hair pictures my stock level went up. I think the straight hair enhances my features more. I have two OKCupids profiles. One is an older one where I am heavier and with my natural tightly curled hair.  The other is more recent and I am smaller. My old one only gets an occasional response by African men. 

  

My experiment is not fully complete. I have to see how I am treated here once I hit goal weight . My budding  self esteem might have something to do with how I am getting treated as well. When I first came to China, I never took pictures. I hated looking in the mirror so that attitude may have influenced how others saw me. Now I am selfie goddess and like the me looking back at me in the mirror. That attitude maybe attracting people was well.  So this may actually skew the effects of my experiment. 

Even though China is a superficial society it did give me a swift kick up the arse and was the fuel that I needed to make a well needed change in myself.

http://youtu.be/WiMihRqjbcE

Please click on my YouTube videos, they pertain to the post. 

My Brazilian Keratin Hair Treatment 

***PLEASE NOTE, I CAN NO LONGER WHOLEHEARTEDLY SUPPORT STUDIO EBONY DUE TO PERSONAL REASONS. MY STYLIST INDIA IS WORKING INDEPENDENTLY AND CAN BE REACHED USING WEIXIN. YOU ARE MORE THAN WELCOMED TO FORM YOUR OWN OPINION AND GO TO STUDIO EBONY. I AM IN NO WAY SLAMMING HER BUSINESS. THIS POST IS HIGHLIGHTING INDIA’S WORK. THANK YOU****
The hardest part about living in China as a black woman or a woman with curly hair is what do we do with our hair. Many of the Chinese salons have no clue what to do with Afro textured hair or curly hair. Caucasian friend’s also complain that they can’t get a decent hair color or cut at many Chinese salons. So expats are at a huge disadvantage.  Many of the smaller cities like Hangzhou and Nanchang don’t have expat salons. So where is a Laowai to go???  To the Mecca Shanghai if you live in south China. Other big cities like Beijing, Hong Kong , Shenzhen and Guangzhou also have expats salons.  So my advice if you are a foreigner looking to move to China move in at lease 1-2 hours fast train ride away from a mega Chinese city.

When I lived in Nanchang, I was about 3-4 hours away from Shanghai. So I did my best and tried to care for my hair the best that I could. I am a natural meaning that I do not put chemicals in my hair. I have been a natural for 5 years. It has been a challenge. It especially is a challenge in China. Due to the water and lack of quality products my hair wasn’t looking too pretty.  Also many people mistaked me for a man. So, I wigged it but I never really felt authentic. I was always paranoid that someone would snatch my wig off my hair. Finally I just got braids. I think braids suit me but I noticed some hair loss also I felt fake too. My friend Yllen and Lele already received the keratin treatments and raved about it.

I missed having straight hair. I haven’t had staight hair for 6-7 years. I mostly wore braids in my hair for 2 years prior to embracing my natural Afro textured hair. My hair hates relaxers. My hair would always break off and would look dry and brittle. It never grew past chin length.

Honestly some naturals have beautiful curl patterns and have moisturized locks. That isn’t true for me. My hair was dry and frizzy.  I tried all the methods too. To no avail. The amount of time and the type of products were not available in China or were but very expensive. So after I saw the wonderful results of Lele, I decided that I had to get it done.

I made the trek from Hangzhou Dong to Shanghai Hongqiao station. It was about a 45 minute trip. Then I I took the 10 line to South Shaanxi exit. I had to follow the signs for 1 line go outside and then enter the 1 station to find exit 4. I know very confusing!! Shout out to my girl Yllen that stayed on the phone with my lost arse even though she was busy at work. I have zero sense of direction. I need a Gps chip to be installed in my brain!!

So I finally found Studio Ebony, it is in an apartment complex. If you want to go there email me and I will have Yllen give you directions. I was 15 minute late for my appointment.  I met India , who is also an American expat like me. In fact she is a fellow New Yorker. A Brooklyn girl! It was so nice to hear her slight New York accent. I don’t meet many New York expats.

India in an awesome stylist. She is very knowledgeable in her trade and extremely professional. In fact during every phase of The Brazilian Keratin Treatment (BKT) she explained each part of the process. This was a first with me. Even in the USA, I never had a stylist do that. India has about 20 years experience. She worked in a salon in Manhattan.

 

Phase One

India examined my hair and damage level. I have not really have taken care of my hair since coming to China.  I kinda ignored Bathsheba( my hair) and hid her.  Due to the thickness of my hair I had to pay more because it would take more time and product. This I am use to that , I take after The McDowells we have thick heads of hair!

India washed my hair with sulfate free shampoo. Then she blew it out with a hairdryer and a brush. I am amazed when I see stylist do that. It was longer than I thought!

 I

Phase Two

Then she put the keratin in my hair. Keratin is an amino acid and is not a chemical like a relaxer. So it is an all natural  protein. I sat with the keratin in my hair for a bit. She  rinsed my hair and blew it out.  I noticed that my hair texture was looser but Afro textured India explained that high heat is required to seal in the keratin and make the hair straight. Omg I was so overwhelmed when I saw how long and straight my hair was! I had to hold  back the tears. I kept repeating “Is this my hair? Is this my hair?” The length and the straightness was never acheived like that with a relaxer. I felt my scalp!!!! I was able to run my fingers through my hair. to a black girl this is such any amazing experience. Oh and the length. I have never seen it.

India explained that due to hair damage and split ends she would have to cut. She told me that she was planning to do an elongated bob. She only took and inch and a half off.  I was so scared my hair would be very short. I had so much shrinkage that I had no clue to my hair’s true length.

Phase Three

 

After the cut India applied another part of the Keratin treatment that would add shine and strengthen my hair. It smelled really good. India told the keratin product  line  she used was called Sweet Hair. I sat with the product on my hair then it was rinsed. My curl pattern was even looser it was maybe a 3b/c.  That front was even straighter. It was so easy and quick for her to blowout my hair. Then she did the final flatiron. Wow the shine and it felt so soft. I could barely recognize myself. It was the first time since coming to China that I felt beautiful. the Chinese men that saw me reaffirmed that. I got hey baby looks and not what is that looks. The best the was the wind blew my hair and it went back into place.  At home I was in front of the mirror and did the “white girl” hair flip and singing “I Feel Pretty” from Westside Story.

  

  

Upkeep

Everytime I wash my hair I have to use sulfate free shampoo and conditioner. I also have to blowout on high heat and use a flatiron. Since Oreo ate the cord to the flatiron that I bought from the U.S. I bought one from Studio Ebony it is from Japan and it was the same one India used on me. For naturals using high heat was a big no no but with the keratin process it is essential to unlock the straightening agent. Also with a keratin the more you get it the straighter it becomes. So I am a convert and love my hair,

  

If you are in the vicinity of Shanghai I strongly recommend coming Studio Ebony. So if you live in Zheijiang, Jiansu , Jiangxi, or Anhui province it is well worth the trip on the fast train. Ask for India she is the best. She specializes in all hair types.

http://www.studio-ebony.com

Here is India’s weixin