Ask Ava: Staring You Right in the Face


Dear Miss A Hart,


I think I’ve finally reached my breaking point. I just cannot handle the attention I get anymore. If it’s not my “small” face or nose, it’s my curly hair or white skin. Seriously, I try to tan, I really do! I’m a total addict to self-tanning lotion at home, it’s just impossible to get out here, so I’m back to my natural sickly white with freckles. I try to forget it, but people will. not. stop. talking. about. it! To make it worse I swear every time I get a free sample at a drug store it’s whitening lotion – I do NOT need to be any paler! This is something I’ve been dealing with since high school where everyone was blonde and tanned. I thought coming here would be an improvement and I’d feel super bronzed in comparison. Apparently not. Sure, they see it as a compliment when they mention things about my looks, but why won’t people stop commenting on something that makes me feel so insecure?!

This weekend was the worst. I was out at a park, soaking in some rays, trying to take the edge off the white, when I noticed a man taking photos of me. It’s happened before and usually it doesn’t bother me too much, but when I got up and had a walk the guy actually followed me. True, he was always a good ten meters away, using his zoom, but still! It was just so obvious – couldn’t he have asked or something?

Where I come from no one would look twice if you had blue hair, I just don’t know how to act when people react so strongly to how I look. Please help me Ava.



Ticked off in Tanba



Dear Ticked,


You have my most sincere sympathies. I myself turn heads with every step; it’s always been that way and can be a real bore. Take solace, however, and be thankful for the lack of tacky wolf-whistling and horn-honking which can follow one in other, louder countries. In Japan, at least for the most part, admirers are more subtle in their appreciation of exotic charms.

On the rare occasion I find myself without my chauffeur and deign to take public transport (one must test the system now and again), I rather enjoy a game of stare-attack. Whenever I catch someone marvelling at me I take it upon myself to return the favour and consider, very carefully and lengthily, one aspect of said person’s own visage. The resulting patting down of hair or checking of their nose in the mirror is quite rewarding, I find.

In your particular situation I would have been outraged. For someone to take a photograph without permission or my signing a release form would be quite intolerable. I advise that the next time this occurs you accost the persona non grata at once and demand suitable reimbursement for your role as model and/or access to the images. Who knows “foreign girl sleeping in garden” could make for a rather elegant coffee table book or drawing room centre piece.



Ava Hart



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