She sashayed down the corridor at the Taipei Airport. Past the Coach store and the lady offering samples of rice wine. She was a life sized kinked up baby doll, all bubblegum pink and lace garters.
From behind, I noticed her raven hair tucked into a miniature Victorian riding hat with a mesh veil. I watched her ankles wobble in the black shoes, matronly if not for the 4- inch stiletto heels.
She was a Cosplay girl. Occasionally, I see others like her in Japan. Sometimes they’re preening in front of tourists. Other times, they’re doing errands around town.
She continued to walk under gate signs past electronic displays and perfume counters.
A businessman coming from the other direction nearly collided with the person in front of him. A trio of older ladies nudged each other and shook their heads. A table of Taiwanese monks hunched over bowls of noodles stopped mid-slurp and turned their heads 180 degrees.
Even I couldn’t take my eyes off her.
We ended up at the same gate.
“Excuse me, may I take your picture?” I asked spontaneously.
“Yes.” She cocked her head to the side, placed her hands in a V framing her face, and curtsied.
“I’m Miss Thailand,” she announced.
“You’re Miss Thailand?”
“No, I’m from Thailand.” She corrected herself.
I desperately wanted to understand the persona.
“Do you wear this everyday?” I asked hoping for insight.
“No, not everyday. Sometimes.”
“Do you always wear pink?” I struggled.
“Yes, always pink.”
I was only getting started when suddenly, her nondescript companion, another woman in ordinary clothes, whom I’d not noticed at all firmly broke in, “Thank you!”
Reddening, I walked away.
I made my way to a seat on the other side of the gate. I searched for a pen in my bag, opened my journal, and started writing.
After a few minutes, I felt a strange sensation and looked up. Standing above was a man, staring down over my shoulder. He was reading what I had just written.
I made eye contact and smiled. I clutched the journal closer to my body and repositioned so that my shoulder blocked his view. From peripheral vision, I saw him adjust, but he remained there, bearing down. I tried to ignore him.
Uncomfortably, I scanned the area around me. Three men were looking in my direction and smirking. I saw a woman elbow her male companion and nod towards me. A group of high school girls nearby giggled, covered their mouths, and looked away.
I was a spectacle by association.
Have you ever unknowingly drawn attention to yourself while traveling or living abroad? What did you do? Tell me about it!