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Blondes Have More Fun

Blondes Have More Fun

September 12, 2011

There are massive benefits to being a tall, blonde, white expat living in India.

Anyone who has ever lived abroad or travelled outside their home country knows that sometimes it is simply impossible to avoid standing out.  India is not the first foreign country I have lived in.  I was born in L.A. and raised in Southern California.  As an adult, I have lived in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico for a summer, then off and on for 18 years I lived in a small Spanish village on the Mediterranean Sea called Sitges, which is located just south of Barcelona…and since April, 2011 I am now living in Bangalore, India.  Those are all pretty diverse locations, so I hope you’ll trust me when I say that I stand out more in Bangalore than I have anywhere else I have lived.

Standing out to the extent that I do is actually a very interesting thing to experience on a day-to-day basis.  Now I am certainly not complaining, so don’t get me wrong.  I knew that I was moving to India and I did have some idea about what that meant.  But I didn’t expect to feel quite as “alien” as I really do so much of the time.  I thought that maybe wearing traditional clothes might help me blend in but sadly that didn't work!  I ADORE wearing a sari (have bought two and looking for excuse to wear 2nd one soon!) but the one time I wore a sari for a wedding it just made people stare even more for some reason.

First off, everyone stares.  EVERYONE.   From cute little kids and grandmas in saris or burkas to teens and generally the majority of the men.  It doesn’t make me uncomfortable in the sense that I feel unsafe, but it is an odd thing to have zero possibility to blend in.  Here in India, for the most part, I am a gigantic blonde alien!  Of course I'm a friendly alien but still…. :-)

Let’s start with my size.  I literally TOWER over roughly 60% of the people here in India.  That is a huge chunk of the population!!  Close your eyes and imagine that for one second.  Then there is another 20% of people who I am simply taller than but not by as much.  And the other 20% are men (and a few women) who inherited the tall gene and are actually – thankfully – taller than me.  This is the opposite experience I had in northern European countries like Holland or Sweden, where I actually felt VERY SHORT there.   It’s a very interesting thing to be this much taller than most men.  And in my opinion, they don’t care in the least.  I love the macho, macho Indian men for that.  Of course, I could be wrong but I don’t think so.

Now on to my hair.  In India, the women typically all have amazingly lustrous, long, gorgeous thick heads of dark hair.  I am so jealous and wish my hair was even half as thick and stunning as these women but I was born with very fine, very thin blonde hair that stayed very blonde until my late 20s or early 30s when I stopped spending so much time in the sun, so now I add highlights to it at the salon.  It was easy to stay almost white blonde as a girl in L.A. because I was constantly playing outside, or hanging out at the beach or at the river with my Dad who had a boat and loved camping.  Then as a teen in SoCal we spent so much time at our friends’ pools (one year my hair even turned green from the chlorine!  Now that did suck!!).  Then I owned a couple of Jeep Wranglers in Cali, moved to beach towns in Mexico and Spain… anyway, you get the picture.  I am blonde.  I think that if I had dark hair I would blend in a bit better here, regardless of my facial features and skin.  But there is no way in hell I am dying my hair because I love being a blonde.

And last but not least my skin sets me apart.  I sometimes joke that I am almost Smurf-like …so white that I am blue because you can see all of my veins.  But it is really interesting for me because I have always been quite tan because of the places that I lived and the amount of time I spend in the sun and in a bikini.  I really LIKE to be tan but I am finding it impossible to actually get tan here in Bangalore.  First, there are no UV tanning salons here, or at least I haven’t found one.  In the U.S. and Europe there are tanning salons in every town.  You strip down naked, go into a booth that has UV bulbs, select some music so you’re not bored, turn on the built-in fan to combat the heat, hit the START button and in just 5-10 minutes you have “safely” tanned just a bit.  I would even be happy to find tanning creams but still no joy.  And of course there is the “old school” lying out but for the first time in my life I don’t live by the ocean or sea.  And I can’t lay out by the pool here at my flat yet because I only have bikinis and was told that I should not lay out in a bikini here.  NOT because it is prohibited but because I might feel uncomfortable with people staring, which is a fair observation.  So what do I do?  This is really a funny dilemma, and obviously not a really important one, but I would still like to get tan again without having to hit the pool at a 5 star hotel or fly to Goa.

My looks have played a huge role in my life in India so far.  Although it’s wrong on so many levels, there are massive BENEFITS to being a tall, blonde, white girl living here in Bangalore:

  • Aside from a couple of freelance projects through a friend, I can definitely say that my looks have played a role in the professional opportunities I have in India.  The first company I worked for here was candid in saying that they wanted to give an ‘international’ feel to their executive team.  I was only with them a couple of months, in the end it wasn’t a good fit.  Since then my looks have definitely helped me to land a couple of my freelance PR and marketing projects because the owners of the companies were Indian men who made obvious overtures, which is not fun to deal with on a constant basis believe me.  I am sure my looks also played a role in scoring my new job in cricket as media spokesperson for the Karnataka Premier League.  Again, I’m not complaining but it would be nice to think that things really didn’t work this way.


  • Although I find this VERY unfair and incorrect, when I walk into a shop someone almost always comes up to attend to me immediately, even walking away from other customers already inside.  It’s embarrassing and I always say that I will wait my turn but the shop keepers rarely listen.  Sadly, I suppose shop owners think they have better chances at a big sale with me than their Indian customer.


  • This might seem like an odd benefit but there are a significant number of men constantly trying to make my acquaintance.  I know this is due to the reputation that white girls have for being easy but to be honest this makes being single much more fun in India than it ever was in Spain.  In Spain, my last date was December, 2009…I never found anyone really interesting to date but to be honest I was rarely approached by men there either.  However, in India when I am out on the town with friends, I am approached on average twice a night by someone trying to ask me out.  At first I was really flattered but now it just bugs the hell out of me because I know that 99% of the guys are just trying to get lucky with a white girl.  In the past five months I have only said yes to a date with two men but both were very handsome and it turns out that both are highly successful at what they do, although I had no idea who they were nor how successful they were until after our first date when I Google'd them (one is in entertainment, the other a sportsman)...they were both gentlemen and we've stayed friends.  It’s a nice twist in fate to be a hot commodity for a change, especially at the age of 40 when I rather thought things would start to turn bleak.


I know I’ve got it good in India but that’s not why I love living here thankfully…though it definitely adds to my experience.  I’m looking forward to finding more and more benefits of my alien status as time goes on. 

25 Comments

  • No
    By
    No
    16.06.13 05:38 AM
    I don't think white chicks are hotter than Indian chicks at all. 90 percent of white chicks is average looking, without a decent ass, ruddish skin, and a very pointy face.

    White women are definitely not as hot as white men make them out to be. Most are awfully average, completely unnoticable. Boring. Bland.

    I find Indian women, especially the ones up North, better looking.
  • Adam
    By
    Adam
    08.10.12 09:14 AM
    Staring at foreigners that is. I don't have anything against Indian chicks or Indians in general. But let's face it. Indian women are not typically the best looking out there. Minus the actresses which is much less than 1% of the population
  • Adam
    By
    Adam
    08.10.12 09:11 AM
    White chicks are generally hotter than Indian chicks. I'm guessing that's why. Hell I'd probably be staring if I had nothing but Indian chicks around me 24/7
  • PK
    By
    PK
    24.02.12 11:16 PM
    I am an Indian, n really dont care if the girl is blonde or not... who show they cares are the one who think blonde`s can be bed easily...(sorry for that, but its truth, western`s/white`s are unfortunately seen easy, cause of their over friendly nature)
    What matter to most Indians (when they marry or have gf) is women who is serious, cultured and loving...
    My wife is white n blonde n blue eyed... which i never cared for...
  • Angela Carson
    By
    Angela Carson
    29.09.11 06:24 PM
    Somehow I have missed the comments since around the 17-September, my bad!

    @Barnaby and NRI - how can I help in the quest for Barnaby's return? Keep me posted :-)

    @Anonymous - Great additional information to have on hand, thanks so much for taking the time to concisely comment. Really appreciate it.

    @Deepak - Thanks so much for the kind words, hope you'll keep reading my blog. With respect to the looks, I actually don't mind the staring at all because most people will smile if we make eye contact. It's never made me feel in danger, much different to Ashley's experience. People are simply curious about me so it really doesn't bother me at all.
  • Deepak
    By
    Deepak
    29.09.11 05:46 PM
    I enjoyed reading your blog. I can understand how it feels when everyone stares at you. I live in Germany and the staring practice exists here too.. Whenever i step into a restaurant or get inside a train or a bus, i can see all German eyes staring at me and makes me feel uncomfortable. But i can imagine that the staring in India would be more harsh...
  • A Singh
    By
    A Singh
    28.09.11 11:48 PM
    Anonymous's assessment is spot on. I am a punjabi with a lot of family in Delhi, but also have relatives in Mumbai, Pune and Kolkata. Kolkata (or Cal as I still like to call it) has emerged as my favourite city in all of India.
  • Anonymous
    By
    Anonymous
    28.09.11 10:31 PM
    Angela angela,

    Got to mention a few things.

    - A sari will make you (any foreigner) stick out if it is NOT a formal occasion. It is a formal outfit. Try salwar kameezes (say a completely white one) and maybe indian 'western' outfits like gypsy skirts in general occasions. Looks like you and angela are making the same mistake - you are trying the most formal 'aunty' clothes.

    - The most dangerous places for women in india are: Delhi, Benares, Haridwar. I agree, Delhi is the rape capital of india. I feel apologetic for the horrifying experience faced by Ashley. Delhi operates on a completely different logic that other indians need to learn. People move around in tight groups there. I would not go there.

    - Places in india that are not as horrifying: those that have a decent mix of education, commerce, generic safety and education, in that order. Poona, Mumbai, Kolkata (my city with NO staring in a place of commerce) - bad behavior is in crowded local trains and crowded local buses though, Steel townships, and other small business hubs. Kerala, Tamil Nadu maybe high in 'education' but low in commerce and has a poor track record regarding 'touching and feeling up'. A sad state of affairs.

    I feel bad for Ashley having had to go to old Delhi of all places.
  • The NRI
    By
    The NRI
    17.09.11 04:10 PM
    Oh, apparently I was wrong...
  • The NRI
    By
    The NRI
    17.09.11 04:06 PM
    @Angela – Barnaby is already working hard on a plan to return to India. He certainly does not need to be enticed any further with the temptation of being hit on by attractive Indian women offering free beer:)
  • Barnaby Haszard Morris
    By
    Barnaby Haszard Morris
    17.09.11 03:42 PM
    WOW, okay, then it's settled - you must help this happen to me if I ever make it back to Bangalore!
  • Angela Carson
    By
    Angela Carson
    17.09.11 03:05 PM
    @Barnaby - hey thanks so much!!! Very kind of you to comment. And YES I think it would cause a stir. I have a Canadian mate in Bangalore who has similar features to you and it was AWESOME the last time we went out -- I was so proud -- because a cute Indian girl had taken a fancy to him and had the bartender send him a beer that she bought! Things are changing in India I think :-) Cheers, ange
  • Barnaby Haszard Morris
    By
    Barnaby Haszard Morris
    16.09.11 08:15 AM
    I do enjoy your blog, Angela, so it's great to have you on board here. Great to hear that you're enjoying life in India.

    I wonder, if you and I hit the town together in Bangalore, whether the universe would implode due to an excess of staring?
  • Angela Carson
    By
    Angela Carson
    16.09.11 03:16 AM
    Hey Crisi, I haven't touched U.S. soil in a decade and I only watch sports for the cocktails at the bar :-) Sorry, trust me when I say that I am not your source for where too see American sports games but good luck there!
    ...and come on! Asking for a tanning salon is not even close to the shit that happens in the US like the botox boom, augmenting lips and boobs, chemical peels, implants for guys, etc. Americans deserve whatever stereotypes we have in my opinion :-(
    Email me at angelabangalore (at) gmail (dot) com when you come in if I can help with anything. Would be happy to help out. cheers, ange
  • Crisi
    By
    Crisi
    15.09.11 10:31 PM
    Angela, Angela, Angela.. your not helping the stereotype of us Americans. A tanning booth in India? Is that not like asking for an icemaker in Alaska. Tell you what.. if you can find a place where us expats go to watch re runs of US football games, I'll bring you a supply of tanning cream. I'll be in Bangalore next month on a project. Cheers, Crisi
  • Angela Carson
    By
    Angela Carson
    15.09.11 09:45 PM
    @Vinod, thanks so much!
    @Priya - yeah, the first time I looked at wedding adverts "for fun" in the paper and then online I was pretty shocked at how blatently some of the ads specified skin tone. It's also a bit strange to me that there are loads of dark MALE Indian film stars but I can't recall seeing many darker skinned women. I don't think it's right...
    @Sandy - you are really sweet to comment so kindly. Truth be told, when I see someone who looks really different I'll look too but I do try to do it discreetly :-) Not really the Indian way, hehe
  • sandy
    By
    sandy
    15.09.11 02:48 PM
    its a simple case of people not being told when they were five that 'dont stare its rude!' believe me no indian mom tells her kids that, and so we react like kids confronted with alienness. i love the way you are taking it positively and yet are quite bland and matter-of-fact about the whole racial stereotypes. And ashley-thats not India- thats North India, and more specifically Delhi.Next time come to Mumbai or bangalore.
  • priya
    By
    priya
    15.09.11 10:00 AM
    @Angela:
    The fact that white skin rules over anything in India cannot be overlooked. This is not only with foreigners, but among Indians too. Have you seen any of the matrimonial ads(yea such a thing exists in India)where they seek 'fair' girls for their unmarried sons? Its hilarious...Enjoy your stint in India.
  • Vinod
    By
    Vinod
    14.09.11 10:42 AM
    Great review !!
  • Angela Carson
    By
    Angela Carson
    12.09.11 08:24 PM
    @Alfred ... hahhaha omg I can hear the hillbilly accent through the comment post :-) I used to spend summers in Georgia (next door) and met so many people like that. Good call on the map drawing, we Americans are not famous for knowing where anything is outside the U.S. Thanks for your comment, I really don't mind the looks since (unlike others) I just feel that people are being curious and I am not in any danger. And YES, my meetings take place in the KSCA private offices and include the big boys running it as well as the owners of all the teams. It's a fun gig :-) --angela
  • Alfred Jones
    By
    Alfred Jones
    12.09.11 08:08 PM
    Angela,

    Kudos to you on the wholly positive attitude in dealing with your alienness out there in B'lore.

    India is yet to adopt the don't-stare-at-people social more on a large scale simply because most of us weren't taught that in our formative years. Those of that relocate to places where staring is unacceptable do adapt quickly, e.g. here in the US.

    As an expat Indian living in the US I've had my occasional share of being stared at. My first consulting gig out in Alabama was an interesting case in point. One of the guys came up to me and asked, "What are you, boy?". I didn't know enough about US history at the time to pick up on the loaded meaning of the term "boy". Instead, I pulled out a napkin, drew a map of the world and showed them where I was from. No harm done, no hard feelings all around.

    ~alfred

    PS: As the spokesperson for KPL do you get to hobnob with The Big Boys at all, e.g. Dravid, Kumble etc?
  • Angela Carson
    By
    Angela Carson
    12.09.11 06:32 PM
    @Ashley - I am so sorry to hear about your experience, sort of puts me off Delhi now to be honest. Unless there is a better reason, I suppose Bangalore is simply a different to other cities because of the large number of tech companies and expats here. My friends and my driver have basically set rules I promised to abide by like no walking about after dark on my own, don't exit the car in dodgy areas (let my driver hop out and run into shop for me), etc...pretty COMMON SENSE stuff for them but things that were impossible for me to know upon arrival from Barcelona. Hope your next visit is drastically different for you...

    @Keri - The article was written as an overview of my experience on "what it's like for me being a tall, blonde, female living in Bangalore" (the original title more or less) but I think the last minute title change to shorten it and make it saucier gives a different expectation to the article. I adore living in Bangalore, and love the ample career opportunities before me and silly things like having more dating options here than my past 8 years in Barcelona. What I don't like is when benefits are offered to me unfairly -- simply because of my appearance and not on merit.
  • A Singh
    By
    A Singh
    12.09.11 11:37 AM
    @Ashley - welcome to Delhi, rape capital of India. It's probably no consolation to you that even Indian women are worse of there than other metro cities in India
  • Keri
    By
    Keri
    12.09.11 10:41 AM
    I'm sorry, I don't get the point of this article...do you like the benefits or not?
  • Ashley
    By
    Ashley
    12.09.11 07:46 AM
    Yeh, so I couldn't disagree more! I am also a blonde, white American girl who, though just average height in the USA, stands much taller in India. My husband is from India (New Delhi). Last year we went to Delhi for his sister's wedding. I stayed for five weeks. Two weeks into my trip I'd had enough! I had been to 7 other countries, including Thailand, Japan, Germany, Honduras and Mexico where I didn't blend in very well (with the exception of Germany of course- the whole blonde hair, blue eyes bit helped me blend in considerably!). In all of these countries I had become accustomed to the stares from EVERYONE as you mentioned, but I never felt threatened. After a while I stopped noticing it. But in India.....it was IMPOSSIBLE to ignore! I also tried wearing the traditional clothes. I tried covering my hair with shawls, hats, and putting it up in a bun. I wore sun glasses, long sleeves, and everything you can imagine, but it was of no use! For the first time I actually felt threatened! The first few times we tried going anywhere I would be accosted by groups of men. They would literally try to grab me and pull me into their group! Family members had to literally walk on each side of me, as well as in front and behind me to keep me from being grabbed. I couldn't go to the mall at all, or to the market to shop. The only solace I found outside of my in-laws flat was at "Mocha", a hookah lounge where westerners were not unknown to frequent. My husband hadn't even expected it to be as bad as it was. In other countries I had become comfortable enough with strangers reaching out their hands to touch my arm or hair as I walked by. As creepy and odd as that sounds, it was never threatening or violent in any sense. But in India I was actually scared. My husband and his family finally insisted that I didn't leave the flat until after the wedding was over. Afterwards, we finally got he opportunity to leave Delhi and see some of the sites like the Taj Mahal in Agra, and the pink city of Jaipur. Those areas were much better. Although the staring never stopped, and it wasn't uncommon to be asked for a photograph with a stranger (which I usually obliged), at least people generally kept their distance. I am actually very nervous about going back to India again. I always enjoyed every country I'd ever been to before, and usually shed a tear or two when it was time to leave. But I was all too eager to depart India! My stomach churns over the knowledge that I will have to return next year for a cousin's wedding. Although I'm excited to see family members that I grew very fond of during our last trip, I'm also wary of reliving any of the past experiences.

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