Thursday, March 20, 2008

#3 The Immigrant Smile

At some point in every Asian's life, there will be a time to use the "immigrant smile," the "happy smile," or better known as the, "no prollem, I do for you!" smile. Most often, the smile is used when closing a business transaction or to gloss over unfamiliar or uncomfortable subjects such as the existence of taxes or "hei ren" (will be explained in the next blog).To Asians on the street level, the smile means, "I have no idea what the fuck you just said, but I can already smell your money."

To others, the smile indicates "understanding" or "agreement" but this definition is fleeting. Once the business transaction is finished, the outsider will look into his bag, package, hand, etc and realize, that they did not get what they bargained for. Many times, you'll get a purple shirt instead of a white one, a bull's penis on a stick instead of a hot dog, or perhaps a Custom Jamie Buckle with your name spelled JAMEI. Those living on Canal between Mott and Elizabeth find time for this activity daily, while domesticated Asians employ the tactic less frequently. But, although less frequent, the immigrant smile is a very powerful tool in the sterilized jungle known as Corporate America.

Frequently, the immigrant smile is used on Friday afternoon's with a slightly different definition than the street version and, according to gender, there are variations as well. When co-workers approach Asians around 4pm about taking off early and heading to happy hour, Asian women will employ the immigrant smile and say "sure" or "no problem". Used in this context, the smile means "ooooh, he's so cute, but my grandma would have an anneurism.... I should really focuse on my TPS Reports. Woman Warrior, Woman Warrior!" On the other hand, Asian men being approached to participate in happy hour will use the immigrant smile as well. Translation: "I hope you get wasted, do something inappropriate, and I get your job! HAHAHAHA, America, the Golden Mountain! I Ruv!"Both smiles are understood by the co-worker as acceptances of happy hour invitations, but rest assured, no Asians will show. There's gold in them thar cubicles!

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