Baby Tall is doing well. She's seven months old, and now that she's been out and about a bit, we've confirmed our worries about something I'll call the 'Mix Myth'. That is, people in Hong Kong generally assume that any child who's a product of one Caucasian and one Chinese parent will grow up to be devastatingly attractive. No matter how grotesque her parents' appearances might be -- and I note I'm speaking entirely for myself, and not on behalf of Mrs Tall, who is growing more heart-stoppingly stunning every day -- a 'mixed' baby is expected to be catwalk-ready in about 15 years or so.
I've heard that this phenomenon is common in some other places, too, but I wonder if it is expressed quite as baldly as it is here. People come up to the Family Tall, and with no hesitation begin discussing the merits of Baby Tall's personal appearance right in front of Mrs Tall and me. So far, I can report the prognosis has generally been favorable, but this isn't necessarily a positive development.
For one thing, it means Baby Tall attracts an inordinate amount of attention. Mom and Dad can handle their irritation with this, but it can't be good for any small child to be fawned over too much.
Next, it creates unrealistic expectations. What if Baby Tall turns out to be just ordinary-looking, which is entirely possible, given her father's lack of photogenic features?
And what happens as she learns to think of herself primarily in terms of her physical appearance, which is already a big enough problem for most of us?
As Baby Tall develops, I'm sure my thoughts on this issue will too, so more later.