I'd like to present a definition of celebrity, courtesy of that bastion of knowledge, Wikipedia: A celebrity is a widely-recognized or famous person who commands a high degree of public and media attention.
I'd like to present a definition of Anonymous Celebrity, courtesy of moi: An anonymous celebrity is a widely-recognized, yet nameless person who commands a high degree of public staring and is sometimes approached on the street by strangers and instead of being asked for an autograph, is kindly asked to "please very much dialogue with my daughter." This person is only known by sight and is never understood intimately by the public, due to the lack of in-depth interviews with journalists and the as-of-yet nonexistent English teacher paparazzi (unless you count the countless pictures on the Haba Playschool picture gallery that only parents are privy to).
As I have stated before, people know me. It's easy to recognize me because I'm a breathtaking specimen of ChubbO, not often sighted around these parts of the world. So, if I hop into the Family Mart almost every day for a chocolate milk and a breakfast pastry, the guy behind the counter is going to notice. The young guy who works there speaks enough English to tell me my total is one thousand four hundred and fifty won instead of 천 사 백 오 십 원. Now, I'm sure there are also a few Koreans who work the Fam. into their morning routine, and I'm also sure that Mart Man remembers some of them. But because I'm so obviously white and English-speaking, and there's only one of me (not counting my blonde British colleague, Meghan, whom Mart Man is also on familiar terms with) he knows who I am. Despite my insistence on speaking Korean to him, he always speaks in English to me.
Now, yesterday, I wore my hair down to school for the first time. Because I usually don't drag my chubb out of bed on time, I shower quickly and throw the brunette locks into a wet ponytail or doody ball, as my sister so endearingly calls the messy bun I sometimes sport. But yesterday I had open classes, the ones where all the moms come and watch their kids, making sure they're worshipping learning English quickly and with as much fervor as possible. So, I decided to spice things up a bit by forgoing the wet ponytail.
Today, I did not have open class, so I was back to the regular "didn't have time to shower so threw on this headband and a clean t-shirt to fool you" look. I walk into the Family Mart, slap my milk and pastry onto the counter. Our dialogue is exactly the same as every other day. Up until I'm stuffing my pastry and milk into my purse after my wallet so I can hold my umbrella as I walk the rest of the way to school. He says something I don't catch while holding his hands up to the side of his head and then sort of spreading his fingers and waving them downwards, like he's trying to mimic a peacock's feathers. I don't have time to say anything in response because my facial expression has shouted to him that I don't understand. He repeats himself, "Out hair much better." I say, "Um?" thinking he's talking about outside air being much fresher or something because the door to the shop is propped open today. I begin to think it's about time to do the whole smile, annyanghaseyo, walk away routine when he does his sign language again, and repeats "Out. Hair. Much. Much. Better." (See? Sometimes it does help when you talk to foreigners slower and louder.) I laugh and say thanks as I turn to grab my umbrella and head out into the rain.
Mart Man likes my hair down. It's "Much. Much. Better" that way, apparently. Although it made me feel good that he thought I looked nice yesterday, the double "much" stung a little. But then I got in the elevator with the mirror and realized he was right. The clean t-shirt isn't fooling anyone.