Speaking of appearances, this midwestern-born Jew is finding it nearly impossible to blend in here in Southeastern America. I have two stories regarding this.
Upon my arrival in the airport, a very friendly young woman with long blonde hair and high bangs came up to me to chat about my cat. She just loves kitties. She's got four at home. And when she found out I was teaching at the local private university, she got very excited. You see, her father was an electrician there, and she and her sister were the first staff children allowed to attend. She was very proud of this. It was pretty cool, actually. Then she said to me, "So, you'll be teaching Spanish, right?" When I said no, I'd be teaching Renaissance English literature, she said "Oh, good for you!" as if I had pulled myself up even farther than she had, which made me oddly both embarassed and angered.
Second story. A few days later, I'm sitting in the bank opening up an account. And the woman who is handling it is another excessively friendly woman with bright blonde hair (no high bangs this time; white collar background). And she gets really excited because she looks at my birthdate and we're the same age, born in the same month. And then she gets even more excited because I live in the neighborhood and she just moved here too! Well, we'll have to be neighbhors! Then she decides that she just has to try to set me up with her friend, a pharmacologist. Because he's really nice, and she thinks I would really like him and she just knows he would like me: his name is Vikram and he's been looking for a nice Indian girl for a while.
I decided to let her down easy. "You see," I said, "I teach Spanish . . ."