Now that you’ve been introduced to some Chinese quirks- matching clothes, squatting, and tiny, tiny chairs– I think you are ready to learn about the weirdest quirk of all: The Exposed Belly. To participate in the “Exposed Belly,” you must fulfill a few key requirements:
1. You must be Asian.
2. You must be a man.
3. You must pat your stomach every so often.
4. You must be middle-aged or older.**
5. You must be overweight or have a pronounced gut.**
**These two requirements are not “technically” requirements, but they do tend to give the image a much stronger appeal. However, I have seen teenage boys also engage in the “Exposed Belly.” Looking back, I realize they were also the ones who were skinny as well, so this is the only case I’ve seen that has been an exception to the rule.
Now, the “Exposed Belly” can be spotted at any point during your stay in China. Although the prime conditions for an “Exposed Belly” sighting would be in an outdoors area when the temperature is high, exposed bellies can make an appearance at any time. Unfortunately for you, this sight became such a common occurrence for me in China that I took it for granted and photographed it minimal times. So you must believe me when I say these exposed bellies are everywhere. However, you only have this one photograph and my word.
I must warn you- as funny as this action is, it is also quite addicting. I have glanced down while innocently meandering through my house to find that my shirt has been rolled up ever-so-slightly and that I am in the process of rubbing my stomach! Oh yes, it might look funny, but it sure does cool you off… so those old Chinese men might be on to something.