Asians and beards - is this a cultural thing?

I’ve been allowing my goattee to get long lately, now I can just barely get the hair on my chin to reach my eye. I shaved off my moustache for hygienic reasons, so all I have left is a long but somewhat thin beard.

In the last few weeks two different Asian women I come into contact with have made comments on my beard while giggling, one commenting on how long it is. A third Asian woman at the deli gave me extra pastrami (added it to the order after weighing it) and kept staring at my beard, although maybe by now I’m starting to assume that all Asian women are staring at my beard for various reasons.

What the hell does this mean? I’m sorry I don’t know more about the ancestry of the women in question, they could be Vietnamese, Korean, Chinese, I’m not sure. All of them seem to speak English as a second language (judging from accent) and they seem to range in age from app. 30 to maybe 50 or so. Does a long stringy beard mean something to middle aged Asian immigrants?

Dunno, but many, if not most, Asian men have little or no facial hair…


I read in the Culture Shock! Thailand book that the Thai women consider beards as the sign of old men exclusively. Since old people are venerated in East Asian culture, that means she was showing respect for your advanced age by giving you extra. However, there go your chances of getting a date.

Tell that to a sikh.

Maybe they think you are Uncle Ho.

You’re right - I should have said “east Asian.”


Hmm, maybe they just think it’s funny seeing the beard of an old and/or scholarly man on a big white 30 year-old. I don’t know, but it sure is weird.

Important, if tangential, point. To Americans, Asian implies Japan/China/Korea, etc. People from India are Indian. To the British, Asian implies India/Pakistan/Sri Lanka, etc. People from the Far East are Oriental.

I’m assuming we’re talking about the “Oriental” type of “Asian” here.

See the many previous threads… I agree that in the UK, “Asian” pretty universally implies Indian, Pakistani, etc, but we don’t all call East Asians “Oriental”.

The word “Oriental” is sorta taboo here in the states. We’re kinda dumb here, apparently…


Hmmm. I’ve never encountered anyone who considered “Oriental” taboo. But I do live in the south and each region has its own taboos. Maybe the west coast considers it taboo?

I do know that “Chink” is taboo though.

Didn’t some of the images of Chinese emperors show men with very long, pointed beards?

Also, perhaps if most oriental/east asian men can’t/don’t grow beards, it’s an extra novelty for the women to see someone who has?

Maybe it’s a generational thing; upon reflection, I’ve heard it mostly from British men over 40.