This post is going to be kind of out there. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
So I tend to get into these phases where I obsess over something and will research everything to do with it and tire everyone around me by talking about it nonstop. You lucky people are next!
Lately I’ve been obsessively watching 歌仔戲 (Taiwanese Opera) clips on YouTube. Taiwanese Opera is the only art form that originated in Taiwan, and is performed entirely in Taiwanese. It is kinda similar to Beijing Opera (think Farewell My Concubine), but without the screeching. It was most popular in Taiwan during the 80s and early 90s when the operas were broadcast on TV. I grew up watching these with my parents.
I love Taiwanese opera because the stories are so romantically tragic. Like, over the top. I love the clothes, the hairstyles, the singing. Unlike the musicals we’re used to here, there are only a few basic tunes that they use for all the operas. I love them all, but I am partial to the weepy sad ones. I know, I’m pathetic.
In the TV series, the main male roles were mostly played by women. There are male actors, but they’re usually peripheral characters who don’t sing. I’m not sure why, perhaps it is because the movements have to be fluid and graceful, which are more natural to women? I don’t know.
Anyways, watching the videos has led to an odd mini-crush that I’ve developed on one of the singers – a woman who always plays men – when in her male form. I especially love it when (while in male garb) she does typical masculine things like sit with her legs wide apart. Yeah, it’s a confusing crush.
Here are a couple of clips where “he” looks especially — is “cute” the right word here? Even though the quality isn’t great, they’re short and kinda give you an idea of what a Taiwanese opera is like. The tune in the second one is my favorite. In the tragically sad scenes, they slow it down a lot and sing it in a weepy voice.
When I showed these to a friend, she was like, “Which is the guy?” Har har, friend. In the first, the man is the one not wearing pink. In the second, the man is wearing all gold colored clothes. As a man, her gestures are a bit more masculine, though still very graceful, and she uses a lower voice. Her chest is bound and she’s wearing shoes with thick soles to make herself taller. I hope you all know how much I am controlling myself from embedding a ton of videos of this singer.
Has anyone ever crushed on a celebrity and fantasized about some scenario where you meet them and they fall madly in love with you? Yeah, I’m having a hard time with that sort of fantasy involving this singer. It’s not that I wouldn’t be attracted to a woman, it’s just that I’m not particularly attracted to this woman when she is not dressed up like a man. Plus, those clips are from a movie that was filmed 30 years ago. She’s much older now. So basically, I’m only attracted to her dressed as a man in 1981. It doesn’t get more unrequited than that.
At least this is slightly better than when I was crushing on the cartoon version of Prince Zuko. That was just sad. I mean, there was no plausible romantic fantasy with that one. (And really, what is the matter with me? It’s a fantasy, why do I need it to be realistic??)
Anyways, I thought I was a freak until I read that another popular Taiwanese Opera singer, who is a woman and always plays male characters, has tons of female admirers who think she is “the perfect man”. I wonder how they fantasize?