Saturday, February 4, 2006

Open Letter to Cosmopolitan Magazine

Feb 2006 Cosmo Asian Character Tattoo

Dear Cosmopolitan,

We need to talk.

Over the years, I really appreciated how your magazine and team of experts have taught millions of women how to properly perform fellatio and enjoy the soothing sensation of anal intercourse.

I am surprised to find in your latest issue, you claimed that if a man has an “Asian character tattoo”:

This stud craves mystery in his life, so expect surprises, whether it's a last-minute getaway or an out-of-the-box erotic move. “Since few will know the translation of his chosen character, he relishes the opportunity to explain the hidden meaning behind it," says Green. "He uses the symbol to give people insight into his personality and what he's all about."

Are you f*cking kidding me?

Obviously you have been cooped up inside your office for too long, over-dosing on the complementary chocolates from Godiva, but please do take a look of my site and perhaps read through some of the “Asian character tattoo” owners’ stories…

By the way, there are over a dozen countries in the Asia continent. Most of them have their own writing scripts. What you would call “Asian characters” is actually “Chinese characters”.

Perhaps you could add this tip into your next issue, so we men would not stereotype majority of your female readers as sex objects but human beings with some intelligence.

ps. Will "donut hole" be featured in your next issue?




  1. ROTFLMAO!! I hope you really sent them a copy of this letter.

    Somehow though, I doubt they will respond.

  2. Gordon,

    I did sent them a short verion via their "Write to Us" page including a link to my site. Hopefully someone from the magazine will read it.

  3. Out of curiosity, what does the pictured character translate to in English?

  4. Aaron,

    愛 means "love". Unoriginal and cliche. There is nothing "mysterious" about it, he is just another TOOL.

  5. Having read your entry, now
    I feel that I'd wasted my money over the years buy that magazine.

    Hopefully, someone from Comso would reply to you because I'm
    interested in what they have to say.

  6. Great letter. Har har. So a guy with a Chinese character is mysterious. But what if he shows up with Hangul?

    Anyway, here are a couple of the so-called "Asian character tattoos":

    Anyone want to take a crack at figuring them out?

  7. that just shows you how mainstream Anglo culture still has conditioned racism toward "other" cultures. (which are probably more developed than Anglo culture)

  8. so we men would not stereotype majority of your female readers as sex objects but human beings with some intelligence.

    Actually, Cosmo fans probably don't count as 'human beings with some intelligence', unfortunately. they didn't have this article in the Hong Kong edition of Cosmogirl.

  9. For God's sake! I'm relieved I never bought Cosmopolitan.

    I just discovered your blog. I've had to laugh all the time.

    Though I will probably struggle with strokes and characters all of my life, it's relieving to see there are people out there who draw characters worse than I do :-D!!

  10. If the guy's tatoo read "Guess which disease I have?" in Chinese, would that be mysterious enough?

    Also, why is it always Chinese or Japanese on the tats? Doesn't Thai writing look interesting enough? What about Korean?

  11. LOL. Thai or Korean would be too imaginative...

  12. Tian- you blog is very interesting. One of my students has a tatoo "我慢" on his arm. He learned it means patience in Japanese. I just thought it was funny if he showed it to Chinese.

    Good work!

  13. Tian-I am learning so much from your blog!

    I think it is great that you called Cosmo out on that! I hope they respond!

    Thanks again for your help on my recent tattoo interpretations. You were so kind, patient and quick with your response.

    Thanks again!

  14. Oh yeah, that really shows off who he is as a person. His personality is defined by the deep subtle meaning of "love." Do women laugh when they find out what it means? I mean, it's hard to take a guy with a little heart tattoo seriously. This is no different.

  15. That's so funny! Good job on calling those dumb@sses out!

  16. puwahahaha... hilarious letter. Too bad Cosmo will never have the guts to publish it.

  17. As a female human being with some intelligence (and, perhaps unsurprisingly, not a Cosmo reader), I was most amused by this snippet.

    Although for once not horrendously distorted, the character is drawn too long for my taste - and much as love is mysterious, I don't hold much hope for his version!

    Out of interest Caozitou, what does 我慢 mean in Chinese? I'm a Japan bod.

    Hi everyone, btw :)

  18. In Chinese, 我慢 means "I'm slow".
    Note: I am NOT a Chinese speaker so this may be wrong.

  19. Bizarre as it may seem, "Asian" does seem to be a euphemism for "Chinese" in some circles. I've had a friend of Malaysian background explain to me, "In Malaysia, you know there are the Malay people, and then there are, uh, Asians like me" or something like that.

  20. Just about spit my Mt. Dew all over my laptop sitting here at Borders Bookstore. Of course, everyone is staring at me wondering what in the hell is my problem. Ha!

    Wish your site did normal trackbacks as I posted on this here.

    Wonderful, wonderful stuff!

  21. Though I think the idea of getting characters you don't understand permanently placed in your skin is a bit stupid, I will defend Cosmo for saying "Asian characters." Chinese characters originate from China, of course, but they are also used in Japan, Korea, and a few other places. Maybe they were going with inclusiveness.

    The next time someone asks me to recommend a tatoo, I'm going to suggest 表皮.

  22. I assume this is from the American edition of Cosmo. When the British press talk about Asians, they mean South Asians, so Brits might visualise the Asian characters as, say, Hindi - like what David Beckham has on his arm:


  23. Hey anonymous,
    Yeah Cosmo may be a magazine for dumb people who have too much time on their hands. But this is NOT racism. Its actually called ignorance, and yes there are ignorant people in every culture. I am anglo and I take exception to people who constantly blame everything they don't like on racism. Racism is a much more serious offense than ignorance.