Check your western sensibilities at the door.

I'm going to take you on a quick trip with me.  I want you to imagine a stressful day at the office finally ending.  All you want to do is get to your "airport grab and go style hot pot stand", get to your neighborhood DVD man, then plop down on your couch.

You are not fluent in Chinese and locals speak too quickly for you to follow whole conversations but you can pick up bits and pieces of conversations. The topic of today's conversation on the train ride home is you.  More specifically comments about the size of body parts that would have easily earned a well-deserved punch in the face in the schoolyard when I was growing up.  Heads up!  These schoolyard rules don't exist in China, your whole body is fair game.

As a foreigner sticking out like a sore thumb, you will be talked about. Most likely, not in a way your western sensibilities are accustomed to.  In China, it is perfectly acceptable to make observations about other people and is not intended to be rude or disrespectful.  At some point, you may wish we could communicate this open and honestly back at home.  To be quite frank I realized that back home we may make the same observations, but speaking these observations out loud is completely unacceptable.

So just know at some point you may be alarmed at some of the comments being made about you, but remember they are just observations. What you really need to focus on is how proud you should be that your language skills are so good you can actually eavesdrop. How rude of you. ;)