Amid the coronavirus pandemic, masks have become an indispensable form of protective gear not only for health care workers but also average people too. Here in China, it’s still mandatory to wear a mask when going out. Yet this essential item has also turned into an opportunity to show off your relationship and fashion sense as a couple when you’re both out and about.
Yes, I’m talking about masks just for couples. And on China’s Taobao platform, you can find a host of adorable options to cover up together with that special someone in your life. So you can say to the world, the couple that wears masks together, not only stays together — but stays safe amid COVID-19.
Here are 8 of the cutest options I found on Taobao:
Wear your heart not only on your sleeve, but also your mask too with these complementary masks, featuring hearts with the same design in different colors.
The mask for him says “Love”, the one for her sports a little kitty-cat face. While I have no idea how they paired these two up, it does make for a darling duo, regardless.
Astrology fans will rejoice with these masks embroidered with each of the 12 zodiac signs. Wear yours as a couple and show off your astrological compatibility. And if you’re single, wear it out to sidestep that annoying “Hey, what’s your sign?” pickup line.
Perfect for the anime lovers, these masks come decorated with cartoon versions of a lovely boy and girl just made for each other.
If it’s true that opposites really do attract, then surely one of you must be naughty and the other nice. Now you could wear your disposition on your face — or fight over who gets to be naughty today. 😉
Pit the fairy (“小仙女”, up top on girl’s mask) against the devil prince (“大魔王”) in this fantasy-inspired pair of masks. Wahahahahaha!
Adorned with the words “Love Story”, one mask features a girl who just released her heart in a bottle out to sea, and the other a boy waiting to receive it. It’s one of the many adorable options from this store that just might have you humming that Taylor Swift song.
You might call it a bicycle design built for two. On hers, a girl rides on two wheels while leaving a trail of hearts behind her. On his, a boy collects every single one. It just might pedal its way into your heart too.
What do you think of these masks? Which one is the most adorable?
My heart pounded as if it was only a few minutes to midnight on New Year’s Eve. Yet my only resolution revolved around the little black and white mobile phone in my hands and its Alibaba online shopping cart. Every single item in that cart represented hours of online “research”, scouring through reviews, search results and an often dizzying array of products with all of the seriousness prepping for finals. My husband and I took turns combing through Alibaba’s Tmall marketplace. Then we discussed strategy. Should we go for everything at once? Would pressing the purchase button at midnight – putting us virtually neck and neck with millions of online shoppers at the same moment – lock us out? What were my chances of snagging that 100 percent wool Metersbonwe red sweater with only two in my size?
Of course, in these last few minutes to the big moment, I couldn’t help but giggle at the ridiculousness of it all. I was on the cusp of spending my way into the world’s biggest shopping day ever – me, the woman who had always sworn off Black Friday.
Ah Black Friday, how I loathed you – and scorned the people who dared to chase after your bargains. I always pointed to news stories of nameless Black Friday shoppers fighting over flat-screen TVs or Elmo dolls as proof of everything wrong with the holiday. See, that’s what you get when you go elbow to elbow with millions of shoppers at once.
(Famous last words.)
So what changed? What lured me into the dark side of holiday retail hoopla? One word: Taobao.
It’s China’s answer to eBay and Amazon, but on steroids. Even better, Taobao rolled out its own virtual mall in 2008, packed with official stores for every single brand I’ve ever loved in China and beyond – from Adidas to Zara. It’s all just a click away, and they ship straight to your door. Tmall fast became our best friend after we moved back to China in late 2013 for a very simple reason – we were based out in the countryside, without a car or any convenient means for getting to the supermarket. Tmall supermarket purchases over around US$14 came with free delivery, they were cheaper than the nearest supermarket in the county, and everything could arrive at your door in less than 24 hours. Even better, I could do it all from the comfort of my own bed (in my pajamas, of course). What’s not to love?
However, it wasn’t just Taobao that pushed me over the (retail) edge…it was also my husband. John is totally enamored with all things Taobao and online shopping – even more than me. Whenever I’m in need of anything here, his first response is always, “Let’s buy it online.” He considers the Tmall supermarket and its insanely fast delivery straight to your door as proof of just how magical China really is.
So when Tmall started promoting Double 11 (that’s Single’s Day to the rest of you) as China’s answer to Black Friday, John wanted in. He figured, why not make a few purchases that day? There are plenty of things we really need – like those vitamins we always buy online – and if we bought on Double 11, we might get a few good deals.
Of course, as much as I liked Tmall, I had my doubts. After all, I’d heard the reports of Double 11 shopping woes. Getting locked out of the system. Hot items that sold out within minutes. Waiting for weeks for stuff to arrive from overburdened express delivery companies. I asked John, “What if I can’t buy the down jacket I so desperately need, all because I didn’t press “buy” fast enough?”
He flashed me a reassuring smile. “Don’t worry. Just think of it as something for fun. And if we can’t get it, we’ll find you one later, I promise.”
Fun? The idea never even crossed my mind. And even though those images of Black Friday in the news looked nothing even close to fun, I had to remember that this was, after all, online shopping in the comfort of our home. We could do it from our mobile phones, dressed in our comfy robes and pajamas. That had to count for something.
Beyond all expectations, I found myself saying in return, “Okay, why not?”
That one simple statement set in motion all of those weeks of preparation leading up to those adrenaline filled final moments before midnight of November 11, where I couldn’t even help laughing at the ridiculousness of it all. Of how I had changed so much. Of how utterly silly I must have looked hunched over a mobile phone in my pajamas and that flowery salmon pink robe.
In the end, we managed to get everything on our list – even the soft 100 percent wool sweater that I swore would be impossible to buy. But maybe the best deal of all was a new perspective on holiday shopping.
So go ahead, call me contradictory. You still couldn’t get me to do Black Friday, but I’d gladly go for Double 11/ China’s Single’s Day. Maybe it’s Taobao, maybe it’s my husband, maybe it’s both. But whatever it is, my holiday shopping season will never be the same.
E-commerce in China is simple for foreigners who can’t do Chinese.
Get a Chinese friend to help you search, translate and make the purchase on Taobao. Repeat every time you need something online in China. (And as you tire of this, wonder why on earth Taobao, in its rush for riches, left behind the foreigners.)
Jack Ma might just kick himself when he discovers the latest addition to the e-Commerce world in China — Shoppinglu.com, the first English (and Chinese) e-Commerce site just for foreigners in China.
Like Taobao, it has a wide array of merchandise for sale at deep discounts (20 to 80 percent), just a click away — from strappy sandals to Hello Kitty hair straighteners to laptops to android devices to even scooters. Currently they have more than 3,000 items available, and plan to add even more. And, like Taobao, you can communicate with sellers if you need another color or size. Continue reading “Finally, a Taobao for Foreigners in China – Shoppinglu.com”
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