Show six to eight teeth, no more, no less.

Regular readers of this blog might recall the revelation – made in late February – that bureaucrats in Shanghai’s Putuo District had drawn up strict, confidential guidelines (later denied, unsuccessfully) requiring that strict ratios (Golden Ratios, actually) between, say, the length of the nose and the width of the mouth, be applied during the rigorous selection process for the city’s forty-some Olympic hostesses. Then, as now, I view the whole debacle as an interesting indicator of the perfectionist pressures that Chinese civil servants at all levels feel as the Olympic approach, and the absurd – occasionally offensive – lengths to which they will go to meet them.

Which brings us to Qingdao, and training sessions for that fair city’s contingent of female, teenage Olympic volunteers. No word yet on whether the famed Golden Ratio was applied to their selection, too. But fear not: Qingdao’s Olympic bureaucrats have weird fetishes of their own. Specifically: “Big smiles with six to eight teeth showing and 45 degree handshakes.” Just how serious is Qingdao about achieving these results? Enough to jam sticks between the teeth of the teenagers until they get the damned smile right, that’s how serious:


And just in case you forgot who’s responsible for this stunt, let Xinhua remind you:

The lovely volunteers’ difficult training is taking place in Qingdao, the eastern Chinese host city for the sailing events.


  1. Sort of reminds me of the trick employed by western beauty pageant contestants: Vaseline on the teeth to make a bigger smile. I can’t say it’s surprising that hostesses are practicing their smiles, though.

  2. Joe, I wouldn’t be surprised that their practicing their smiles either EXCEPT for the fact that they’re practicing like five months in advance of the Olympics. Thats compulsive handwashing territory if you ask me. I’d never heard about the vaseline on the teeth trick before. Really weird.

  3. Ummm, are they accepting male foriegn volunteers to help with the measuring process? Just in case I will start interviewing just for practice… never know!!!!

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