Taobao is a magical, mysterious, utterly unknowable place. It’s a place where beautiful (and affordable) furniture exists! A place you can purchase clothes and bags and toys to your heart’s content — and then some. But it’s also a place that posits questions. Who needs this? Who would want this? Who is buying this?
Humour is a funny thing; a thing that will always find itself lost in translation, despite your best efforts at explaining the joke. Because if you have to explain it, it’s no longer funny! There are many funny things to purchase in this month’s round-up of Taobao finds — see: groan-inducing temporary tattoos, dad-bod-shaped mugs and more — but if you do not find said thing I found funny funny, please do not Will Smith me on my Oscars stage. It’s all in good fun, I promise.
BRB, Adding These Taobao Finds To Cart:
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In light of terrible choices, “Pick Me” culture and whatever Edward Said said in Orientalism, there is a whole slew of grim Han character tattoos out there making phrases that should never be permanent very permanent. Phrases lost in translation. Phrases that belong on takeout menus. Phrases that concern a well-meaning “I love my grandson” mis-translated as “I love fat boys”.
Anyways, fight fire with fire with with an equally bad tattoo in English that tries its hand at wordplay that’s much too convoluted to be clever. (See: I’m not happy because “u” aren’t here. Groan.) These are temporary, though, so there’s that.
A few fair inches ’round the midriff? Just more to love. Let this perfect, adorable, no-notes, ten-across-the-board mug be a sign to retire those IKEA FÄRGRIKs you settled for at move-in. Booooooring! Your daily eight deserves more than just plain, function-only porcelain. Who knows, a cool personality vessel might make you a full-blown Hydro Homie.
Look: a BFG (Big Friendly Giant, in case you didn’t live a Roald Dahl childhood) might be missing his BFT. Made of wax and not enamel, this not-to-scale tooth candle from Citizen of No Place will be an excellent mantlepiece addition for Halloween, for tooth fairies, for dentists and dental hygienists and for lovers of the SAW franchise. Say cheese!
If painting between prescribed lines with pre-chosen colours is a nudge too difficult for you, then make it a sure thing: meet Pushpin By Numbers. Send in your favourite person’s portrait to this Taobao store for a Saturday afternoon “art” project that toes the line between “handmade” and “is it really handmade if you’re just pushing pins into numbers?”. Probably not. But your gift recipient doesn’t have to know.
There’s rhyme and reason to completing a puzzle. Find the corners first. Then, complete the borders. Group together similar colours for the meat of the picture. This Taobao version, though, is entirely clear; modelled after a shattered shard of glass. Good luck trying to slot together acrylic with no discernible pattern. Infuriating! When you inevitably get frustrated, might I suggest an easier Pushpin By Numbers?
I can get behind the thought process that led to the creation of this product. Because there’s no way to get around it: bending down with a plastic bag turned inside out to scrape poo off the sidewalk is nothing short of humiliating. But a little humiliation comes with being a parent! If you want Rover to do the deed and do the hard work of aiming said deed into a bag clipped onto his tail, then, well, do you. But we’re all going to be judging you at PTA meetings at the dog park, though.
Sometimes, the things you love are simply so. Sometimes, there’s no rational thought behind instinctive purchases. Sometimes, you buy with your heart, not your brain. Sometimes, you just need these little wooden skewers that serve no purpose beyond being very cute. Now, go forth and prop-style the hell out of your hamster’s big break on Instagram.