Dating in China might often be more accurately called Hooking Up in China, and in late 2009/early 2010 that was the kind of thing I was looking for. With varying degrees of success, mostly that is not succeeding, I had a myriad of experiences and lived and learned and notches on the bedpost and so on.
At that stage, I was a bit frustrated. My brief romance was lovely but unfulfilling in one certain way. Meanwhile, all those other expat guys constantly bragged about getting laid. I shouldn’t complain, but I wondered why I wasn’t quite keeping up. Eh, perhaps those guys were exaggerating as us bros tend to do. Really, I rarely saw the guys with a new girl every week, nothing like that. Much would be said in passing, well after the fact. Or maybe they knew better than to take girls out in public? Who knows the truth, the truth is a quantum superposition with multiple perspectives. Men round up and women round down and all realities exist simultaneously.
I’m diverging. Whatever, still I yearned. I asked out girls. Went on abortive dates. The proverbial gold-diggers (who can’t get much out of me, I’m sure not their kind of guy). Bad Christmas parties. Friend-zoned. My schedule sure got complicated. Slowly but surely, I got slightly better at the picking up chicks thing.
And so I began my evolution/devolution into the asshole I am today, or so I’ve been accused.
Here are a few of my so-called successes. Annie. Sky. Lulu. Even friendly Hailey. With so many girls in this post, please let me reiterate that these are fake names…
Annie was a platonic friend, a short Chinese party girl who danced all night with the expats. We were in the same social group. She’s older than me, and has a kid. It was an open secret that she was in a sham of a relationship (which is long-over with today). But she was still taken.
The rumors… I still get disturbed when I learn that everyone in the social group has been secretly fucking each other. Never get used to that. Even when I’m in the middle of it.
One day, after interpreting some subtle encouragement from a mutual friend, I texted her, half-joking, suggesting we hook up. She was into it.
I WANT GO TO THE HOTEL, she messaged me.
Wow. Guess, as a healthy young heterosexual male, I should take up the opportunity or I’d be mad at myself later. That’s what I told myself in those days.
Got to it. It was a glorious hotel room. Too bad we didn’t have sparks. She’s attractive, but not my type. It was pretty much a complete mistake. Too weird, too sudden. Oh well, it happens.
It wasn’t even that awkward afterwards because she framed it so coolely, completely acting natural with no undercurrent of tension. As if trying to forget. I did want another chance, just to see if it could be better, but she wouldn’t have any talk of it. Fair enough. I struck it from my memory. I still see her around from time to time. Basically, it never happened.
Looking back, I’m not proud. One of the worser things I’ve ever done.
I met her partner, soon after. She had a little get-together at her place, I don’t know why she invited me. I had to shake hands with him and smile and surprised myself by how much I could lie. I felt empty more than guilty. It was a terrible thing.
She’s been officially single long since, and it was her choice to cheat. But I shouldn’t have been the one to help her do that.
Sidenote: Hotels are fun if not pricey but I usually prefer my own place. It’s just annoying to have roommates. You can have a girlfriend and roommates don’t have to be an issue, but with casual flings I’m not comfortable parading someone new around. I don’t know how other people do it, with their bachelor pads filled with people. I do better when I live alone, more confidence and better schematics.
What is the definition of a one-night stand? Does it merely mean you only have sex once, see each other afterwards and choose to never do it again? Or does it mean you have one passionate/passionless night and then coldly never see each other again? By the latter definition, I’ve never had a one-night stand. By the former definition, here’s another of those regrettable stories.
Sky was a Canadian rocker girl, kind of tattooed gutter-punk/post-hippie style. Husky battered voice, short hair, ex-junkie. Came to China to get away from the junk scene. Before that night, I thought she was a lesbian. Turns out only bi.
(On bisexuality: it often seems to be a factor for women who are just very sexual. Women being more objectively aesthetic that men notwithstanding, it’s like this. A highly horny girl may be mainly into men for partnership, but she can so horny she folds in women as well to include as many as possible into her orientation. Sexually she’s into people not any specific gender. What I’ve observed, with some.)
One day I partied late with her and her roommate, more friends with the roommate actually, and we were on to their place to listen to music and have more drinks. She was drunk and loud at the front door, so our friend put our heads together so she would shut up and we kissed.
I went upstairs to, smoke, hang out, continue the night. They said I could crash there. She led me to her bedroom. Left the roommate alone. We laid down. She was extremely inebriated. Again, I was conflicted and wanted more notches but she wasn’t my type at all. She kept calling me “dude.”
The plus side; she’s white. Not Chinese. Okay do I like Asian girls, but I don’t want to be the kind of expat fellow who can only get local girls. An opportunity to hook up with an expat, come on I should take it. So said the half of my brain that stayed.
If anything, she forced me. Taking articles of clothing off, getting everything into position, leading fingers to body parts. She initiated all. I went with it, barely, and then called it off and got out of there. Some things can only be forced so much.
We never ever spoke of it again.
Ah Lulu, finally a good story. Lulu was a professional artist from Beijing, incredibly talented, taking a sabbatical in Guangdong for a while, a good person truly worth knowing. A worldly woman who studied classical paining in Germany, we talked about art and drew nude pictures of each other and had a great time those weeks she was down south. She was also older than me. We met online.
Never having been one to pick up strangers at bars, and my mixed success with mutual friends, I took to the Internet. Come to think of it, this was the first time I’ve done that. (There would be many more times since then.) Craigslist of all sites if you must know, which I wouldn’t recommend.
We chatted and she liked my cartoons and then met in person at the mall. I thought, okay. She’ll do.
We bumped into many people I knew (see, why don’t I bump into those other wannabe players on their dates).
She was staying in an apartment far off in the outskirts in a town called Qinchi, and agreed to sleep over at my place. “Do you always bring girls over like this?” she asked. Truthfully, she was the first in that bed.
My roommates were out for the weekend, and we had an amazing night and subsequent morning and I said goodbye at the train station and it looked like it might be a one-night stand thing. But I wanted to keep in touch, she was so great. The second time, I went out to her place. It was nice to get away from downtown, go to a slower-paced locale and enjoy nature. I stayed there for three days, we went biking at a mountain and it was just the two of us. Sketching nudes outdoors was lovely. And we had very good sex. Third time, she came to stay with me again for several but my roommates were home. Plus another guest. Taking her out in Shenzhen was all good, but being in a crowded apartment wasn’t. I always push my self to go out and be sociable, but ultimately I like it best when it’s just me and a girl and we are the only ones in the world. Lulu was an introvert as well, and not into a big group setting.
I wish I saw her again. I never did. She returned to her own life in Beijing, or maybe she’s in Germany now, I don’t know. She had her Cantonese adventure and it when was over she moved on and that’s how it goes.
One more story, an embarrassing one. Literally anticlimactic.
Hailey was adorable; I met her when she was only nineteen, a bubbly local Cantonese chick with an American accent. By local I mean her ancestral family is from Shenzhen, a rarity in this young Special Economic Zone town, which means local families have real estate money and don’t have to work.
This archetype of girl is interesting, an upper class who grew up on American television and just has the accent when she speaks English. Some people are simply naturals at language, some people just use America as the fallback international culture. People would always annoyingly ask her if she was born in the U.S.
She partied hard, into drinking and drugs and dying her hair crazy colors and dancing to electronic music. She was the center of the Shenzhen scene, Hong Kong too and we had a blast New Year’s Eve 2010 rolling in Lan Kwai Fong. My favorite holiday.
Nowadays she’s kinda dropped off the map, went to study in Europe, and seems a bit burnt out. She did too much too young. That’s why I’m content to be a latebloomer.
We were good friends for a while. I like having platonic female friends, someone to talk to and get a feminine perspective, and for a time she was my best female friend. We bickered too, the mark of true friendship. Some girls like to think of me as their gay best friend, I sort of fill that role at times.
There was a tinge of sexual tension, least from my end. I never acted on it. Well, except that one night…
Our Brit friend was staying over, sleeping on the floor. Hailey was sleeping on the sofa too. Big apartment with all the roommates, we often had multiple guests. No big deal. I was sleeping in my room when suddenly at like 3:00 a.m. there was a knock on the door.
“Ray are you awake?”
“Can I sleep in here?”
Whoa. Was this really happening? Kinda sudden. I like to be wined and dined and seduced first.
She crawled into bed with me. My heart was beating fast. What was I supposed to do? Is this an obvious invitation? Shouldn’t I take full advantage of it? What kind of a sexual loser would I be if I did nothing?
I embraced her. She pulled away. I rubbed my hand against her hips and belly, our feet touched.
“Are you even asleep?”
And I was hard and everything.
I didn’t get it. Was I supposed to step up my game and be a man or whatnot? Or would that be creepy? Isn’t she being a tease, should I be mad at her? What in the hell game was she playing with me?
I gave up. An extremely terrible night’s sleep commenced.
I think friends can sleep in the same bed, she later texted. Because I’m just a friend, that whole zone y’know.
She said that other guys let her sleep in the same bed and it’s no big deal. I can’t imagine guys like that. She said that if I escalated too much she would never talk to me.
What to do after that but carry on and laugh it off? We remained friends. And that’s all I could do.
Much later it made a more sense. I had drinks with Brit friend while in HK, the guy who was sleeping over that night, and told him the story. He laughed and said he would have done the exact same thing.
So, they were fuckbuddies all along. They had a fight that night, perhaps after fucking in my very living room, and she wanted to get away from him and went to my room. That’s all it was. In retrospect, I’m very much glad that nothing happened between us.
Later I learned she was fucking several other guys, and I no longer felt any sexual tension around her. Hope I’m not coming across as judgmental or sexist, she can do what she likes and it’s not my business. I just don’t think about her that way after learning too much. It’s a good thing really, we went back to being platonic friends and I never again thought of what could be.
I have another funny story about Hailey, it’s even better. Saving it for later.
. . .
I look back, with the passage of time I now realize something with all this. I was in between, these episodes were an intermission, a limbo.
And now that I got all those experiences out of my system, guess what I was ready for, guess what comes next.
At last. To be continued, in: