I do not know if I will be able to cope with the weather and culture shock. I had spent the whole summer in America grilling, drinking good beer, updating my Facebook account, and stewing about returning to the Middle Kingdom.
Two weeks back in country and it was raining girls and I kept forgetting my umbrella and gortex. That’s Murphy’s Law for you.
There was a get-together with some colleagues. They had cold beer and a patio overlooking a cute communist ghetto where children played in the dirt or chased each other on two-wheeled skateboards and geriatrics practiced sword fighting in slow motion. Flank steak, chicken breast, and god-knows-what sausage sizzled on a grill. It smelled like summer in America. That was before the girls arrived. Yes, there was good talk all around, but when the girls came we were inspired to new heights. First there were only grunts, silence and sports metaphors. And then there was the word and the word became conversation which begat dialog which begat poetry.
“You know that hot blonde chick with big titts back in America that everyone wants to fuck?” somebody said. This happened sometime before conversation became poetry. I was talking with one of my colleagues and we compared notes on this strange world, this alternate reality, this place that is a Puritan wife’s nightmare and a middle class bachelor’s wet dream.
“I have no idea what you’re talking about,” I said. It was true. I had forgotten about America and their blondes. Two weeks in country and all that stuff had become one single meaningless abstraction. Somewhere in the back of my mind I knew there was a place called America – “home of the free and the brave” — and it was going crazy. There was the Tea Party and Sarah Palin, and some weirdo in Florida who wanted to burn Korans. Teachers were laid off, schools closed, and colleges – already charging exorbitant tuition fees and fleecing students with overpriced textbooks – raised their price tags. And the country was still at war, and perhaps looking to start a new one. I just wanted to stay sane in an increasingly insane world. But America made that impossible. So I got on a plane to begin a new life. As soon as I landed in in China I was humming The Guess Who’s “American Woman.”
I told my colleague that I had a condition endemic to this region, something lay people called “yellow fever.” Its pathology was not very well understood, but I knew that increased libido, mania, intermittent tachycardia, and a strange selective memory loss (as in, forgetting everything you ever desired in your country of origin — such as hot blondes with big titts) were chief amongst its symptoms.
“Here in China,” the teacher said, “you are like that blonde chick everybody wants to fuck.”
Indeed, it was a strange new world. Back in America, if I had gone to a similar party the sexual politics were win-lose as everybody cock-blocked each other left and right. Here, guys acted more civilized according to principles of game theory, reciprocity, and altruism. They had to. At some point in their Casanova careers they came to the conclusion that juggling more than three girlfriends could be problematic (something beyond the scope of this article). As for me, I had to leave the party early with just two phone numbers because another girl texted me and had gotten off work early and wanted to sit with me by the river.
Now I am afraid that I am metamorphosing into an asshole. I had been nice all my life — the kind of guy that finishes last, opens doors, and listens — if of course, I was granted any of these privileges at all — the kind of guy a girl would want to marry and raise children with and perhaps talk to about being such a bitch to her colleagues whenever she got her period. I was the guy that girls would use as a couch as they told me how pissed off the guy they were fucking rolled his eyes when she had suggested they go out for sushi. I was the kind of guy who would quietly suggest that I love sushi – both real sushi and the metaphorical kind. I was the kind of guy who would listen to a girl who just did not hear me say that. You know that big cuddly polar bear in the Christmastime Coca-Cola commercials? That would be me.
Unfortunately, these nice guy traits (probably due to the NcGy1 and NcGy2 human asshole suppressor genes) were problematic in an age when it was becoming socioeconomically impossible to get married, stay married and have children — let alone buy a house and get a middle class job. And if you were a debt slave, then forget it. No nookie for you. Ever. On a side note, there were guys back in America – more evidence the country was going stark raving mad — paying good money for classes on how to be an asshole and suppress their own nice guy behavior. Soon they would be using gene therapy in order to unleash their inner asshole. It’s true; I saw it all on VH1 over the summer. But here in China, I could be nice and have my cake too.
So now I’m back and a new problem set has blossomed before me. Like, is it ethical to have more than one girlfriend in a country with 120 million surplus guys?