My mother has a Chinese saying for just about every situation. I’ll say this and she’ll respond with a four word idiom dating back to Confucius. I’ll do that and she’ll somehow use 5000 years of collective wisdom to shoot me down.
China seems like a land of limitless opportunities for romance.
So I was not all surprised to find that everyone here in China knows all the idioms ever created in China’s history. Every idiom my mom knows, my coworker knows, my Chinese friends know and, it seems, every other Chinese person knows.
I can hardly remember even one.
That is until now.
A few weeks ago during a night on the town with the girls, I was taught an idiom that I love to use, “Qi Lu Zhao Ma.” The idiom literally means “Ride Donkey Find Horse.”
That Friday night was like any other. My eyes were peeled for any potential love victims that might cross my path. See, here in Beijing, there is a real diversity of Chinese boys. There are punk rockers, geeks, hipsters, chuppies (a Chinese Yuppie) and so on. Every type of boy you can imagine, you can find here.
Beijing is therefore unlike Silicon Valley, where I hail from. In the land of Apple and IBM, the typical Chinese-American boy works either in the finance or tech industry and could call the Banana Republic his second home. Okay, a bit of a generalization, but nonetheless, I have never been attracted to the Stanford-educated, six-figure earning, button-down, khaki wearing, bring home to mother type of boy.
Thus, China seems like a land of limitless opportunities for romance. Not only are there millions of millions of different types of Chinese boys, but Beijing has been of the late, flooded with expatriates from all over the globe.
So, why then was my friend teaching me to, Qi Lu Zhao Ma-Ride Donkey Find Horse? Because, she said, despite the numbers, Mr. Right (Now) is hard to come by in the capital city of the Middle Kingdom. That is why we must first ride (I don’t think my Chinese ancestors were aware of the double meaning “ride” would later take on) a donkey (average guy) in order to find our horse (Mr. Right).
Okay: Find the donkey. Ride the donkey! I’m always looking for the horse. The thoroughbred who wins the Kentucky Derby year after year. (though like all of us, I occasionally ride a jack ass after a few drinks). But maybe 5,000 years of wisdom has some use: I have to ride a donkey first.
However, despite learning to Qi Lu Zhao Ma, my dating life has not been anything to write home to the girls about. I do, however, have some interesting tales to tell of my encounters with the opposite sex.
In my quest to make myself some local friends, I had lunch with a friend of a friend. The next day homeboy called me before noon on Saturday telling me he’s about to go out to buy me a bike. Where I come from, you just don’t go around buying bikes for people you met the day before. Maybe he was just super nice and super excited to be my “friend.” Or, as people told me, maybe he’s like many of the well-to-do Chinese men who wants to keep a concubine, er, I mean mistress. In any case, a few flowery texts from my married “potential friend” later, I cut all ties.
Westerners seem to be no better. On another occasion, I even received an offer from an English man whom proclaimed he could bring me to orgasm five times in 24 hours or else I would get free dinners every night for one year. If he looked like Jude Law I would have jumped on the offer. Instead, I jumped in a cab and went home by myself.
Of course, there are normal Western men who aren’t here chasing skirts at Suzie Wongs (hip bar). These ones appear to be taken already. Or, they simply view China as a playground. Here for a few years, these types aren’t looking to form any serious relationships. Rather, they are quite happy for the short term, to simply taste the flavors of the world here in the increasingly cosmopolitan capital.
And while I haven’t met my match, I, alas have been quite the matchmaker. An hour or so after arriving at Face Bar, the other night, I met two gay boys who were much cuter than any hetero prospects. It only took one cocktail to convince me to leave with them to Beijing’s premier (and only) gay club called Destination (aka Desperation). After dancing on the vibrating dance floor, I met Sebastian from Belgium. He was eyeing a Chinese boy sitting next to us, so I took it upon myself to teach him three magic words in Mandarin, “you are cute- ni ke ai”. He used his new found vocab and well…let’s just say that when I left Desperation, I saw the two of them jump into a cab together.
So, all in all, my six months in Beijing have left me to wonder whether I will ever meet the horse who is at least 5’10, loves kids, doesn’t smoke, wants to eradicate world poverty, phones his mom, boogies till the break of dawn, bbqs a mean veggie burger, and massages me on command? On second thought, a nice donkey will do just fine for now.
Newly armed with her MSc from LSE, Bay Area native Jenny Chu packed her bags in April 2006 to help green the motherland. Now a CSR (corporate social responsibility) consultant by day, and wannabe bonne vivante by night, she is endlessly amused by “ghetto-fabulous” Beijing. From eating at the best hole in the wall restaurants to run-ins with naughty expat businessmen, Jenny is enjoying all that life in the New China has to offer. Yet adventures are not just limited to the Middle Kingdom. This travel-bug plans to explore Asia at its best, and will be celebrating and blogging live from Malaysia and Indonesia come Xmas and NYE.