A month ago, I lost my keycard. So I walked down to the service desk to get a new card. One of the security guards—one that I’ve never seen—beamed at me and started a conversation the moment I walked in. He asked if I believed in God (he saw my glimmering gold cross promptly displayed in the valley between my glorious breasts), and I responded in the affirmative before asking the receptionist for two new keycards.
You may very well think that he found God whilst ogling the twins; there are probably next to no Chinese women with a rack like mine. So yeah, he found a conversation piece.
As I waited, the security guard kept talking to me. So I engaged him in conversation, realizing that he spoke great English—a rarity in these parts—and he could sing. I smiled and we chatted amiably until Seven (yes, that’s the American “name” for that particular receptionist) slapped my new card on the counter and prepared to charge the second one.
The guard introduced himself; I’ll call him Michael, and he asked me for my name, which I gave. We talked about perfectly random things until I realized that it was taking Seven a damn long time to get me my second card. So I looked over at her and was like, “Seven, girl…what’s the problem?”
“The computer not working. I fix. Hold on, you make new friend!” And she waved me towards Michael with a ginormous smile on her face. Michael was smiling back at me and we continued chatting about the aforementioned random topics for another five or six minutes until I looked back at Seven once again.
“Seven? Girl, I left my stuff in the hallway! What’s going on?”
“The computer is rebooted! We wait for engineer to fix. Go on, you make new friend!”
Well, that was all fine and dandy, but the fact was that I’d just gotten off work and wanted to go home, and I had indeed left my stuff in front of my apartment door. So I told her that I’d come back later for my keycard and said goodbye to Michael. He smiled at me and I left.
The next evening, around 7 p.m., someone rang my building. I don’t normally have visitors, and people who know me don’t stop by without calling first. So I went to the call-box and it was Michael, asking to come up.
You should have seen the look on my face.
I invited him up and into my apartment (with no worry at all; I’m safer here than I was in the States), and he came bearing gifts: coconut milk, mango drink, lychee juice boxes, cookies, and some maple nut rolls. He was blushing and so nervous that he forgot to remove his shoes at the door. This is customary behavior, but I’m not Chinese, so it did not faze me that he still wore his shoes.
***Side note: People remove their shoes before entering someone's home because they believe dirty soles bring demons into the home. I wish I'd known this years ago.
I had absolutely no idea of what, why, when, how, or who, so I just stood there and listened to him explain his reason for being there. I’m not an idiot, so I could guess…but you have to understand that I’ve been out of the game for so long that I don’t recognize certain cues or clues; I very nearly have to be hit over the head with Mjolnir...which this little unexpected visit was.
This young man asked me if I’d ever been to Tianzefang, which I have. But then he asked me if I would like to go again, with him, so he could show me the things my foreign eyes would miss. And he would haggle for me if I wanted something. Haggling is an art form that I have yet to master.
So I said yes. He whipped out his cell phone and asked for my number without actually asking for it, and I gave it to him without thought. We decided on a Sunday a week from that current day, due to our work schedules; he would pick me up and we’d hop a cab to a nearby Metro station and head out to Tianzefang, aka French Concession.
Michael thanked me before leaving and apologized about seventeen times for forgetting to remove his shoes. I thanked him for the groceries and he left. Later on, I got a text from him that apologized once more for disrespecting my home by not removing his shoes, for being dirty (he wasn’t), and for being unable to help himself in wanting to see me. He told me that I was "one of the fine-looking women," and I had to pop my collar and flex, because some things are just obvious.
I was flattered. You remember my last post, so I did not see this coming. And I freaked out because I know dick-all about dating Chinese men, so abiding by the law of Google Is Your Sister In Christ, I did a search to find out the basics. I didn’t want to be culturally insensitive or irresponsible, and even though it was intended to be a very casual date, it was important for me to find out the endgame for Chinese men who prefer Western women.
The three websites I found are sorely lacking specific details, but one thing is consistent: Chinese men don’t really casually date…they date to marry.
To be continued…