Sunday, June 18, 2006

Does No mean No?

And so together Deedee and I looked for a cab. The last year or so it’s been hard to find a cab in the city and in general this causes curses in me. But tonight I was grateful for it, since it meant I could linger longer. The Bund was lined with ones and twos of people scanning back and forth for cabs, perking up at seeing a vacant light, only to see someone else get the cab, or a fresh passenger in it already and the flag not yet dropped. ‘We won’t get a cab here’ I said, and steered us off down a sidestreet, my arm round her waist. We walked for ten minutes before finding a cab, chatting easily enough but getting interrupted by messages from her supine maggot guy. When we did find a cab he switched from messages to calls, none of which she answered.

She was slightly tense now, for she had a good idea of what was coming. ‘Why are you tense?’ I said.

I’m not’ was her first reply.

You are, you’re nervous’ I said. ‘Don’t be’ and put my arm round her, pulled her to me. She lay against my side, but still uneasy. ‘What is it?’ I said. ‘Is it because you think I want to kiss you? But I do…you are so very beautiful.’ And so I leaned over to kiss her. She squirmed a little, said she did not want to kiss – but half-returned my kiss even as she spoke; her No was not a real No.

Now of course this is a dangerous way for a guy to begin to think, that No means Yes. And indeed it’s not usually that simple; No can mean Maybe, ‘Maybe, but I don’t want to appear easy,’ ‘Maybe, but my culture teaches me to be shy of sex.’

‘No means No’ is just too much of a simplification. It is more about tone, body language, implication. No in a certain style, certain tone most surely does mean No; but there are a dozen ways to say No, and a dozen shades of meaning.

Deedee’s No was the same as Tingting’s No, Tingting whose No took an hour to turn into Yes. And when it did, what a yes! She was (as I said below) a fine lover, and she may be back in my life (or my bed at least) for she sent me a warm email the other day to tell me she has now finished her PhD studies and is about to embark on the next stage of her life, a posting to a hospital in a nearby city. I hope to see her at least once before she goes, for I have fine memories of her body, her passion. Her smooth belly, lithe legs, those deep liquid eyes…

Deedee’s No was ‘No, not tonight… but maybe next time.’ And her half-response to that first kiss suggested to me that her No might have become a Yes had not this clod been persistently calling; there is no way to woo when you’re sharing the cab with a whacko. The simple expedient of switching her phone off was no option, for her parents, like so many in China, are wholly unable to see her as an adult. To them, she is still 12 years old and thus must be reachable at all times. A switched-off phone just causes panic in parents such as these.

For example, Arina’s mother; to me Arina is a strong, sexy, confident woman, bold and stylish. To her mother, she’s barely more than a schoolgirl. Arina’s family home is in the city of Nanjing, a couple of hours away from Shanghai.

Now Arina used to have this wimpy whingy boyfriend, who indeed I have met (shaken his hand, looked him in the eye and thought ‘I’m going to take her from you’). He studies in Australia, but, poor dear, cannot make a go of it there, and so from time to time comes back to China for some R&R. This he hides from his parents, and so when he comes he stays in a hotel in the city. On one trip back he and Arina spent 24 hours together and, since she did not want to be disturbed, she shut her phone off. When she turned it back on, she told me it notified her of 40 missed calls, all from her mother, and then beeped and buzzed nonstop as the 60 messages she’d sent arrived. Not only this; the mother had also called relatives in Shanghai and implored them to go to her campus and find out where she was. Nuts.

And so Deedee and I parted, her to her bed and me to mine. As I rode home I followed her with an sms message of my own. ‘Wow.. u r the sexiest woman I’ve ever met.. Hope to see you again soon.’ And then, a little later, ‘You are not toooo angry with me?..'

`一点生气' ('A little angry’)

Ohhh… 55555… Well.. maybe if u forgive me we can meet again..’ (The number 5 is pronounced `wu’ in Chinese, and thus is used in sms to express mock-misery)

`现在不生气‘ (‘Now I’m not angry’)

`So.. if I send you a goodnight kiss.. what will u say?’

不可以老师不可以这样 (‘Not good for a teacher, not this way’)

呵呵。。 你太厉害。。 我非常不高兴!’ (‘Oh, you’re too fierce, I’m so unhappy’)

你为什么不高兴的呀? (‘Why are you unhappy?’)

`因为我很要吻你.. 你太漂亮!’ (‘Because I so wanted to kiss you… you’re so beautiful!’)

你一点也不像老师哪有老师说这话的呀?(‘You’re not like a teacher, would a teacher say this?’)

‘I cant’ help it.. you’re just tooo sexy..’

‘You’re kidding’

‘Kidding? Not at are stunningly sexy..’

‘Only lovely not sexy’

‘You are lovely, it’s true.. but you really are one of the most sexy women I’ve met in Shanghai... You're breathtaking....

By this time this exchange was over, I’d been home awhile. It occurred to me she did not have my MSN address, so I gave her my private one, for lovers, would-be lovers and family, and a few moments later she added me.

Me: hi

Me: well... i had a really great evening with u.. u're cool and a lot of fun...

Deedee: really?

Me: really, yes, i do mean that... you are funny, confident, clever, and artistic!

Deedee: I never found that!

Me: well.. take it from me. it is true!

Deedee: haha

Me: really, i was fascinated to hear u liked jazz and blues

Deedee: why?

Deedee: you too??

Me: because most people have rubbish taste..

Deedee: what are you doing now?

Me: editing documents for students..

Me: and also... i'm thinking of the sexiest woman i've met in aaaages...

Deedee: you working so hard

Me: yes, lots to do!

Deedee: you have a lot of friends,studends........why me?

Me: why....

Me: i don't know

Me: all i know is that..

Me: the first moment u walked i my class...

Me: i could hardly take my eyes off u

Deedee: I cant find that

Me: i know

Me: i tried really hard to hide it

Me: but it is true

Me: and if i showed u what i wrote in my diary after that class, u would beleive me...

Deedee: I saw a lot of sexy lovely clever girl in your class.

Me: no. no one as fascinating as u

Deedee: In you other classes?

Me: no.. not for a looooong time. really!

Deedee: there are many lovely girls........

Me: u just blew me away, u really did...

Deedee: you kiding me555555555555

Me: the 2nd time u came u had that cute little black and white skirt, and black tights...

Deedee: that's funny

Me: oh, why?

Deedee: you write diary?

Me: i do

Me: and you are in it

Me: several times!

Deedee: can I see my parts?

Me: ha ha ha

Me: no!

Me: it's a secret

Me: but..

Deedee: 5555555555555555555

Me: well, let me look and see what i wrote, hang on...

Deedee: en

Me: you REALLY wanna see?

Deedee: yes

Me: ok

Me: I got to class to find her not there. I had expected this. But half an hour into the class she turned up.. the door opening slowly and her peeking her head round, knowing I would tease her on it. But I just smiled at her lighthearted entrance and let her go to her seat with little further comment. And then spent the rest of the class, up until the break, trying not to check her out too much.

Me: As I called the break I saw her pulling on a scarf. I knew she was going to make a run for it, and I knew she would wait until I left the room so she could escape without my comment.. if I had stayed in the room she might not have had the bottle to go.

Me: there's more but that's all i'm going to show u tongiht

Deedee: you are a fox

Me: ha ha, so now u think i am even more of a bad guy, huh?

Deedee: en

Me: :$

Deedee: :@

Deedee: angry

Me: ohhhh... why?

Deedee: you hve got the polt

Me: polt ? i do not understand...

Deedee: Iintrigue

Me: ah, i see...

Me: r u *really* angry with me?

Deedee: I dont known up to now

Deedee: yes

Me: why r u angry?

Deedee: you let me scared (I’d not expected this; but maybe I should have known better)

Me: oh.. gosh..i did not mean to do that!

Me: in fact i was jsut teasing u (so I tried to lie my way out of it)

Me: i only wrote that before i said i'd send it to u tonight!

Deedee: I'm sorry

Me: 不里我!

Me: u r sorry?

Me: why?

Deedee: I am sad to heat that??

Me: i really did not want to scare u

Me: but u know u i really did notice u strongly in class

Deedee: 555555555555555555555555555555

Me: so i hope u will forgive me

Deedee: It's really

Deedee: a kidding?

Me: well...

Me: ok, i do really remember all that happening

Me: but i just wrote if for u tongiht to tease u a little

Me: u recall i told u the same thing over dinner!

Deedee: Thank you for everything you did for me

Deedee: everything you said i'll believe (and I hope she bought it )

Me: oh..

Me: that sounds like u'r saying `i'll never see you again'

Deedee: many thanks....I like the time with you

Deedee: It's the truth

Me: but...

Me: will u agree to see me again?

Deedee: you want to see me again?

Me: oh i do, yes

Me: yes yes yes!

Me: but...

Me: will u agree?

Deedee: en

Me: that makes me happy! u r great company

Me: next time i wanna take u to the great art gallery i told u about. you'll like it a lot

Deedee: yeah

Deedee: It's too late

Deedee: I want to go to bed

Deedee: today I'm so tired

Me: sleep well

Deedee: 88

Me: i had fun tongiht!

Me: 88

And she was indeed not too angry with me, for we have met several times since. I took her to the art colony I spoke of, a wonderful collection of independent artists and galleries, meeting and chatting to various of the artists I know there; and I took her to the Armani fashion retrospective at the Art Museum; and, next week, will meet her again for dinner.

And herein lies a problem... Having seen her several times, I have begun to see beyond my own primarily sexual reaction to her, and have begun to value her for herself as well. I want to spend time with her just to enjoy her idiosyncratic, refreshing, intelligent company.

But will this deeper attraction last beyond taking her to bed?

As time shall try…

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

read a couple of your blogs. It seemed that you are dating the same kind of girls over and over again. My friends, after spending two years in SH, finally admitted that those good girls (who are smart, fun and sexy) will never date him. Those who dated him were either SPG (shanghai party girl) who jump from one foreigner's arm to another, or simply no fun ...