Friday, July 14, 2006


So a week or ten days back while I’m in bed with Jingjing, I get a barrage of messages and then calls on my mobile, all of which I perforce must ignore, as one cannot answer a call mid making-love.

But also I knew who was on the other end of those messages, those calls. A woman I’ve been seeing for many months, a woman I’ve spent more time with than any other; a woman who loves me more than I love her.

Angered by these interruptions, after I had finished with Jingjing I replied to tell her I had been with a woman. A testy exchange followed. In the following days our online conversations, which had been close, became cool, strained.

I met her for lunch yesterday.

She told me how hurt she was.

She told me she’d read this blog. Unwisely, some months back I’d mentioned I’d begun writing it but had not given her the address, due to its frank content. Honorable woman that she is, she’d not sought it out, leaving me my anonymity. But, after that night, angry, she tracked it down (which she had a perfect right to do all along) and read it, start to end.

Before this she had no idea of this part of my life. Yes, she had some suspicions, and indeed once told me ‘I am sure there have been many other women at the same time as me.’ But I deflected the question and she, fearing the answer, did not look any more closely.

But now she has read this. How much it must have lacerated her!

I want to write about her more. But that is not really possible. Firstly, she asked me not to write about her, and so beyond this, I will not write.

Secondly, knowing she will read this, I cannot be objective. Whatever I write would be an appeal to her, an attempt to exculpate myself, even though such exculpation is not really possible. I would like to try to explain my feelings for her, to write about how truly unique she is among all the thousands of people I have met here. To say how with her I was more my real self than with anyone else. To talk of my admiration and respect for her.

But how can I do that without coming off, to her, as insincere, trite? How could she believe it, knowing I wrote it knowing she would read it? How could she believe it after reading all the crude, basic pages below?

So I feel pretty rotten. Guilty, to have hurt her so badly. Ashamed, even.

And is even that true, after all? If I really felt guilty surely I would begin to behave in a more socially acceptable way?


Partly, the chase is just too much fun. Partly, I do not, deep down, really view it as betrayal at all. Most of the women I’m involved with are willing partners and, really, compared to the depth of my relationship with this woman, all the philandering is just surface trivia. And partly (and perhaps the biggest part) I am just a selfish scumbag.

Hah, these matters with myself which I too much discuss.

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Anonymous said...

"To have little is to possess.
To have plenty is to be perplexed." - Lao-tzu, The Way of Lao-tzu

Perplexion, guilt and an array of other emotions is part of the journey.

Yours is an alternative and interesting blog. Keep it up.

Anonymous said...

From HK,

I've lived in Asia for about six years now, and dated quite a number of Hong Kong women. Whenever I raise the issue of Shanghai women, and the apparent lure and attractiveness, they scoff and deride my apparent ignorance of these so-called "devil women". Do Shanghai women deserve this kind of labelling? In reading your blog, they certainly do not sound like the superficial, money-hungry leeches many of my fellow female colleagues advise against.
And I would assume they are much more attractive than the pimple-faced, flat-chested girls who populate the malls and streets of Asia's "Pearl of the Orient."

danny said...

I think you are involved much more than just teaching English. Chinese has this saying, ‘why kill a chicken with a butcher knife’. Why so humble all of the sudden.

Your blog does offer a refreshing perspective about certain elements of Chinese’s social fabric that are not easily penetrated. Overall, it’s those interesting perspectives along with your witty comments coupled with suspense that makes this blog a different breed.

I can tell you have spent effort in writing those, obviously it’s something that you enjoy doing.

I do enjoy reading your blog, although not necessarily agreeing with your all of your manipulative approach. Then again, it’s your life and your blog, and who am I or anyone else to make a judgmental call about any of those

ChinaBounder said...

...Do Shanghai women deserve this kind of labelling?

In my opinion, based on direct experience, Shanghai women are not at all ‘money hungry leeches’ as your colleagues have suggested.

Yes, for many Shanghai women, as well as men, money is important. But to whom is money not important? A decade ago, perhaps, the foreign lover was seen as a ticket to a passport and wealth for some people. But this is not so common now. A smart Shanghai girl (and many of them are impressively smart) can earn her own keep, and is keen to, as well. Attractive? Yes. Divertingly so; this is why I am such a philanderer. I’ll see a beautiful girl in the street and be bewitched, only to forget her five minutes later as I encounter another equally – but differently – attractive girl – and another – and another….

My visits to HK have left me shuddering at the paucity of cute girls. Sure, HK works well, is smooth and modern and clean, but I imagine living there and what I hear is the murmur of utter boredom, what I see is a desert landscape.

Now when I take out a Shanghai girl I take her to a nice restaurant, and do not stint on ordering the nice dishes. Nor do I cavil at the exorbitant prices the bars charge (for example, in ‘Star Asia,’ a piece of shit bar in the ghastly Xintiandi, which I went to recently solely to watch some football, a liter pitcher of beer cost 298 yuan). Does this mean Shanghai girls are money-hungry? Hardly. It is just the way of things that the guy pays on a date. And indeed more often than not the girl I am with will offer to pay, or go halves, or will want to pay for the coffee or beer after. (In all my years here I have but rarely let a woman pay, which I guess makes me pretty sexist.)

I feel that today’s Shanghai girl (taking the phrase in its general meaning of young, cute and loaded with attitude) really rather defies stereotype. True, ‘they’ do have certain styles, behavior in common, imposed by the city, their culture; but it is this that is superficial, and not the girl herself. I have found each Shanghai girl I have dated to be strongly individual.

And, finally, the woman who prompted this particular entry is a ‘Shanghai girl’; and she was – is – one of the most remarkable, rare and unusual women I have ever met.

bmpc said...

I can't say more. what you have seen is too superficial.They are money-hunger, I know better than you, at this point.

Anonymous said...

Shanghai woman said...
The sadness I feel for the ChinaBounder is like a bottomless pit... Will he ever know what real love is and to appreciate it in this lifetime? I doubt it. Until he reaches old-age and he's alone, reminiscing of his past conquests. The question the 'Caveman' should be asking is: "Am I happy?"

annie said...

i am a 20-year-old girl in shanghai. After i read your blog, i just think no matter shanghai women or women from all the other country, it is really stupid to label them. Money to everyone is important, no one can live without it. then how can you label chinese women just because they regard money as a nessesaty?
maybe some chinese woman really think money is much more important than other things. but should that kind of woman be labelled? i don't think so. if you really want to know chinese woman more, then you should keep getting in touch with them and really trying to know them, instead of asking whether chinese woman should be labelled or not, that is my opinion.