Tuesday, May 04, 2021

I do honor the very flea of his dog

 I find Daniel Dumbrill deeply convincing. Thoughtful, balanced, objective, insightful. Simply outstanding in his work on Xinjiang.


Would that I had one hundredth his insight back when I was in China.

Friday, August 14, 2020

Slight Return

Not without flaws, yet frequently convincing:


It could well be that most everything I wrote and thought about China was wrong.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

So, China Dirt #3

I shall give some attempt at an answer anyhow.

The problem is – and this can be clearly seen on Chinadirt – that expat women still hold to the Western mode of dating.

“Running Man” ends:-

But if you ever stop running for just a moment and look around, you'll find that all you have are quirky travel stories, boxes filled with pictures of exotic lands, a map punctured with holes, but nobody real to hold while you stand still.

But this is no answer at all. He doesn’t want that. He’ll never want it, and nor will most of us guys here – certainly not in the terms of ‘real’ which you offer; that ‘real’ is a straightjacket, stifling, repellent. Did you think he was trusty and faithful? Did you see no further than his façade, his smooth and tolerant manner? Did you suppose yourself advancing on real ground toward a real heroic man? It was all maya, illusion. ‘Somebody to hold us while we stand still’? – oh, please!

Guys like him, guys like me, guys like us – we who let you down so deep and often – we know romance is illusion, and the more we fuck around, the more clear we are about that.

This life corrupts us; we can’t go back to your limitations of ‘the one’ and ‘true love.’ When we stand still we hear time’s winged chariot – and we run once more. We see the deserts of vast eternity. And this is just why Running Man wants his box of pictures, his map punctured with holes, far more that he’ll ever want you. They are fragments he has shored against his ruin. They are to be his memories when he is old, the proof he existed, lived.

He, like me, like us - we see this woman, that, you, her, she…. Interchangeable, a pack of cards, now you, now you; each an individual, sure, within a certain set of limitations, but in the end shuffleable, changeable. There is nobody ‘real’ to hold us; we each exist alone.

You are not going to change us; it is too late for that. And while Chinadirt as a whole is admirably unconcerned with trying change us, but rather only expose us, some individual contributors surely wish to.

But they are playing by rules we have abandoned -- hence their endless disappointment in us. And because we have left that system, those rules, behind, Western women are generally invisible to us.

Believe it, when I and a thousand others like me walk down the road we do not even see the white women; you are nearly always just invisible to us. An absence, empty air. And on the rare occasions we do see you, all we see – forgive me – is how you are nothing as slender, lithe or trim as a Chinese woman. We look at your thighs, your belly, your butt and think ‘thank fuck’ and ‘I will never date Western again.’

Now I most firmly believe anything a man can do a woman can do; and so perhaps the solution is that Western women should switch over, just like we have. An obvious solution, of course, which is why it has already occurred to expat women. Ah, but -

Not sure if you've tried it but finding a good Chinese man is pretty hard. It's not like the streets are exactly filled with good-looking, funny, socially adjusted Chinese men are they? We're not against dating Chinese guys but you're attracted to who you're attracted to. Lets be honest, Chinese women are often MUCH better looking than Chinese guys. We'd dare say its a 10 to 1 ratio of hot Chinese women to hot Chinese guys. Yeah, you can blabber on about how that's SO superficial but attraction is important. More often than not the hot, funny, cool Chinese guy, already has an even hotter, cooler and funnier Chinese girlfriend so how can we even compete?

Personality is important too and oftentimes many single Chinese guys (and expats) are lacking in that arena as well. If there is a hot, available non-douchbaggy Chinese guy please let us know. We'll be more than happy to date him.

The Chinadirt author of the above is right that attraction is important, and there’s nothing superficial about it. Now I have at times been somewhat critical of Chinese men. But that is because I am a haphazard and slapdash writer. The truth is that China really does have plenty of cool guys, stylish, witty, assured – ride the tube, walk the streets, there they are; sure, they are generally younger, under 30, more often under 25, but that need not hold back any woman. If we guys can date younger, why not women?

Perhaps what Western women do not always understand is that they are just as attractive to Chinese guys as Chinese girls are to us. Now most of the reason we guys chase Chinese women is lust, it is the younger, firmer, sexier body. And you Western women can’t compete there. But lust is not the whole of it; there is pride, too. To have the young, beautiful woman on our arm, that’s our peacock tail, but displayed for other men alone. Look at me; look what I have. When expat meets expat we see this in each other’s eye, in each other’s stride, the slight falter, the hesitation as we pass each other.

There is a card game, ‘Top Trumps,’ each deck of which (and there are various decks to collect) focuses on one area alone – it might be cars, or ships, or tanks, or trucks. The car set, for example, will show various supermodel cars, anatomized; and the players play card against card, choosing one from the various parameters on each – engine size, top speed and so on - with the winner being decided by the better specification. And this is why – when expat meets expat – we hesitate, just a little; for we are still children, still playing ‘Top Trumps.’ Only now – of course – we measure the woman on the other’s arm. Looks? Height? Breasts? Hips? Butt? Dress sense? Deportment? Who’s better, who’s best? We who have been here long enough play the game incessantly – and we know which of our fellow men are new to the game by the grade of woman on their arm. And we are also showing off to those outside the game, the temporary tourists, the guys with the woman of a similar age on their arm. Oh, how we smirk inwardly at you and preen ourselves then!

But this works the other way round too. To a Chinese guy, a Western woman has this same cachet. You’re his status symbol. You’re his prize.

This does not make you a possession. It makes you powerful. So you rightly despondent Western women should play on it, should do just what we Western men do; we know our money and skin give us prestige, and we use it. Why not you?

However – venturing into a generalization, unwise as all generalizations are – I think it is fair to say that most Chinese guys simply would not know how to go about pursuing a Western woman.

Now back home a guy that is too timid to approach you probably would not be worth dating. But you have to dump that Western attitude, just like we have. Fuck, yes, work on superficial appearance, go chat up that good looking guy just because he’s good looking. Once he gets over his shock at being approached by you (and it will be a great shock to him indeed) perhaps you’ll find a guy who’ll treat you a fuck sight better than the average Western expat will.

So try it. Do what we do. Approach the guy, make the first move. Forget the Western expat community, largely made up of bigots, fools and moral and emotional cripples as it is, and see that all the choices China offers to us, it offers to you, too.

It’s not much of a solution, but it’s all I’ve got.

Friday, December 07, 2007

So, China Dirt #2

And China makes it easy for us to lounge through existence, to sink like sediment through the day. It is the difference between Chinese and Western women that allows guys like me, guys in general, to live in the way that gives Chinadirt so much contempt to pour on us.

Chinese women have a very different tradition to follow than Western women. Personal freedom has always been denied to Chinese women by their country’s culture. Even today, for all its patina of modernization, the personal life of Chinese women is still controlled – cabined, cribbed and confined.

Mona, for example, a fantastic former lover, bold and imaginative – Mona represents the best of modern Chinese woman (not that I in any way wish to prescribe what a woman ‘should’ be). But even Mona, smart, confident, determined, funny, even Mona is controlled by the wider patterns of society. Her mother was staying with her for a few weeks, and while Mona was at work, the mother would go through every inch of her flat, her drawers, cupboards, wardrobe. And not at all covertly – to her, it was simply a mother’s right to do this. Mona, being quite up to the minute, has several mobile phones, and one of these she left at home. Her mother read all the messages on it and found one from a lover saying something along the lines of ‘You were great in bed the other night.’ This lover was a Chinese guy, and his message was thus in Chinese, meaning Mona’s mother understood it, as would not have been the case was it from her Western lover.

Mona’s mother was horrified by this, and when Mona came home asked, incredulous, “You are not a virgin any more?” Mona concocted some tale about this being a message she was relaying for a friend. Her mother, Mona told me, did not really believe it.

I suggested Mona could have just told the truth, and said this was how her life was, and she was nothing different in it. But she told me her mother would not have been able to handle that. And indeed she said ‘Already she’s said she wants to die, she’s said “The only reason I’ll stay alive is because of your grandparents”’ – What awful parental blackmail! How little the parents understand their children, and how much they want to control them.

Now of course Chinese women today have far more freedom than even a few years ago, and Mona does indeed live a relatively free life. But even so, she still lives that life within strict confines. She cannot show the reality of it to her mother, and her freedom is thus only a limited, carefully defined level of freedom. Nor can she show the reality of it to most Chinese guys. She, like many of my women friends, has told me several times that too many Chinese guys simply cannot handle the reality of the life today’s Chinese women often live, or at least want to live.

And this is why she is leaving. She wants out. She’s been driven away by the bullshit this culture imposes on her, by its petty restrictions, by its inability to take her for what she is rather than what it would have her be. She’s got her residence visa to another country, going to that freer country like so many of China’s smartest and brightest, going to be more than she can ever be here. Going against the wishes of her parents, who would have her settle down and produce them a grandchild, going against the advice of her boss that she should stay in her easy, undemanding job. Going, and will not come back.

It is this background that is the walls and bars to the cage a Chinese woman dates in. When she dates a Chinese guy, she is usually in that cell, hemmed in by the strictures of a culture that she knows well. Must play the virgin. Must be bashful in bed. Must have no desires but what her man wants.

But a Western guy is outside that culture; and so when she dates him she is free of the imposed attitude of Chinese culture. Dating a Western guy, she has no framework in which to orient herself. Dating becomes a chance for a different level of personal freedom for her, and (too often) an avenue of exploitation for him

Now Western culture gives women far more freedom to dictate their dating lives than Chinese culture does, which is why Western women won’t put up with such bullshit from Western men. This is unarguably a good thing, and if Chinese culture allowed more of this freedom for its women – if China’s women would fight for it -- then their life would not be quite so overwhelmingly shit as it is now.

But no matter how right or just, when guys like me can escape from those expectations of Western women, we don’t look back. Out here we embrace our nature. Yes; it is oafish, crude, and after many centuries of struggle in the West when women have at last gained some measure of respect (though not much) it is profoundly depressing. But this is who men are. Hence China’s concubine system, for example. Men want to fuck around.

The kind of thing we’re escaping from is clear on Chinadirt:-

To the FHMs [Finding himself man] out there I say:

FIND some maturity by getting a real job. And no, filing one story a week to an unnamed newspaper back home, occasional modeling as the token white boy in some baijiu billboard, and “tutoring” Chinese college girls does not count!

FIND some decency by appreciating your girlfriend-the one who cooked for you after 10 hour workdays, ironed and laid out clothes for you when you had interviews, who puts up with your equally immature friends and pretends not to be lonely when you leave her four times a week to go find yourself on Sanlitun.

FIND some courage to tell your girlfriend the TRUTH about the other woman you’ve been seeing so that your girlfriend doesn’t have to hear about it from other sources and suffer a near anxiety attack in the middle of a dinner party being thrown by her boss.

If you were a real man, you’d FIND a doorway out of this little box of selfishness and oblivion in which you live. You’d FIND a way to recognize that living like a nomad does not make you deep, only pathetic. You’d FIND out that responsibility and commitments aren’t evil constraints but realities of life. You’d FIND that you can’t live like a teenager forever!

Well, what a list of demands, Dame Partlet the hen! And you expect us to stick around for all that? That we will listen to your shouty capitals, your martinet demands, when we could be in the arms of a pliant Chinese woman? Come, come. ‘If you are a real man’ – now there are words to send us right out the door.

And so what is the answer? Perhaps there is none, and nor are the writers of Chinadirt looking for any. They certainly don’t want to hear any advice from us expat guys – though I’m sure most of the email they’ll be receiving from ‘my’ community will be the offensive misogynist bullshit we do so well. No, the point of the site is just to expose what swines we expats can be, and that’s a fine thing to be doing. Seems to me (spite of my comments above) the women writing it know pretty well what they’re about. Long may they shout and punch and scorn. Power upon power to you -- You are right, my dears, all your voices are right. We are the inconstant ones.