Why I'll never understand women who say they'll never understand men

Men are easy to understand.

They drink. They fight. They fall down. They get up again. They want lots of sex, and aren't too particular about who they get it from.

Women, on the other hand, are also easy to understand.

They drink. They bitch. They fall down. They get up again. They want lots of sex, and want to be cuddled afterwards, too.

Sure, it's more complicated than that if you really want it to be, but those complications aren't much of a barrier to understanding.

What I really can't understand is people who say they can't understand the simple truths above.

People like our friend China Dirt . Who enters into evidence the following:
  • "got herself a boyfriend" whose avowed priorities were drinking, partying, and fucking, in that order (bad choice, but I understand, see above)

  • she was once in a bar when a threatened barfight didn't happen (OMG! What a coincidence! That's happened to me too!)

  • describes as "one of the weirdest conversations I'd ever had" a half-remembered-through-a-haze-of-alcohol conversation with a similarly lubricated girl.
And the punchline? "Why I'll never understand men".

Personally? I'll never understand the compulsion to post pointless stories about meaningless drunken interactions as if they were indicators of some larger trend.

And yet here I am, blogging about China Dirt again!

My severe case of irony is really starting to itch...


China Dirt Attacks!


I mean, really.

As the last vestiges of credibility crumble from the poorly-made edifice that was China Dirt, their true character emerges. First, they attacked their readers for having opinions, and then when they realized that was a pretty dumb move (I take no credit, but it was yours truly that pointed it out) they then removed the attack and lied about it.

Perhaps the women behind China Dirt can learn to be more like Sharon from Bridget Jones' Diary:
"We women are only vulnerable because we are a pioneer generation daring to refuse to compromise in love and relying on our own economic power. In twenty years' time men won't even dare start with fuckwittage because we will just laugh in their faces."
Perhaps more laughing, more good humour generally in amongst the shrieking, wailing, and gnashing of teeth, is what's missing from China Dirt.

A little bit of humour certainly would have saved an awkward evening not so long ago.


Different day, different bar, same ending

It's becoming clear to me as friends react to the China Dirt story below, that simply trying to explain makes you even more strongly into whatever people already believe that you are.

People are the heroes of their own lives, I guess, & ignore information about other people that might suggest a different picture from the supposedly clear one they first drew.

So it was this afternoon that I found myself drinking in a bar with another attractive expat woman, this time a colleague.

"Tell me straight," I said, "knowing what you know of me, does Hardass Western Girl's story ring true?"

"It rings true," she replied, smiling at my reaction, "but it's not a story about you. Women always make every man they reject into a monster, if only in their own minds. It's quite natural if you think about it. Imagine if you rejected someone for essentially no reason at all, you didn't feel like it, you didn't like his shoes, whatever, and then he turned out to be a really nice guy."

"Then you'd regret it," I said, thinking I could see where the story was going.

"Not exactly. You always need to reject guys completely. His breath wasn't just garlicky: it would kill small children at 10 paces. He didn't pay for a couple of drinks: he tried to get you drunk. He didn't make a sexy suggestion: he grabbed your butt and tried to stick his tongue down your throat."

I waited in silence for her to continue.

"That way, you can justify the fact that you're still single to yourself, and of course to your girlfriends. Look at how she's described you in that blog post! You sound great! So you've got to really be shown to blow it so she can tell the story at all."

At this point her Chinese boyfriend turned up and they left to go see some live music. They asked me to come along, but my Chinese is not good enough to keep up with that crowd.

"There will be girls there!" her boyfriend said. That much I can understand.

I asked my friend to translate: "No, thanks, I'm not that interested in picking someone up at a live show, I'm more of a drinks and conversation guy."

Her boyfriend looked at me like I was an idiot. And I suppose I am, but it could have been the translation. She's a translator, but her Chinese always sounds like it's being spoken in French to me! She won't mind me saying that, I hope!

I went home alone, again. Sadder, but perhaps a little wiser.


The real dirt on China Dirt

Someone blogged about me over at China Dirt, but their "version" of the story gets crucial details wrong. So here's what really happened:

Yesterday, I met a girl. Not in a bar, not in a club, not somewhere sleazy. We met at 798. I'm giving out this detail to indicate why I was more receptive than usual to chatting with this girl since we weren't in a cheapie, hookup joint. She seemed nice so I agreed to meet her that evening for a quick drink at Centro. Ok, not the most creative location but hey, it's a "signal" kind of place. If a girl agrees to meet later at Centro, you know it's a sure thing. If she wants to meet elsewhere, you know you've got a bit more work to do to land that fish. (Hey, when you're horny, any bit of fluff looks beddable!)

I paid for the first round of martinis, of course. Girls may pretend to be modern, but they always seem to wait until the second round to do the "dutch" thing, and sure enough, she insisted on covering the second round. "Ah, you Western girls," I said appreciatively in my northern European accent, hoping to make up for my bad English with sincere compliments. "Nice to be out with a girl who can treat me." She smiled, pleased.

Two martinis for each of us later, the mood was relaxed and the chat was getting flirtatious. But it was a work night so around midnight, I indicated that I was ready to go home. "Your place or mine?" I asked, leaning closer.

She moved away as if she'd been burnt. "I'm going home to sleep."

"Sure you are," I laughed and winked.

"No, really."

I was a bit shocked. Talk about mixed signals! Women want men to read their minds, to not have to ask, there we were at the Centro after some fine conversation and some excellent beverages, and she was going home alone!

She seemed to realise something was wrong. "Now I bet you think I'm one of those 'damn hardass Western girls'" she said, mocking my accent and sentence structure.

Suddenly I snapped back to where we were. Oh yeah, in China. Nowhere else can a sophisticated evening with someone, where you get seven different kinds of come-on, end with basically an accusation of pre-meditated sexual harassment.

If "hardass Western girl" means that you react angrily to a hint of a one-night stand, if you haven't yet learnt the art of polite refusal to a very low-key and no-pressure suggestion, then, yeah, I guess that's what she was.


Is it over yet?

The fireworks have been going on, and on, and on.

Not for a few hours. Not for an evening. But for two weeks!

Watching the Chinese-language news the other day, they excitedly reported that fatality figures were way down on previous years. Only a couple of hundred people died from firework related injuries this year! Makes you wonder what the number was in times gone by.

But it does illustrate an interesting point about the law.

Banned fireworks = poor quality black market fireworks = lots of kids less fingers.

Legal fireworks = good quality, regulated fireworks = lots less kids visiting the emergency room.

I wonder when western governments will get this message about drugs?


My first Spring Festival

Well, so far, to my ignorant Northern European eyes, Spring Festival appears to be the best time to be in Beijing. The traffic of last week has died down. You can get tables at restaurants.

But I'm sure all this has been noted before.

I'm using the opportunity to get out of doors. Amazingly, I got to the location seen on the right by public bus!

It's the "real China" that so many of us think we'll never see, the China of all those half-forgotten National Geographic feature articles.

Amazingly, it's not all gone forever.

You can forget in Beijing, but the real China is still there.


"You'll miss Christmas!"

That's what everyone said at the airport when I was leaving to take up this contract in China: "You'll miss Xmas!"

They were wrong.

Every tree in Beijing, it seems, sports lights and little fake "boxes" of gifts underneath in shiny paper.

But then yesterday someone told me at work that, for the "light-putter-uppers" that all they do is put Spring Festival lights up early!

It was about that time, as I was digesting that information, that I decided to keep a blog. Not for anyone else, really, just sort of a public diary to let me organize my own China thoughts.