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.