I think what freaks me out fascinates me the most is that pretty much every single one of these guys is married. With kids. Sometimes multiple kids. Or relatively new kids. And they talk about them proudly, and mention their wives fondly, and lament how hard it is sometimes to have to stay at teh factory for weeks on end and not go home.

And then they take me to a karaoke club or pub and we meet up with their girlfriends. Or, in the case of the karaoke clubs, they “meet” new girlfriends for the night for $200RMB ($25US). And this is expensive to them, from what I undestand, but obviously worth it in their eyes. There are no furtive glances, or shamed looks, this is the way things are here. In fact, many of them say as much:

“Dave, Dave. We work very hard. Usually 10 to 14 hours per day. And you have to relax. This is the way things are here.”

And, of course, I nod, and smile and say “yeah yeah. Hao hao hao.”

Most of these seem to be actual girlfriends, too, not paid for, though that certainly happens. And their wives must know, they must have been the girlfriend of someone once… or perhaps are even now.

All of them are surprised that I am not married, at 31, or that I don’t have a Chinese girlfriend, yet. They promise to find me one… and I can’t say I disagree with them. I only wish.

At dinner, in mixed company, they say that it will be very “dangerous” for me to be in China. That I will surely attract many girls with my American money good looks. Apparently, I am handsome to the Chinese girls. If only I spoke more of the language than the basics. I’m not sure how far I can get with “Hello, thank you, and you? Excuse me, please sit down, goodbye.”

There is something different about the women here, though, from what I have been able to ascertain in my limited experience. For all the oppression and demure sexuality, they are much more open here, much quicker, and do not (as far as I can tell) play games. It seems you can fall in love forever in one night in China. And this is all without the benefit of a common language. If only we could all be so open back in the States…

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