These Quiet Lives' of Desperation....

I was hanging out with a sales lady a few weeks ago in Ningbo.   She wasn’t devastatingly pretty but she was pretty enough.  After having visited her factory on a Saturday, I had a day off.  She offered to show me around.   I casually suggested she bring her daughter with her.    I felt guilty, but only slightly, from keeping her away from her family during the weekend.   The factory visit had not gone down well.   It was a pathetic place, full of pathetic personnel and I was disappointed she knew so little about the product I was interested in buying.   As such, I also knew her boss was getting rich selling his product to ignorant ass foreigners too fucking lazy to come over here and compare one site against another.  
When she offered up, as I expected her to, to take me around Ningbo on Sunday, I of course said yes.  We both realized she had a lot of Face to earn back.   But while it’s perfectly ok for me to be a dick at the factory that wants to earn money off me, one must understand where the line lays between being that dick at the factory and well, trying to have a little 素质 outside the factory as well.

A rainy day in Ningbo greeted us, all of which I ignored, because I hadn’t visited Ningbo in years.   The lady’s btw name was Hua.  I was pleased she brought her daughter along.  It would help to ease the tension between the two of us.   Hua’s daughter was smart, sociable and a good Chinese painter.  Her mom was of course proud of her.  Meanwhile, I picked up a few things about Hua’s life story during the day.

She’s 38, with only one kid, and zero interest in having another.  She met her husband through the usual introduction process and they apparently hit it off as she got pregnant round the time of her marriage.   She was 28, and living with her parents, and didn’t know how to cook.   

It was then I began to pick up things here and there, that were all too familiar to me.    I asked her how she and her husband divided up the chores.  She said things just naturally developed.   He cooked and cleaned, and well, she took care of their daughter.  And like many, many a wife I could tell right a way that quite frankly, her talented daughter was the center of her universe.  
When you have one child, you gotta have two, right?   Not with Hua.  She had decided life was exhausting enough.  One would be plenty.

Having had my fill of Hua, I hung out with the daughter, visiting the temples.  Pretty much leaving Hua behind, here and there.   I found Ms. Hua a confident enough person, but one not really believing in her own abilities.   She readily said how “dumb” she was, and I immediately contrasted that with myself confident wife, (you remember her right?  The one always trying to beat the self confidence out of yours truly? )

I was just taken aback by her wanton self-flagellation.    A few of you will be quick to utter something like,

“Oh FFF, that’s just how Chinese talk,”, and my response would be “not anymore”.

We exchanged Wechat addresses and looked at each other’s photos.  Mine of course are full of my kids.  Hers however, are barren of anything resembling a family.  I find many, many Chinese females do nothing but read and post articles to their cell phones.  Or yet another damn Chinese Love Song, both of which I hate cause I can’t read the article easily enough without a dictionary and I can’t understand the fucking song.  After awhile I simply came out asked her,

“What’s up with no pix of your daughter?”

“My husband told me to delete all the family pix. He says it makes us vulnerable to being blackmailed.”

So she did.  (My thoughts came back to Hubby right away.  What a party pooper.)


Finally, way in the dark reaches of her Wechat I found a pic.  I asked her daughter,

“Is this your grandpa?”

Hua hurriedly looked at the pic and let out a big gasp.

“That’s my husband.”

After that, the insults came on a steady basis.

“My husband is fat.”

“My husband looks too old.”

I eventually got the impression she made more than her husband.  He’s studying to become a lawyer by the way.  I couldn’t resist:

“A human rights lawyer?”

No response.

I am well aware of how the Chinese like to demean and bemoan how useless their husbands are.  It’s a national sport in China.   And means nothing.  My wife has made an art out of telling the local Chinese community how utterly useless I am.  I watch China Woman during dinner parties bully China Man around (And yet China Woman somehow still gets angry when China Man “fucks around”…?)

Then Hua’s daughter got involved.  I don’t know how, or why, but this pretty 10 year old girl blurted out, “I sleep with mom and dad”.

Right away I realized how sex deprived Hua was.  And probably China Dad as well. (See above)
I couldn’t help but wonder how frequently this 30 something had sex.   Or if she even missed it?  Sadly, I came to the conclusion Rarely and Probably Not.    A reminder how terribly undersexed Chinese women 30 and above are.

I suddenly asked her what she had done after the long factory visit the previous day.
“I was in bed by 9:30”, she replied.

Meanwhile, I somehow found it in me to walk around a bit.  Found the club I was looking for.  Had my Long Island.  Paid the same price for it I had paid in Shenzhen, Dalian and now Ningbo (50 rmb), walked the city a bit afterwards, and was in bed by midnight.

We in America have all heard the story of the average middle aged man.   The existence of which many of us are now living in this “rich” country.    “Nasty brutish and short”, is more like it.    Some say the true height of America’s global power was in 1945.  Flush with victory.  50% share of the global GDP.   Sure.  I’d like to argue that America’s power and influence was just as great in the 90’s.  A nation on the verge of paying off its national debt (how many tens of trillions is it now?)   A nation flush with victory in the Middle East.   (Let 2000 be the watershed that began the slow death spiral of America as we know it today.)

Only a short generation later look at us now:  a nation with a declining lifespan.  White, Middle Aged Men falling like flies.    We have surely become “No Country for Old Men”.
In short, it has been said the average middle aged man in America “lives a life of quiet desperation”.
And so does China Woman. 

While many a China Man finds an outlet in KTV with his friends, or the club, or the internet hookup, China Woman instead funnels her life through that of her kid.   And little else.  Hua was no different. Remember when she complained that life was “hard enough” with just one kid?  No way she could have two?   Her apartment wasn’t the issue.  She has a thousand sq foot apartment that has tripled in value.  The issue isn’t space.  It’s not money. 

It’s not seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.

I am stuck in the same rut she is.  I have nearly a decade of college tuition screaming down on top of me. And for the life of me I can’t even begin to think of life after that moment.   Meanwhile, my wife is one of the millions of accidental millionaires in China.  Her parents’ house is 1500 square feet.  It has increased in value 7 times. That makes my wife is worth $1.5 million.   I figure in sum she is worth at least $2 million.  Meanwhile her parents barely pay more than $100 a month in rent for a HUD apartment.  They’ve since petitioned to decrease their rent to $60 monthly. 

And yet I see a Chinese Lady with years fewer than mine on this planet already having faced the “Is this it?” phase of her life with seemingly full acceptance.  In fact, I’ve seen too many Chinese Women like this within the Heavenly Kingdom A life reduced to consciously living through her child’s, busy publishing retread tidbits of wisdom on Wechat.   Yes, yes, I already know this is an issue in every country.  But the numbers in China simply speak for themselves.  

Too many Chinese Women themselves living quiet lives of desperation.  Breathing through their kid’s accomplishments, their test exams, their soccer practices, their Chinese Art classes.   China Mom’s enjoyment is filtered through the achievement of her daughter.  Or Son.

Certainly not through her own ability to scuba dive.  Or to travel.  Or to speak a foreign language. ( 你好吗?我很好你呢?我也很好谢谢你!) Or being the last person in China to actually write a blog. Instead it’s filtered through her daughter’s ability to kick a round ball into a net.  

The Tragedy of the White Male in America has no sympathy.  After all, we hit the jackpot living here, didn’t we?  At least I did.  Blue skies.  No honking horns.  Waterfalls.  Clear streams.  But take it a step further (as will be done) and the White Male is the bringer of smallpox to the Aztecs, the scourge of the American Indian, the rapist of a once pristine land.   No one will shed sympathy for us.  It is a long overdue comeuppance in the eyes of many.   We just happen to be alive to see it.

But who is documenting the emotional demise of China Woman?  


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