I think it’s time to write this tale, about a girl I knew.  Thus the delay on this particular post. Because writing what I want to write about, regarding China Girl is never easy.  Not short.  This will probably as such be a long post.   It was never a love story.  Yet how we met and what transpired will reinforce to many the stereotypes most folks have of both the laowai and China Girl.

I’ve wrote of Lin.   The outwardly conservative, very successful business lady who couldn’t find a man.

I’ve written of the emotionally abused girl whose mother used violence to channel her frustrations at her daughter’s unwillingness to marry at such a young age.

Now it’s time for the girl with no name.  Simply because I’ve forgotten it.   Yeah, her name was probably worth remembering.  And that’s on me. 

About a decade ago, a bit more, I went to a club called YES.  It’s in the Luohu district of Shenzhen.  It’s an older club.  It’s also a place for people like me.  Middle aged folks with jobs and cars and performance reviews.   There are no pretty people in this bar, but there are quite a few prostitutes.  All lined up in a row, talking with each other, their occupations well hidden by their very lack of beauty.
I was asked by a coworker of mine to show up to this particular spot, as a supplier would be there as well.  The unspoken but understood meaning was “Free booze”.    So he gave me directions and off I went. I rolled in around 10 or so I guess.  Early.  The place was still mostly empty accept for a simple table where both the supplier and colleague sat.  Yet the music was already loud.

I grabbed a drink and we made small talk.  My colleague of course didn’t speak Chinese.  It’s always awkward when this happens.  Things are so much easier in China when I can simply speak Mandarin. Having to be conscious of my coworkers not being able to speak Chinese always puts me in a bit of a bind.  First of all, it will without question eventually engender resentment. 

“Why are you speaking Mandarin?  You know fucking well asshole I can’t understand Chinese!  The supplier speaks English, you know!”

I’ve found from experience that is when the corporate plotting begins.  Either your company loves you or they simply can’t wait to get rid of you. 

The days are gone when American Corporations publicly loathe how Americans don’t speak a foreign language.  Those days are long, long gone.  And that boat ain’t coming back….ever!
When I learned Mandarin it was truly a cool thing.  And important.  I stood out.  Now, it’s

“Well we kinda expect a Chinese can fill this job”,


“All the factories have people that speak English”

Of course the only ones who don’t appreciate my readers’ ability to speak Mandarin are the Directors and VP’s of companies that can’t speak it themselves.   American companies, with their trillions in the bank(you know, the same companies asking for a tax cut?) utterly refuse to hire a young man or lady with experience on the ground in China, and treat it as an asset IF they also have to spend 6 months training that person.  (If you are an MBA grad fresh out of school that might be different.)

So I say again Young American with a future (I can only speak to my own country on this) don’t ever assume your Mandarin will get you a job.  It will only supplement your skill, not substitute for it.   And always be leary of speaking Mandarin too frequently in front of your colleagues.

The music was growing louder.

I made small talk with both the supplier and the colleagues…in English.  With drink in hand, I told them I’d walk around a bit. 

I didn’t walk far.

Not 10 feet from our table was another table that faced the dance floor.  Two women were sitting there.  They must have noticed me as I walked in, as one of them turned around right away and said hi.   I said hi back, and she started speaking to me in English.  You know, the simple stuff.  She asked for my number, and I gave it.  I mean, she asked right away.   Within 30 seconds of saying hi, we were exchanging numbers. 

I walked back to the supplier and the colleague of mine(who has since married a Chinese, has a daughter and lives in Nashville.)    

I said thanks for the drink and I left.  I don’t now recall what I did.  But I probably went to another bar.  It was Friday night.   I hadn’t stayed more than 15-20 minutes.
Sunday night I got a text.

It is these situations where good record keeping is important. Frequently I simply couldn’t hear the name of a girl from the din of the noise in the club.  Often I’d simply put down “girl from Yes”, or something like that.  Sounds bad I know.   (As if any of them could spell Fontenot, right?)
But it kept things straight in my head and was good for me.

But this was even worse. 

I’d thought I’d saved her number but hadn’t.

All I got was this text in English.  Bad, broken English.

Basically she asked if she could come over.

She reminded me who it was, a great relief to me.

I said yes.

Not too long afterwards there she was, in my 3 bedroom apartment, with a balcony overlooking the pool.

She continued speaking to me in English, and I swear this is where it got awkward;

It went something like, and I paraphrase;

“I think you’re a nice man.  Can we have sex tonight?”

I nodded.

The actual conversation took about 5 minutes and was in English the whole time.  I couldn’t understand 90% of what she said. 

“Ok, I go take a shower now.”

Her accent was so thick I could only guess at what she was trying to say. 

She walked off down the hall.

I sat there trying to mentally interpret what she had just said.  I had thought she had said the words 

“sex” and “shower”, but I really wasn’t sure.

Then I actually heard the water running.

My head yanked up and I decided to walk towards my room to see what was going on.
Sure enough China Girl was showering. I poked my head in.  I could see red panties.

Were we having sex tonight

How do I play this? 

My first order of business was to not look bad in this whole affair.  But could I be blamed for thinking the way I did?  I mean, there was no dinner, no movie.  Sure wasn’t much foreplay.  Definitely didn’t have a date.

I felt awkward and uncertain.  Yet wasn’t I about to have sex with a beautiful woman?

Oh yes…the physical qualities!

She was tall. Probably around 5.9’ or so.  (1.7m?)

She had dark skin.  Not one of these crazy white skin at all cost types.  Long hair.  Skin wasn’t great but not too bad either.  And in jeans her ass looked really nice.   In short she was a bit of an Amazon.   And like most Shenzhen girls she was from Hunan(Henan?) 

And I had no clue what her name was.  But she was in my apartment taking a shower.

Finally I realized what my problem was;  I had no control of the situation.  I certainly didn’t have the initiative.   As such I was uncomfortable with this whole thing.  Confused.

Then I realized what was almost certainly going on.

She simply wanted to use my shower!

I felt better now about things.   After all, when I first came to China and lived in the dorms this was actually common practice.  Albeit only the daring China Girls did this.  I had a Japanese classmate whom I shared a bathroom with, that sometimes would have a sudden Chinese female visitor come by, shampoo and all in tow, with the simple purpose of using our supply of hot water to take a shower.  Because in 1990 China simply didn’t have a regular supply of hot water to use.   A few times a week hot water would be turned on and all the University Girls would line up to wash their hair, etc during this time period.

The above was a simple enough explanation and also the perfect example of one being self delusional.  I realized this when I saw her in my bed.

Within a second I played it off as best I could and showered as well in the other bathroom.
Then I walked over, got into bed, noticed her towel still on( gotta keep some face!), and just like that we had sex.    And just like that it was over.   Now there are few things I’m perhaps better at today than a decade or even two decades ago.   I think I can run nearly as fast.  I still have my basketball shot.  But I know without a fact I’m a much better lover today than when I was 20.  Or 30.  And yeah, probably 40.

But for all those girls still fortunate enough to have hooked up with me when I was younger I am sorry.

But on that Sunday night while I was no thoroughbredI was definitely no pony.   I didn’t disappoint.  But still….

After disposing of my condom and jumping back into bed, she suddenly sit up, and with my sheets held to her chest she spoke her first sentence of Chinese to me:


Thus began our relationship.

Unlike most others though it was inverted.  There was no buildup. We had sex right away, got to know each other later.    And in retrospect probably the closest to a Chinese nymph I ever came across.   She never spent the night, yet would make the appointed rounds on regular visits.  Middle of the week…weekends. 

Right away the factory I was stationed at heard about her.  How? From my fucking gossipy driver of course.    The word got back she was “tall”, and within a few weeks even the female staff was teasing me.  The driver had spotted her, upon dropping me off, well before I had.  She of course didn’t have a key to my apartment, and as such stood out as she slowly walked back and forth outside the gate waiting for me in her long cowhide coat.   Then of course the driver upon dropping me off would follow her gaze to me, and well after that, I made a mental note for her to never wait outside the gate again.

My main rule with China Girl(all of them), was never to go clubbing with them.  I honestly considered clubbing my private time.  I could sit at the bar, surrounded by the drunks, the couples, the groups of all sorts and usually be left alone.   No one thought I spoke Chinese and as such I was frequently ignored.  And that was fine by me.

But when me and “cowgirl” were together, I noticed right away how “open” she was. by now I hope you realize this will not be a 2 part post   So here we go:

China Girl liked to masturbate.  No sin in that.  But to date she is the only Chinese Girl I’ve ever been with that has masturbated either in front of me or during sex.  The only one. 

The first time I saw it was like this:

We were on my sofa making out when suddenly she pulled her jeans down and red panties(more red panties!) and started rubbing herself.  I was completely in shock.  I just sat there dumbfounded, fully dressed.  I decided to stand up.   I watched.  Her eyes were closed.   She climaxed within 60 seconds, guttural sounds and all.   And it’s at this point I’m feeling rather helpless.

Throughout our relationship this trend would continue. Sometimes to my detriment. Once when giving her oral sex on the sofa(on the sofa, yet again!), she suddenly pushed me away and continued the job on her own.  And again she climaxed.

It’s hard to remain confident in one’s abilities if your sexual partner is always masturbating.  I wondered where she developed the habit?  Probably some bad former lover, I surmised.  All the same she was obviously insensitive to what her male sexual partner might think.  
The funny thing about China Girl is she always wore red panties.  Which if you know your Chinese culture tells you she was around 24 or 25 ie marrying age. 本命年  Of course I knew nothing about this sort of thing then.

Both men and women wear red underwear.  Many of the women wear them nearly every day.  Every twelve years, it is considered good luck to go out and buy yourself lots of red lingerie!  I thought it pretty cool until my assistant, a male, bought them to wear as well.

I began to realize yeah, it just might be hard to sexually satisfy a girl so used to stimulating herself.   I noticed a few more things about her.   One, she really rocked in jeans, but once she was out of the jeans, her ass sagged.   And it wasn’t that attractive.   That is a mean thing to say.  But it wasn’t her fault. 

Eventually we began to have sex at least twice each time she came over.  She was very fit, and once after having had sex twice, then gone out to dinner, she had walked with me a mile back to the apartment.  I wanted her to stay the night, because quite frankly I was feeling horny again and I wanted another go round.  I remember how I kissed her goodbye somewhat tenderly as the taxi driver waited.

Then off she went.

I wondered why she wouldn’t spend the night, and knowing the answer, still asked the question.  The unanimous reply was “she’s living with someone”.

I remember her direct reply to my question: 不方便。 “Inconvenient”

One problem I had with China Girl was that she was always pestering me to have sex with her without wearing anything.   I was worried about this of course, because the last damn thing I wanted to do was get someone pregnant.   Until the end of our days this always, always irritated her.   I thought it best I wear something, as I would last longer.  She thought it best I not, as she would orgasm quicker.   Of course her penchant for not wanting me to wear a condom should’ve told me something right there.

I really liked China Girl’s personality.  She was without question a unique individual.  I discovered she liked to wear wigs.   I thought it amusing.   There were days she wouldn’t come by, and I’d get angry with her, and text her as much.   She’d simply reply to remind me to dress warmer as Shenzhen was growing colder.

Then one day, and I don’t recall why, our conversation turned a bit.  Maybe I brought it up. But I remember very distinctly what I said:

“I won’t date you if you have a boyfriend.  And if you do, I don’t want to know.” 

I honestly felt that way at the time.   She didn’t say much in return. 

China Girl was all business. She’d come by, we’d have small chat, then we’d go right back to my bedroom and get at it. 

But on this night I took her out to a nice restaurant over at Coco Park, a nice trendy part of Shenzhen, very new at the time, yet very near my place.   It was busy and we got put literally in the middle of the restaurant, with tables surrounding us on all sides.   Many easily within eavesdropping distance, should the assholes so wish to do so. 

While at restaurants I knew damn well many a bored Chinese customer knew exactly where I was sitting and with who, as long as a Chinese girl was involved.  That’s what bored people do right?  

Simply look at other people!

I didn’t like the attention, but was used to it.  As such, I always countered by having as innocuous a conversation as possible with whoever I was with.   Pretty much “nothing here to hear, move along”  to the next laowai table you can eavesdrop at.

Well, China Girl probably took what I had said earlier about my own “principles” a wee too seriously, because she chose her timing well.   That is, in a restaurant, during a meal surrounded by dozens of people, thus forcing me to just sit there and smile throughout her entire story.   She probably felt I’d be upset or angry.  I dunno.   All the same she had me where she wanted me.

Her story started with the ominous,

“There’s something I want to tell you.”

I listened only halfheartedly, too busy getting my money’s worth at the dinner table.

“I have a boyfriend.  But I don’t like him, and I don’t know what to do.  I know you’ll be angry but I thought you should know.  I’ve been with him since I was 20.  We were originally engaged.  He was 25 at the time.  He even brought me back to his hometown during Chinese New Year.  But over time I lost interest in him, and don’t know how to break it off.  He has a key to my apartment, and I never know when he’ll show up.  He comes by a few nights a week and stays over.”

While she continued in a steady, I'd say mildly defiant clip, the confusion of it at it all began to clear from my mind.  Deceit had been involved from Day One.   Which strangely enough didn't bother me.  I would continue to find deceit along the way, with others.   Sometimes I felt I was simply a toy put in the closet for later use when the boyfriend was gone.  

“We argue a lot.  I tell him he’s changed, but he simply replies I’m the one who’s changed, that he’s simply stayed the same. He’s 31 now.”

She had a wistful air about her, as I listened to this.  Kind of like a “so what are you gonna do?” look on her face as she told me this story.

“Why are you telling me this?” I asked.

She simply replied,

“I know you didn’t want to know, but I thought I should tell you anyway.”

“He’s just not in my heart”, she said.

I didn’t get up and leave.   I simply continued my meal.  I don’t recall what we did later that night.  We’d probably already had sex at my apartment before going out for dinner anyway.
But I recall anger in myself that quickly dissipated to mere disappointment.

Was I really gonna break up with this girl over this?

Of course not I instantly decided.  And in a way that made me feel bad.  I wondered what principles I had left?   I simply told myself they were out of love anyway. 

She told me how the guy was under pressure to get married, and she of course was as well.  He was ready NOW to get married.  Simple as that.  His family kept asking about her.   All she knew was that she needed a way out, but had none.  Instead she was sleeping with a guy a couple of nights per week that she had no emotional attachment to.   I immediately felt empathy.   She wanted an escape where she felt there was none.  Her unhappiness ran deep.  

As I write this later I have to wonder if he was the one paying the rent? 

I asked her why she didn’t simply change the locks?

“That would make him angry”, she replied.

That night was the turning point in our relationship.

It’s hard not to be a cad in China.  If one speaks(or even doesn’t) Chinese, likes his drink, and likes the atmosphere inside a club, it’s inevitable one will come across women.  Or even outside the club.  Sooner or later a man in China will have his opportunity.   If I wasn’t half as shy I would’ve come across even more.  Perhaps it was this accessibility though that made me devalue my relationship with her.  Upon reflection I’d say this was definitely the case.

And I didn’t want to be involved in a triangle.  Nevermind the eventual countless affairs I eventually had with married women(all in the future!), at that point in my life I just wasn’t ready for the emotional roller coaster my future portended with her.  Maybe her speaking to me, revealing these things to me was therapy on her part.  But I didn’t want to come along for the ride, dude.   Uh oh.  Not me.  No fucking way.

So things began to wind down shortly after that.  I’d come back to China and not tell her I was here. I stopped texting here.  Stopped thinking about her.   Like I said.  Accessibility devalues relationships.  That’s why it’s hard for the laowai in China to commit.  Either he has to change, or he has to really meet someone special(both happened, at the right time, but I’m not ready to tell that story).

Finally one night I was in the club, leaving the men’s room.  I received a text from her.  We had been going back and forth. 

“I’m not in your heart, I know”.

I didn’t reply.  I simply deleted her number, and went back to my drink.  And we never spoke again.


  1. Great story. Keep them coming.

  2. You know...I've written close to 300 posts....but only 3 of this type of post.

  3. I'd also like to see more stories like this.

  4. The thing about translating between English and Chinese only speakers at clubs for business is so true. Especially, when you just want to have a drink and kickback. It's a pain.

    In terms of this China Girl, she seems much more interesting than most of ones I have met. It is rare to see a lady in China just go do what she wants to do and not care about what others think. Seems very rare to me.

    How do see her versus your other relationships?

  5. That is a great question. I met someone very much like her years later. Maybe someday I will figure out how to address it. I've only had a few remotely similar to this one. She stood out, but I was too self absorbed and narcisstic at the time to dwell on it. And that was a shame.


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