"Come on up"

Many years ago I was stationed at a factory in Shenzhen.  I was sent there to basically be a project manager for various aftermarket products my American company was building.   That is, instead of buying the original parts from a Korean or American company(usually Korean),  I was sent overseas to find a factory that could take samples of these original parts and reverse engineer them to an “aftermarket” or “copy” spec.

This was legal as long as we did not put any OE logos on them.  For example, “Samsung” or “LG”.   Further, the aftermarket spec was only 80-90% accurate.  But the dimensions were so small it still worked.

Alas, I was quite busy.  I worked 6 days a week, quite often late into Saturday night, knee deep in grease.  I disdained my American counterparts back home immensely,   as they would go home promptly at 5pm, and never worked weekends. 

Upon getting back to my apartment on weekends, I would shower and change out of my factory clothes.   I threw them in a hamper, knowing my Ayi would wash them sooner or later.   (sometimes I wouldn’t even bother showering, as quite frankly, nobody could tell)

Then I’d hit the club. 

There was really only one club I knew at the time.   It was a club introduced to me by my suppliers.   It was a huge place over at the Shenzhen Sports Stadium.   Quite airy with pool tables and a very large outdoor drinking and eating area.  Inside was at times quite the raucous scene, full of lower and middle class Chinese, many of them ugly, but certainly not all of them.   It was simply a good dance club with ordinary, average people, all of whom had jobs.  Wonder where China’s elementary teachers went to have fun?  This place.   The buyer for Target?  Ditto.  They were predominantly middle aged.    Nary a gold digger in the building. 

Alas, it was a place I absolutely loved taking girls I’d met too.  It was a test pure and simple.  If they could dig my hangout, they’d have a future with me.   Regrettably many couldn’t past the test.  You see it’s fun and quaint to hang out with an American until you find out,

“Sorry dear, I’m not taking you to a club with a table charge tonight.”

“Oh you’ll get your face, but it’ll be on my terms and a time of my choosing.  Just not tonight.”

There were no 1200 RMB table minimums.    And best of all I could get my favorite drink by the pitcher!  Long Island Iced Tea.  100 rmb.   But I didn’t know any of that then.   I was still the dumb laowai drinking by the glass at 50 rmb per pop.   

Nor could I hold my liquor.   Not that it mattered in the least.  If the bad booze and noise didn’t kill you the 2nd hand smoke would.    But I was a typical guy that worked hard all fucking week, nonstop, was well compensated, and the only way I could relax and prepare for the next week was to drink as if tomorrow would never come.

And I still couldn’t hold my Long Island’s.   Simple as that.  Not yet anyway.

But I bring that up because it was a good thing.   After a few Long Island’s I was nothing but a slurring white angel with blue eyes hurtling down the highway to hell as quickly as I could.   Not thinking about tomorrow, not caring less what would happen an hour from now.   Though I had a team reporting to me, I was overworked and alone, always thinking my work was underappreciated, just like every other ambitious fellow did.

And it was hard NOT to look down upon the VP’s back home in America whose bonuses depended upon the value I created, none of whom had a fucking clue how to do my job.  VP’s who were VP’s only because of where they went to school.   They resented the fact I didn’t “mind my place” and via my body language made no secret of the fact I looked down upon them.    It was a mutual “fuck you” society, and of course they won.

The Long Island’s really knocked me out, and like I said earlier, that was a good thing, because it greatly reduced my level of inhibition.    The alcohol simply stripped away my shyness.  It helped me meet girls.  And as I found myself alone early in the morning of some long ago weekend, I saw a girl standing alone next to the entrance to the dance floor, with a 35 rmb Heineken in her hand.   I can’t drink beer, so I don’t know what it tastes like, but Heineken seems to be the beer of choice in Shenzhen’s night scene.

We clinked glasses and said something and I got her number.  This was before the era of WeChat.  Then I went home and stumbled into bed and went to sleep.   I texted her on a Sunday afternoon and we met at a local open air bar and restaurant street.  She ordered a simple OJ.   I probably ordered a simple apple juice.   We chatted for about 30 minutes, then got into a taxi, went back to my apartment and fucked all night.   I use this word, because that’s really all it was.   

We never went on dates.  Never to a movie or a meal.  We never actually left the apartment.    She came over, we did our business, and that was that.  
I’ll say right now her face wasn’t very attractive to me.  She wasn’t homely, and she wasn’t ugly.  But she wasn’t a girl I’d think twice about on the street.   She wasn’t someone I’d turn around for just one more look at. 

She was in her upper thirties and couldn’t possibly tell you her name.  Nor could she tell you mine.   That is my English name.    But over the months of our sessions, which were weekly, I inevitably began to know more about her.   She had a son about to graduate from high school, and she had obviously married at a young age, in the countryside.   You guessed it, an arranged marriage.

She rarely saw her husband and they only had sex about once a month.  I don’t even think they lived together.  She ran a business, which I can’t recall was, and when I asked her how she spent her free time she simply told me she sat in front of a laptop all day watching movies and eating seeds.  (someone remind me the English name?  I can’t recall right now..吃瓜子。)

But over time before she became annoying I began to appreciate her.  Selfishly speaking she had a fantastic body.  Lean, dark, with great curves.   Not an ounce of fat, anywhere.  She never worked out.  But her body was one of the best I’d ever seen.   In the beginning she was perfect for me.  Never hassled me.  It was business.  She had a need, which I fulfilled, and she always left soon after. 

I felt sorry for her.  I began to understand there were probably millions of middle aged Chinese women just like her.   Alone, unhappy, leading desperate lives void of passion.   Some stuck in a society with no leverage.  I could tell as she had a son that her husband had all the power in the relationship, and she accepted it.   Indeed, she struck me as someone that had long ago accepted her fate. 

I never really thought about it, but I’m sure she bragged to her friends about  “her laowai”.    In a thankful way I noticed her new lingerie.  The effort she put forth was obvious and I always made sure to say something nice. 

She did have a nasty habit of biting into my shoulder during sex, which hurt.   I guess she was having an orgasm.  I lacked the interest to ask though. 

I liked the fact she never tried to take advantage of me.  Never tried a “why don’t you take me and my friends out?” moment on me.  

Knowing what I did about her definitely won over my sympathetic side.   I had hit the jackpot:  a steady, low maintenance booty call upon demand.

But I was naïve to think that wouldn’t change.

Coming home from work I got the first text,

“I’m near your building.”

That’s all it would say.

I think I must have sighed and said something like,

“Come on up.”

Because after that the texts were incessant.  Just nonstop.   Fair to say annoying..

“I’m in your lobby.”

“I’m 5 minutes away.”

And suddenly I began to lose interest.

(to be continued……)


  1. Long Island Ice Teas-the drink the made many men (and women)successful clubbers. Pitchers were even better. Brings back many good (and bad) memories.


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