Big Ideas (Don't Get Any)

Posted by Pete DeMola on 8. Jul 2010

BEIJING, JULY 8 -- While the Middle Kingdom's capital city is currently one of the most exciting places on earth with its exploding growth, endless possibilities for people with ideas and its raw, gritty homegrown culture, it remains a lover's cesspool.

There. I've said it. But it look me almost four years to do so.

Sure, those of us who are just looking to fuck or get fucked are living a perfect sensual storm -- multitudes of nationalities swirling together, a rapid relaxation of norms and sexual attitudes and the presence of our fine website to help speed things along -- but for those of us who are weary of the dating game and just want to find someone cool to kick back with, something is rotten in the state of Beijing.

We folk who prefer to swap ideas along with our bodily fluids will probably live out the rest our days here in the capital city alone and depressed -- or settling for less before eventually drifting off to Thailand on a vision quest to join our fellow ranks of The League of Disaffected, Hopeless and Wretched Gentlemen.

I'm only half-kidding.

This is the foregone conclusion that I have reached as the half-decade mark of my life in this country draws closer, so don't get any big romantic ideas -- they're not going to happen.

And to embrace my new role as One Who Has Given Up -- and having graduated from the Seven Stages of Grief cycle as conceptualized by Swiss doctor Elizabeth Kübler-Ross -- I will try and make all of you miserable, too.

It's the least that I can do. You can thank me later.

Below you'll find seven archetypes of the fairer sex and "dating" situations that I have come across during my time in this wretched hive of scum and villainy that make the prospects of a happy ending (figuratively, of course) overwhelmingly unlikely.

But first, a few caveats:

  • This breakdown stems from the subjective experiences of a 27-year-old, relatively-attractive heterosexual white male and is not intended to be all-encompassing.

  • A 27-year-old white male who is more Hank Moody or Woody Allen than an alpha-male meathead like, say, Worst Person in the World John Fitzgerald Page or Stifler from the "American Pie" movies.
  • I've omitted the archetypes with which I have little firsthand experience. Feel free to include them in the comments section below.

So here we go.

The One Night Stand
So overrated. What's the appeal? Considering these are usually lubricated by alcohol, they almost always have an anti-climatic ending. You wake up the next morning (or afternoon) next to a complete stranger with whom you only have one thing in common: You're both naked and attempting to retrace the events that led to this joint resolution while nursing raging hangovers. Another notch on the bedpost. Hooray! And who wants to build a relationship with someone who slept with a guy like you on the first "date" anyway? After factoring in the risk of STDs and the introduction of a potential psycho into your life, the final result ends up being rather unsavory.

The One-Night Stand That Turns Into a Two-Night Stand...
Ultimately a waste of time. Instead of waking up au naturel next to that complete stranger (and possible psycho) and slinking out the door like any rational person, you opt to stretch it out for another night. Or three. An endless weekend! Wash, rinse, repeat. And before you've even had time to reflect on recent events and how they factor into your life, you find yourself in a de facto relationship that has likely been sealed over nothing more substantial than a shared love of coitus (and probably mutual whiffs of desperation). As time drags on, you realize that you have nothing in common with this person and would have never been attracted to them in the first place had you met them at a yoga class instead of the bathroom line at Kai bar.

The Student
I understand that landing young, attractive co-eds is wired directly into the circuitry of most men. But the reality -- particularly here in this country -- is far more banal: hallmarks of the Student include exams, homework, research papers, curfews, a lack of life experience and for many, profound immaturity. Say farewell to late nights, weekend trips, networking with other professionals, hanging out at her apartment or doing anything that requires money. However, if you are a fan of early-morning dates, helping to improve her English and fighting for attention with her instructors and giggling classmates, then go for it.

The Early-Twenties Climber (ETC)
Certainly desirable partners, but wrong time and place. Climbing the corporate ladder is downright Sisyphean in this country -- particularly in the media and fashion industries -- and if you plan on dating an ambitious ETC who has just entered the workforce, expect long hours, late night phone calls from her team leader, marathon baijiu and K-TV sessions with the top brass and a total depletion of energy when she gets home... if she gets home. It's like "The Devil Wears Prada" on steroids. But with the Top Boss trying to fuck her.

The Late-Twenties Lonely (LTL)
It must be rewarding to finally be in a position of job security after scratching your way to the top for most of your twenties. Here, the ETC has emerged from her cocoon as someone who is in a position to settle down and lead a relatively-normal life. Thing is, that biological clock is ticking... and paired with familial pressure ("When are you going to find a nice boy and give us a grandson?") and several years of Scorched Earth Policy on the Battlefield of Love, the LTL comes off as too strong and clingy -- diving directly into talks of the future and commitment before things have a chance to evolve organically.

The Foreigner
Don't get me wrong: I am not adverse to dating citizens of different ethnic stripes -- I believe that Yellow Fever is a reversible condition -- but I came here to live and breathe Chinese culture and not commiserate about this wacky land and its struggles with a fellow outsider. Past forays into the laowai dating pool have always led to marathon gripe sessions and Seinfeldian "What's the deal with..." conversations that grow old rather quickly while my Chinese skills atrophy and die on the vine.

That Chick Who Is In That Band or Something
Everyone is happy except for me. This is the ideal girl that you see at rock shows or other creative industry events: Crush Object #1. Problem is, she is almost always accompanied by her exact male counterpart: intelligent-looking, attractive, fashionable and beaming with unfettered happiness. The two are the portrait of perfect contentment. Upon much hand-wringing and scenario cycling, you finally approach -- her boyfriend, that is -- and end hanging out with him and having a great time. "What a cool guy," you say to yourself. "And what a great couple."

Not discouraged enough? Here is an additional parting shot:

What's the solution? Just read between the lines. Or the margins.


Agree? Disagree? Give us an earful below!

Image by Kent Loset.

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