Apart from dating and the very occasional one-night stand, I’ve not had a proper girlfriend for about 8 years (a period of time that has slipped by alarmingly quickly). The girl in question was a co-worker at the time – a situation I would never repeat again – and had only been in the country for a couple of years, having lived in Shanghai for the previous years of her life. This made her, to some extent, a complete maniac to deal with in a relationship (as are most Chinese girls I’ve been led to believe). Now I’m not one to generalise in any way, but it is a perfectly reasonable reaction I find, to make a sweeping value judgement over a race of over 1.3 billion – if you’ve had sex with just one of them.
Take this story as an example of her lunacy. She became obsessed with picking up tiny English traits and customs, thinking that by adopting these idioms – she could blend in seamlessly – rather than say, getting to grips with the English sense of humour; black comedy, sarcasm, pessimism, gallows humour – and the like. So in order to help her in this quest, I told her that the very best way to become accustomed to the English way of life was to embrace the quaint toilet ritual that all Brit girls implement when using the loo – but never talk about – whereby they sit on the bog the other way around, facing the wall and leaning on the cistern as an elbow rest for comfort and extra leverage.
And she believed me.
We were only together for a year but I will carry a memory of her etched into my skin forever; during the very early days of our brief romance, I decided to get her name tattooed on me (this is a very clever thing to do – it never fails to impress the ladies and I guarantee 100% that you will not regret it later). You probably think this was a reckless and idiotic action on my part, but there was a certain degree of method in my madness; the girl had one of those ridiculously long and unpronounceable Chinese names, so instead of having the whole thing inked upon my person – I opted to get the initial of her first name: “X”. I also decided to have the tattoo situated inside my lip.
There were dual benefits to this – the most obvious being that the tattoo was completely out of sight, and secondly, that I could claim that the “X” was a signifier of something else at a later date. My love of the X-Factor, or X-Files, or my commitment to the Straight Edge movement for instance.
As luck would have it, a quarter of the tattoo disappeared within a week – leaving a “Y” in it’s place (which goes to show the power of chromosomes if nothing else I suppose). Then during the following year the remainder of the ink faded further – along with the relationship – until only a faint forward slash and dot remained (and still does to this day).
Nevertheless, it still tickles me that somewhere out there, there is a Chinese lady sitting on the toilet the wrong way round, trying to blend in.