Thank you for your rainbow fart?

I was chatting with a Chinese friend recently when she reeled off a Chinese phrase I wasn’t familiar with. Her English isn’t very good, so she does that a lot. If I’m not sure what she means which is often, I just use the ‘translate’ function on WeChat, which comes in dead handy. On this occasion she said: xi xi ni de cai hong pi, which translates directly as ‘Thank you for your rainbow fart.’

Excuse me?

This was something I didn’t recall hearing before, and I think most uninitiated would agree this it comes across as equal parts cute, bizarre and mystifying.

After a lengthy explanation from my friend and a little additional investigation I discovered rainbow fart is Chinese internet slang coined to describe the flamboyant and often unwarranted compliments fans bestow upon their idols. The root meaning is said to infer that you are so blinded by your idol’s looks or talent that you think their farts smell of rainbows. As is so often the case, the saying now seems to have crossed-over into more mainstream usage.

I love the way the Chinese utilize flatulence and make it part of every day life by virtue of incorporating it into so many idioms. Another one I am especially fond which is used to berate someone for doing something completely unnecessary or making something needlessly complex or laborious goes something like, tūo kù zì fàng pì which translates as “Don’t take your trousers down to do a fart.”

You can’t help but be impressed.

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When a Woman Comes…

Here’s where i learned something invaluable about Chinese women. Or maybe women in general. it’s difficult to know because most of the women I know are Chinese. If you really want to see them, tell them you’re busy, and there is no way you can possibly rearrange your schedule. They’ll turn up on your doorstep the next day fully expecting you to drop everything to accommodate them.

Her name was Celia. At 30, she was slightly older than most of the women I dated. We’d known each other for a couple of years, but only online. We had lots of mutual friends, but had never met face-to-face before. When she arrived I was teaching a class, so she had to wait at the school gate for me for over an hour.

When I first saw her, as well as being relieved she wasn’t a catfish, I was surprised. She was much slimmer and prettier than her photos suggested. They didn’t really do her justice. She wore a white dress with red shoes and had long, black hair, which all made her look a bit like a ghost from a Japanese horror film. Her demeanour just added to that image. There was something alluring and mysterious about her. I can’t lie, it was a weird set-up. I’d already arranged to meet Lily, a girl I met on Facebook, the following week, which was a public holiday in China, so I made it clear from the outset that Celia could only stay with me for four days. And so began perhaps the weirdest four days of my life.

She asked endless questions, to the extent that for much of the time it was like being in a psychiatrist’s chair. She would ask me something, then say, in an accusatory tone, “I asked you that question a year ago and you gave me a different answer!”

No matter how often I tried to explain that people’s views evolve and change over time so both my answers could be true. Plus, I couldn’t remember what I did last week, nevermind last year, it wouldn’t wash. It didn’t help that her questions were the kind that rarely even have a definitive answer; what makes you happy? How important do you think money is? Do you believe in love?

Her lines of enquiry were barbed with thorns and stumbling blocks. Intentionally, I think. I’m not self-important to think it was all geared toward tripping me up. I think it was more she just had a tendency to over-analyse everything.

She was a deep girl, and that was okay. In moderation. I can talk about UFOs, life after death, or the struggle for equality in modern society all night. But I also like to discuss less weighty topics like football and stand-up comedy. She seemed deeply wary of me, and rightly so you might think. But having someone I barely knew in my apartment scrutinising my every move and second-guessing me 24-hours a day made me uncomfortable. If she was that unsure about me, she could just leave.

On night three, the inevitable happened and I dry humped her to within an inch of her life. We didn’t have full sex because she was on her period and I once fainted after a particularly gruesome bout of period sex. Celia wasn’t very experienced. In fact, she told me she’d only ever had sex with one guy, and I had no reason to disbelieve her. The funny part is that the next morning I woke up to find her sitting on the edge of the bed, sobbing.

“What’s wrong, Celia?”

“I am so regret what we did last night,” she said in a weak, trembling voice.

“What do you mean?”

“The sex,” she said, bowing her head in shame.

This confused me. Had I missed something? “But we didn’t have sex…”

“Almost.”

“Almost means it didn’t happen,” I reasoned. “It’s like ‘almost’ getting struck by lightning. It’s only really worth worrying about if it actually happens. We just kissed and hugged.”

“Sex hug.”

“But still just a hug.”

I’ve known for a long time that Chinese girls have a tendency to be drama queens, but this was next level.

As the end of the four day nightmare approached, Celia made it clear she didn’t want to leave. I didn’t tell her I was going to meet someone else. I didn’t see the need to do that, so I just told her I was going to the train station. She kept asking me about ticket prices and train times, probably to try to ascertain where I was going, and would then do that thing where she asked me the same question two hours later to see if I would give the same answer as if it were some kind of police interrogation. It was exhausting. I don’t know what she expected me to do. You can’t just show up on someone’s doorstep without an invitation and expect them to cancel plans that had been in place for months on your behalf.

Eventually, she said she was making other arrangements, too. That was fine with me. By that point I just wanted her out of my hair. She came with me/followed me all the way to Guangzhou South Railway Station, where I made an excuse and escaped into the crowd before she could question me any more. I was free at last.

This is an edited extract from the book This is China: Misadventures in the Middle Kingdom Part 4 – The Return, out now on paperback and ebook.

666 – The Number of the Smooth

I’ve talked before about the little cultural differences between China and the West, and also the influence of numbers in China like Double Eleven and 520.

Here’s an especially weird one…

If you are a Westerner, or come from any country with a Christian influence, you will no doubt recognize the number 666 as being the mark of the devil, or the Number of the Beast, as mentioned in the Book of Revelations (13:17-18) and famously popularized by Iron Maiden. Basically, in Western culture the number is representative of the Antichrist (please refer to the classic movie the Omen) and has become synonymous with Satan.

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However, in China, 666 has nothing to do with Satan whatsoever, and is actually a positive thing.

This is because the Chinese language is full of homophones, which makes it easy to turn numbers into proxies for words and phrases. In this case, the Mandarin pronunciation of the number 6 (in pinyin, liu) is the same pronunciation as the character which means ‘smooth, or well.’ Therefore 666 has come to mean something like ‘everything is going well/smoothly’ and you often see it as text shorthand or incorporated into group chats.

This is a relatively recent phenomenon and is believed to have evolved directly from China’s obsession with the computer game League of Legends (LOL). Players would use it as a quick and easy way to express admiration for good gameplay, first in open chat forums then later on livestreaming platforms, meaning that often all an observer would see would be a string of 6’s.

So there ya go.

For more cultural analysis, check out the This is China: Misadventures in the Middle Kingdom series of books.

This is China: Misadventures in the Middle Kingdom Part 2 – Hunan Province (Extract)

After fleeing recession-hit Britain in September 2007, I spent a year living and working as an English teacher in Beijing before meeting a girl and moving to Tianjin, northern China, which is very much like a Chinese Middlesbrough. If you’ve never heard of Middlesbrough, then you get my point. Needless to say, the girl promptly dumped me for another guy leaving me in a strange city in a foreign country with no friends and a job I hated. I taught in a primary school, and though they were sweet and adorable on the outside, on the inside those kids were the embodiment of evil. They almost broke me. I spiralled into a life of booze, solitude and borderline depression, punctuated only by the occasional bout of meaningless sex. I didn’t think I would survive another Tianjin winter, and overall the place didn’t leave a good impression on me, so I decided to run down my contract at my school and move somewhere else in China. Hopefully, somewhere warmer.

I didn’t want to teach kids anymore, so I found a job as a writing instructor at HMMC (Hunan Mass Media College) in Changsha, Hunan Province, which was about as close to journalism as I could get at the time. I didn’t know anything about Changsha. But by this time I’d learned not to jump into anything blind, so I did some research. Located on the Xiang River, Changsha is described as a ‘culturally important’ city, though not internationally recognized in the same way Beijing and Shanghai are, and has over 3,000 years of history. It was occupied by the Japanese for a short time during the Japanese-Sino war of 1937-45, and is the place where Mao Zedong (Chairman Mao, the revolutionary founding father of the PRC) went to school and converted to communism. These days, it is better known as both a commercial center and an entertainment hub, and is home of Hunan TV, one of the biggest channels in the country which pumps out endless variety and talent shows which the Chinese lap up.

Juliet, a girl I’d met whilst travelling in Shanghai two years earlier, came to meet me the day I arrived and brought a suitcase with her meaning, I assumed, she planned on staying for a while. That was fine by me. I hadn’t seen her for ages, and we had a lot of catching up to do. The very first night, things started getting hot and steamy. While we were kissing and fumbling on the sofa, she asked if I had a condom. I didn’t. But I remembered my contact from the college telling me there was a twenty four -hour supermarket nearby. I didn’t remember exactly where, but how hard could it be to find?

I grabbed a handful of money, ran out the door, down three flights of stairs, out of the apartment block and down the road. It took a while, but I eventually found the supermarket and stocked up on condoms and soft drinks. As I left, I was hit with a realization. I didn’t actually know where I lived. I was completely lost. I’d been so excited about the prospect of finally bedding Juliet that I’d left the apartment without my phone. I didn’t even know the name of my street. I’d only got off the plane about six hours earlier.

So I stumbled around for most of the night clutching a pack of unopened condoms and whimpering softly to myself. I tried to retrace my steps, but found that almost every building looked the same, especially in the dark. I eventually found my apartment again a few hours later but by then, Juliet was sound asleep and the moment had passed. I figured having waited over two years already, another day or two wouldn’t matter too much.

This is China: Misadventures in the Middle Kingdom Part 2 – Hunan Province is available now on paperback and ebook

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OMG it’s Chinese Valentine’s Day!

Most things in China are the same, but different. Therefore, they have the equivalent of Valentines Day, but it doesn’t come around on February 14th like its Western counterpart. Known as the Qixi Festival, it occurs instead on the 7th day of the 7th lunar month, which makes it especially tricky to remember as the date keeps changing. This year it falls on August 25th, while in 2019 it fell on August 7th.

This shouldn’t be confused with either ‘Single’s Day’ on November 11th (11/11, geddit?) May 20th (an ‘unofficial’ Valentine’s Day known as 520 because the numbers sound like ‘I love you’ in Mandarin) which are both comparatively new festivals. The Chinese are crazy about festivals. An increasing number are celebrating February 14th, too. Personally, I feel most of these romantic festivals are spearheaded by Chinese girls, who do like to be spoiled.

Qixi, originally known as Qiqiao Festival, originated from the Han Dynasty. There are many variations, but the general tale tale is a love story between Zhinü a weaver girl,  and Niulang, the cowherd. Their love was forbidden, so they were banished to opposite sides of the Silver River (symbolizing the Milky Way). Once a year, on the 7th day of the 7th lunar month, a flock of magpies would form a bridge allowing the lovers to reunite the for one day. A more thorough telling can be found here

If you want to find out more about the nuances of Chinese culture, check out the author’s books.

YELLOW FEVER EXTRACT – Cherry Pie

When I got back to Changsha I had a message from a student of mine called, Cherry Pie. This was a girl who never went home during the holidays in case the family that adopted her put her to work in the paddy fields. She heard I was leaving the school, and wanted to go out for dinner to say goodbye. No problem. I took her to a restaurant near my apartment, where we had a long talk. At the end of the night, when the last bus to the other side of town was due, I reminded her because I didn’t want her to miss it. She stayed in her seat, looking at me with puppy dog eyes.

She didn’t want to leave.

We went for a walk instead, and then there was only one place we could go. My apartment. We hugged, we kissed, she took off her dress and we got in bed.

And then she told me she was a virgin. the irony of her being called ‘Cherry’ wasn’t lost on me.

Some guys might be into that kind of thing, but it weirded me out. Just to be clear here, she was twenty years of age. I didn’t want to be the one to take the most precious thing she had from her, especially as I was leaving so soon. So for once in my life, I did the right thing. Or at least, what I thought was the best thing for all parties. I left her in bed, went out and got drunk.

All night I asked myself what the fuck I was doing with my life. There was a hot, naked girl in my bed at home, a virgin no less, and I’d chosen to go out drinking by myself rather than give her what she so obviously wanted. I was conflicted.

I half-hoped she’d be gone by the time I got back. But when I tiptoed in a few hours later, Cherry Pie was still there, still awake, and pretty upset with me. She didn’t understand why I’d gone out and left her. In her mind, she’d offered me the most valuable thing she had to give, and I refused. It was the ultimate rejection.

She only spoke to me once more after that night, a couple of years later. She asked me if I regretted my decision. I said yes, I most definitely did. Sometimes, there’s a price to pay for doing the right thing.

This is an extract from the #1 Amazon Bestseller Yellow Fever: Love & Sex in China, available on ebook and paperback now.

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Dating Chinese Women – The Phone Number Conundrum

When you’re out and about in China, don’t be surprised if girls come up to you and ask for your phone number. Guys do it, too. That’s a little disconcerting, but is a product of the general kudos that comes with having foreign ‘friends,’ especially in the smaller towns and cities where it’s more of a novelty.

Take it in your stride and don’t get too excited. The phone number thing can lead to all kinds of misunderstandings. In Western culture, if a girl comes up and asks for your number, or even better, gives you hers, you could be forgiven for thinking you’d be onto a winner. Otherwise, she wouldn’t give you her number, right?

Wrong.

It’s not that simple in China. Most things aren’t that simple in China. There are huge cultural differences.

Let’s, for example, say that you are out walking one afternoon, meet a woman, make a bit of small talk and exchange phone numbers. You might go home and send her a text message. The odds are, she won’t reply.

Yeah, she might be busy, so you leave it a day or two and text her again.

No reply.

If she is especially hot, or you are especially desperate, you might try one more time.

Still no reply.

It’s at this point that most Western guys give up, because in our culture if a girl doesn’t reply to your messages she isn’t interested.

Not necessarily so in China.

There, they value patience and persistence much more than western girls do. If you ask Chinese couples to tell you how they met, it’s not unusual to hear slightly creepy tales of overly possessive behaviour and what, to our Western minds, sound a lot like stalking. One girl I know told me that her then-boyfriend won her over by standing outside her dormitory every night and following her whenever she went out. In the end, she just gave in and ‘accepted’ his love, whereas most Western women probably would have called the police.

If you concede defeat the girl will conclude you didn’t really like her much anyway, otherwise you wouldn’t have given up so easily.

Get it?

Extracted from the book Dating Chinese Women: Tips, Tricks & Techniques. Available in ebook and paperback NOW

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Finding Women in China – Off the Beaten Track

If going to bars and clubs isn’t your thing, don’t worry about it. You will also find an abundance of single ladies in shopping malls, cafes, supermarkets, parks, museums, libraries and public attractions of all descriptions.

Chinese women have pre-conceived ideas of what a ‘gentleman’ is, and it’s easy to play up to that. Introduce yourself and pretend to be lost, or ask for directions. A nice trick is to ask her opinion on something. This gives the impression that you value her thoughts and ideas. You can expect to be rejected a lot, obviously. But this is a numbers game, so the more women you approach the higher your chances become. It’s like being a footballer. The more shots you attempt, the more goals you score.

Approach them in much the same way you would a western girl, but with one crucial difference:

You don’t need any fancy openers here.

You’re foreign, so she’s already interested in what you have to say. Just be non-threatening, smile a lot, and over polite. Preface whatever you say with, “Excuse me, miss. Do you speak any English?” The vast majority speak at least some, but you are also giving her a convenient ‘get out’ clause. If she isn’t interested she can just say “no” and you can both move on.

Taking part in extra-curricular activities is another good way to meet women. Join a gym, a social club, or a Chinese class and look out for cultural events and activities like dumpling making and tea ceremony classes. Chinese women are very proud of their culture and history, and would love to tell you more about it. Also, the male-female ratio at most of these events is heavily weighted in your favour. Bonus.

If that’s too much trouble, volunteer for English corners or English clubs. You won’t have to spend too long looking for them. As soon as the people who run them find out there is a new foreigner in town, they’ll be begging you to get involved. Many private schools run such events to attract new students, and it isn’t unheard of for teachers at different places to swap duties and appear at each other’s English corners just to meet new women.

Extracted from the book Dating Chinese Women: Tips, Tricks & Techniques. Available in ebook and paperback NOW!

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Interview with Alex Coverdale – Part 3

Last time, we talked about travel destinations and offered some advice for solo travelers. Now, we turn our attention to sex and women.

What kind of women do you go for?

I get asked that question a lot. I love oriental women. If I was explaining this to a woman, I’d be more sensitive about it and say something about how much I love their character and caring attitude. But the truth is, my attraction is way more physical. I just love dark hair, skin and eyes. I haven’t dated a Caucasian woman in years.

Let’s talk about sex!

Okay.

How old were you when you lost your virginity?

Fifteen. In a cold, wet alley on Christmas Eve. She was Eighteen. It was shit. I was drunk, and had no idea what I was doing anyway so she had to go on top. I remember going home with all the skin on my ass shredded. I saw her again a couple of weeks later and asked if I could walk her home. She said, “No, I’d better not. My fiancé is here and we’re getting married in two weeks!”

How many women have you slept with?

I don’t know. I stopped counting in my mid-twenties. Back then it was a dozen or so. Things moved up several gears when I moved to China. Suddenly, I didn’t even have to try any more. I just had to be there, and girls would flock to me. I’m not special, they do it with most white guys. After I learned a bit about them, and adjusted to the various social differences, I couldn’t fail. You can read about all this in Dating Chinese Women – Tips, Tricks & Techniques. By the time I left China I suppose my grand total would be fifty or so. If you include ones I’ve paid for it would be double. Plus another dozen since I left.

So you still meet Chinese girls? How?

Sure. I dated three last year alone. I have my methods, none of which would be possible without my smartphone. The last one I slept with I met on Facebook about two years ago. We had a mutual friend and she just popped up in my feed. A few months ago she visited England on a student exchange program, so I went to the city she was staying in, took her to dinner, and then back to my hotel. It was one of the best nights of my life.

What kind of lover are you?

Very generous. Here’s my Number One tip; make sure the lady comes first. Use your tongue, you fingers, whatever it takes. Then, you can pretty much do what you want with her, and she won’t even care if you manage two pumps and a squirt. I am quit vanilla, though. I’ve been around and had a lot of experiences, but nothing too weird.

What’s the weirdest you got?

A couple of years ago I met a Chinese student in London. One thing led to another, and we ended up in bed back at her place. It was all going well until she started saying things like, “Fuck me harder, daddy,” and asking me to hurt her. I’m not into sadism. Each to their own, but I think sex should be a pleasurable experience, not a painful one. I didn’t mind the daddy talk. That was hot. But that got old when, after we’d finished bumping uglies, she turned to me and asked me to tell her a story.

Do you worry about your sexual health?

Not at all. I almost always use condoms, and I get regular health checks. By the way, when you travel, especially to Asia, always take condoms with you. There are a lot of fake products available, even in big stores, and one thing you can’t afford to take chances on is condoms. In some countries, notably Thailand, you might find the sizes are naturally smaller which means they are less comfortable and more prone to breaking.

My latest book, Dating Chinese Women – Tips, Tricks & Techniques, is available now on ebook and paperback.

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Top Tips for Dating Chinese Women

1: To make a good impression, always be polite and respectful – open doors, pull her chair out for her in the restaurant, let her choose from the menu first, etc.

2: Be attentive, and ask her questions about herself. Even if you aren’t generally interested, fake it.

3: Dress smartly and look presentable.

4: Wear aftershave

5: Steer the conversation towards your assets – your house, car, earnings, savings, etc.

6: Know the basics about Chinese culture, and learn at least a few words or phrases to show you are willing to make the effort.

7: Be positive, and never openly criticize your family. The family unit is very important in Chinese culture, don’t disrespect it.

8: Don’t put pressure on her. Let things move at her pace, which will probably be a lot slower than you are used to.

9: That said, remember the onus is on you to take the lead. Expect to be forced to break through a wall of token resistance.

10: Impress her. She likely has many potential suitors. Stand out from the crowd. Luckily for you, being a foreigner, that part is effectively done for you.

11: Try to display some of the qualities she likes; kindness, responsibility, and a good sense of humour are top of the list.

Extracted from the book Dating Chinese Women: Tips, Tricks & Techniques. Available in ebook and paperback NOW

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