One afternoon I was having lunch with a student in the school canteen, when I spotted a girl in a pretty yellow dress. I watched her for a while from a distance. She was fascinating. She was quite tall, slim, and moved with the kind of graceful finesse you only ever see in dancers. I couldn’t take my eyes off her.
“What are you looking at?” asked the student I was with.
“That girl,” I replied, wistfully. “She’s beautiful.”
“Which one?” he said, craning his neck. “I don’t see her.”
“She’s right there, in a yellow dress.”
“That one?” he asked, standing up and unashamedly pointing a finger.
“Not beautiful,” he said, sitting back down. “What’s wrong with you?”
The conventional Chinese idea of beauty is very different to the western idea. To be considered attractive to Chinese guys, girls have to fulfil certain criteria. They should have big eyes, a small nose, high cheekbones, narrow jaw, and fair skin, and there is quite a lot of pressure on girls to tick as many of those boxes as they can. During my time in China, I was faced with more than one girl crying on my shoulder because she thought her eyes were too small.
That said, at least the student knew what he was looking for in a girl. When he asked me to describe my idea of beauty, I had no answer. Instead I just nodded at the girl in the yellow dress and said, “She’s fit.”
“If you like her,” he said, “Go ask her phone number. With face like that, she’s definitely single.”
That was a damning verdict if I ever heard one. It had a lot to do with the language barrier. He was trying gamely to communicate in something other than his native language. But the Chinese in general can be quite abrupt and pragmatic when they want to be. There’s very little room for niceties. The challenge also put me in a bad position as I’d spent the past hour giving the kid a motivational speech about being brave and going after what he wanted in life. I’d left myself no other option but to pull myself together and strut over.
I caught the girl just as she was leaving. Stepping into my confident shoes I introduced myself and asked for her phone number. The girl looked shocked and bewildered. For one awful moment, I thought she was going to run for the door.
“Mine?” she said, looking around.
“But I never talk to foreigner before.”
“Cool. I can be your first.”
Her English name was Anna, and she was from Inner Mongolia, studying at a university in Tianjin, a city just north of Beijing. She was in town visiting her friend, and my student had been right, she was single.
We exchanged a few messages over the next couple of days and she came back to Beijing the following weekend, this time to see me. We went for a curry at a restaurant on one of the top levels of the U Centre, a shiny new shopping mall in Wudaokou. It was the first time she’d ever tried Indian food. In fact, it was probably the first time she’d tried anything else other than Chinese food. Anna was blessed with a childlike innocence it was hard not to like, and her enthusiasm knew no bounds. When she looked at me, her eyes would widen and everything I said or did was, “Very interesting!”
At the end of the evening I walked her to her friend’s place where she was staying, thanked her for her time and turned to walk away. Then I heard her call my name and turned around.
“I miss you,” she said.
“You can’t miss me,” I replied, a little confused. “I haven’t even gone yet.”
“I want to see your apartment.”
I tried to do the right thing and dissuade her. Honest. I had plans to meet Phil and Dave, the other foreign teachers, at a nearby bar for a drink that night. But she was adamant. They say it’s the quiet ones you need to watch, and in this case ‘they’ were right. The moment we were through the door, she was tugging at my jeans.
I have a theory about this. I think Chinese society is so restrictive that a lot of people feel they have to rebel against it, though not in an overt way because that would draw attention to them, so they contain themselves until opportunities like this arise. Then, with all the pent-up tension and frustration, all hell breaks loose and they over-compensate. Within minutes, Anna had my cock in her mouth and was slurping at it greedily.
And that was when Phil and Dave decided to call.
I did what anyone else would probably have done, and let the phone ring. Fuck it.
“Aren’t you going to answer that?” asked Anna, through a mouth full of cock.
“It can wait.”
I answered it. Then proceeded to have a very awkward conversation with Phil and Dave about why I couldn’t meet them.
“Tell them what I doing to you,” Anna said, looking up at me.
“Are you sure?”
“I can’t come out because a girl I met in the canteen is giving me a blow job.”
It soon became apparent that Anna wasn’t so innocent, after all. She loved sex, and had a penchant for doing it in public places. The more risqué the better. In the coming weeks we did it in at least two public parks and next to the lake at the Summer Palace, which I’m pretty sure is a crime punishable by death. She just undid my flies, hitched up her dress, and sat on me while I was relaxing on a bench.
One day, she asked me what the worst word in the English language was. I thought about it for a while, then decided ‘cunt’ was about as bad as it gets and told her what it meant. A few weeks later, she sent possibly the most disturbing text message I’ve ever received in my life.
MY HONEY, TODAY I AM NOT FEEL SO GOOD. MY CUNT IS BLEEDING.
Extracted from the #1 Amazon Bestseller Yellow Fever: Love & Sex in China, out now on ebook and paperback.