Sometimes I get frustrated writing this blog because I just want to skip all the crap and get directly to the good stuff, ya know? Like how you just want to skip the meal and get straight to dessert. I really like dessert…Cheesecake…Mmmm…
However, I try to follow the age old adage of “When I finish my peas, I can eat what I please.” –Eric Foreman, That 70’s Show.
Also, what great love story ever started with two people meeting, falling love and living happily ever after? That’s when the movie ends! Nobody wants to see that… Carrie had to go through a million guys before she ended up with Big. Ross had to sleep with that girl from the copy place so the show can go on.
In hindsight, I really did enjoy the journey. It was great fun and I wouldn’t skip any part of it! I learned so much about myself, and have zero regrets.
That’s hindsight though, always the smart mouth. While it’s happening, you wouldn’t believe what a Whiny Nancy I was! (Am…)
I whined, I cried the first year in China.
I whined, I cried the second year on the way back to China.
“Oh God, the loneliness is soul crushing! Once I got so sick and thought that if I died, no one would find me until Monday when I fail to show up for Accounting class! Or maybe the kids would just be so happy not having to do another trial balance, they wouldn’t even report it! ”
Funny how I used to think of myself as a lone wolf before China. Solitary, introspective, independent like North Korea.
Loneliness, or the fear of loneliness can drive a person to do things they normally wouldn’t. Such as hooking up with a coworker.
Now office romance isn’t exactly uncommon. In fact most people meet their spouses at work. Plus this is China, most expat couples in the school were colleagues. They almost hope you hook up because then there’s a higher chance of both of you staying another year. The most senior foreign teachers were a couple who have been in Shanghai for 7 years. They just had a baby last year. They are never leaving.
I, being the stickler I am to rules, always believed in never dipping your pen in the company ink. Never shit where you eat. Etc.
I got many “offers” from the male staff to have “relationships”. By offers, I mean practically sexual harassment suits waiting to happen, if this wasn’t China. And by relationships I mean a “roll in the hay”.
I’m not sure why I’m talking in code like a Catholic nun, but basically they all wanted to be Fuck Buddies.
My coworker Leslie actually said to me “People get lonely, these things happen! So why not you and me!”
He was the most polite and considerate one.
I said “Thanks but no thanks.”
By the second week, Jenny and Alan have hooked up. I guess he did break up with his bi-sexual girlfriend.
I can’t quite pinpoint when John and I first started flirting. He admitted to me that he has serious yellow fever, and thinks Asian girls are just gorgeous. Not quite a complement considering there are billions of us out there.
However, it did indicate his interest without being overly aggressive. And he was never aggressive like the other male teachers. He was always gentlemanly and paid extra attention to my needs. No jokes please. I meant that if I was cold, he’d give me a jacket.
Perhaps that’s why he didn’t turn me off so much like the others.
Could also be because Annie (aka. Maria 2.0) was interested in him. She told us that he was everything she was looking for in a guy. Umm… he wasn’t that great, but ok.
Girls, admit it, if someone else is interested in a guy, it automatically elevates his attractiveness.
So John went from a 4 to a 7. It was Annie’s interest combined with loneliness goggles.
Similar to Beer Googles, except it develops through being alone for a prolonged period of time. The lack of options makes someone appear more attractive than they actually are.
Example “ I thought he looked like George Clooney before, but now that I have my Loneliness Goggles off, he looks more like Keith Richards.”
Eventually things happened, after flirting outrageously for weeks. I don’t quite remember when or how exactly, but think it was after another alcohol fueled night out.
We both agreed that when you’re in another country, everybody gets lonely sometimes and these things happen. I didn’t agree with Leslie, but I agreed with John.
This was a purely “friends with benefits” things.
Honestly, we were more Friends than Benefits. Most nights we were so tired from work, we just talked or watched movies. He told me all about his past relationships, his friends and family. I did the same. We had brunches and watched Crazy Stupid Love together.
We hung out a lot. So much that Annie got suspicious.
“Are you guys fucking?” She demanded.
Yes, she talks like that.
“Not that it’s any of your business, but NO.” I unanswered unflinchingly.
“But you watched Crazy Stupid Love together!!!”
I’m not sure how her logic works, but apparently that’s the movie to get someone into bed. So readers, please try and let me know if it actually works.
Anyhow, we were both extremely careful to keep our relationship on the down low. However acceptable it may be in China, we didn’t want it to influence our work. People had their suspicions, but no one ever confirmed it. I know this because Jenny asked me about it ages later.
“So really nothing happened between you and John?”
I was a good liar.