There you go reader #21 “Babeliciousbeyonce”. Hope that answers your question.
To my relief, Jun messaged the day after. I say relief because I wasn’t sure what was going to happen. If the date sucked, then easy, just end it. If the date rocked, even easier! In reality, most first dates are probably just mediocre at best. I was still interested to see what happens, but was he?
Unfortunately, I was about to leave on yet another trip when he asked. My Friends and I were planning a long weekend getaway to Huang Shan (Yellow Mountain).
“So that means I won’t get to see you for at least 2 weeks?” Jun messaged.
Pretty much…Since I won’t be available until next next weekend. At the earliest.
However, I was really excited for this trip because this will the biggest trip we’ll have as a family. I mean as Friends.
Honestly though, at this point I felt as if they were my family. Perhaps it’s because I’m an only child and always longed for siblings? Maybe I’ve been scarred ever since finding out that cousins are not the same as brothers?
“Brothers have to come from the same mother” My own mom explained to me when I was 5.
“So I have nothing? No brother? No sister?” I cried myself to sleep that night.
What a traumantic childhood I had eh? No santa…No brothers…
But Santas are overrated, and friends can be like brothers anyway! That’s how I felt about Carlos, Lukas and Will. Brothers from another mother.
Carlos especially, because he embodied the characteristics of the big brother I always wanted. A natural leader in our group, I looked up to him like everyone else. He always appeared confident and seemed to know everything about Shanghai. I would seek out his advice like a little sister would. However, I’ve never disclosed anything about my romantic life to them. Do people even tell their brothers about their love life? Either way, my friends in Shanghai just assumed I’m like the Perpetually Single Aunt you invite over for holidays.
So on Thursday, when Jun asked if I would be in Puxi anytime before I leave, I was hesitant to tell him yes. I was in fact going to be in Puxi for our “Team Meeting” before the big trip.
“I will be meeting my friends at La Cocina tonight.” I texted.
“I can probably drop by. Would be nice to see you before you go.” He replied
I was wary of him meeting the friends, since we’ve technically only gone out once. But I didn’t have time to overthink it.
That night, all the girls were on time, but the guys arrived late, and drunk.
Thinking back, Carlos often showed up drunk, but I never took notice. The same way that people can be blinded by love, I was blinded by my desire for friendship. However, tonight he seemed drunker than usual.
“Beers for everyone?” He offered, generous as always.
“I’ll come with you!” I volunteered to help.
“You look nice.” He commented, but in a suspicious rather than flattering way “Hmm…your lipstick is extra red! Are you meeting someone?”
“What? No…” I blushed, “Well… I am seeing someone.” I finally confessed.
He didn’t say anything much after that, and we went back to our group.
When Jun arrived, I introduced him as a friend, and everyone went on to mingle normally.
After a few more beers, Carlos pulled me aside to talk.
“I don’t like this guy.” He said.
“Really? I don’t know him that well. What’s wrong with him?” I asked innocently, trusting that he’s just warning me like a big brother would.
“He seems cocky. I just get a bad vibe from him.”
“Are you sleeping with him?” He asked.
“What??? No!!!” I was shocked that he would ask, but still assumed best intentions “Well, I did have to sleep over that one time…”
“You are such a whore!” He yelled out.
When I later told my friend Feegs this story, she said “Punch him! Please tell me you punched him!”
No, I did not punch him.
Instead, I just stood there in shock. Unable to speak. Unable to process what he said.
However, I had to snap out of it when he continued to yell “Whore” over and over again. So I pulled him outside to have a calm discussion, like I would with a student.
“How can you talk to me like that?” I was still talking to my brother. A brother that just called me a whore.
“Oh I’m just messing with you.” He calmed down and tried to play it off as a joke.
“That’s not funny. Do you call all your friends whores???” I was not amused.
“Oh I call Melissa a whore all the time.” His said of his other friend.
“What?” I was stunned.
“I call Sarah a whore too.” He continued trying to make light of it. “Because she is one!”
Brain. Not processing. Information. Inconsistent with previous knowledge.
“How can you say these things…” I continued to stammer in shock.
I’ve never been called a whore in my life. I had no idea how to deal with it. I knew it’s a big social problem where men think it’s ok to call women “whores” and “sluts”. However, having no personal experience, I just assumed that those men are like purple elephants, obvious and easy to pick out.
My friend said while walking home one night, some drunken guy rolled down his car window and yelled “Whore” at her. She was furious. She wanted to smash his car with a brick.
But see what I mean? Those are the obvious baddies! We can all agree that this drunken guy was a misogynist and deserve to be smashed with a brick. I mean his car of course.
When you hear it from friend however…
Still blind sighted by this conversation, I continued to struggle for words.
All the wrong words…
“But… how can I be a whore? I didn’t even sleep with him!”
“Oy”…Ms. Hindsight would shake her head at this point. “You don’t need to defend yourself. Just punch him.” She would say.
“Oh then you’re a tease.” He laughed.
“Excuse me? So a girl is either a whore, or a tease? What are men then?” I said with indignation.
“I mean…I’ve only slept with 2 people in my entire life!” I ranted on, not sure why I’m felt the need to justify anything. “How many people have you slept with? 20?”
“35. But that’s not the point.” He dropped his joking tone. “It’s ok for guys, because we’re the keys and women are the locks.”
“What…kind of logic is that?” I was now transitioning from shock to anger.
“Keys can try every lock. But the responsibility is on lock to deny entry.” He has clearly recited this speech more than once.
I, on the other hand was speechless. Despite being a smartass normally, I don’t do well when I’m experiencing strong emotions. All I could feel was anger, but none of it was translating into language. It just felt like a big, red, throbbing…Blob.
“You can always find an analogy to justify anything…That doesn’t make it right.” I was red in the face now. “Apologize to me.”
By this point, he has sobered up a bit. He sensed my anger and said “Ok I’m sorry. I didn’t mean it. Let’s just go back inside ok?”
Everyone was now looking outside, wondering what was happening. Not wanting to make a scene, I reluctantly went back and acted like everything was fine. While inside, the red blob continued to throb.
And so I drank.
After everyone else went home to pack for tomorrow’s trip, I was left alone with Jun. He bought more drinks, and we both got quite drunk.
Eventually, Jun looked at his watch and said “It’s getting late. Shall we leave?”
Then he said “Unless…you want to come over again?”
Was it the alcohol? A feeling of defiance? Wanting to prove that I’m not going to let some stupid double standard stop me from what I want to do?
Or maybe I just felt like it?
Whatever it was, I looked at him said:
“Sure. Let’s go.”