Chapter 33- When Julien Met Kathy

After meeting at the party, Julien and I met up again for brunch the next morning. Turns out we had a lot of the same sentiments about Shanghai. I griped about the behavior of expat men, and he showed me Charisma Man.

Charisma Man is this comic about a white guy so skinny and nerdy that he cannot get any girls in Canada. Then he went to Japan, and all of a sudden he’s Charisma Man! The ultimate lady-killer!

See more at
See more at

“My roommate is Charisma Man!” Julien told me. “He is this unbelievably gross guy from Calgary, no way girls in Canada would like him!”

Being a girl from Canada, I insisted on being the judge.

So Julien showed me his roommate’s Wechat profile picture, and I immediately started gagging.

“Oh Lord…I’m gonna have nightmares about that.” I tried to forget the image of his roommate sprawled out naked on the couch, with nothing but a laptop between his crotch.

“Sorry…you asked.” He was sincerely apologetic. “But seriously, every night he would have 2 to 3 girls over, with maybe a 20 minute gap between each.”

“How does he find these women? I mean grossness aside, he is just plain fugly!” I was in disbelief.

“Somehow Chinese girls think white equals beautiful.” He sighed.

“By the way, would you be offended if I asked about your background? I mean, you look…” I asked hesitantly.

“Indian?” He finished my sentence.

“Yeah…” I knew firsthand how annoying it can be when people in Shanghai insist on figuring out “what” exactly I am. (“Korean? Chinese? But why you speak English???”)

“I’m not, but my mom is from an island near India.” He said, completely unoffended.

“And your dad?” I continued to pry since he was ok with it.

“He’s a white Jewish dude who looks like John Travolta!” Julien chuckled.

I laughed as well, “You must get questioned about this a lot.”

“Not really. Most people just assume I’m Indian.” He said, “They just can’t get over the accent.”

“What accent?” I was confused.

“My British accent!”

“You have a British accent???” I asked incredulously.

He started to laugh “Well yeah, I’m from the UK!”

“Hmm…I guess your accent’s just not as strong as some people…” I thought about Jacob the UK guy.

Julien and I got along so well, that we started hanging out every weekend.

I read an article later on that said “Hanging out” is the new “Hooking up”. You get all the benefits of a relationship (except for sex), without the possibility of rejection. Apparently our generation is terrified of rejection and will do anything to avoid it. Sounds about right…

The two of us would go to dinners, take long walks in the park, and talk until wee hours of the morning. And we would talk about everything. I’d bitch to him about the lack of dating potentials in Shanghai, and he’d share stories about his romantic life as well.

“It IS much easier to get a date here than back home.” He admitted. “But I do find the cultural difference unbearable sometimes.”

“What do you mean?” I asked.

“Well, I’m seeing this Chinese girl, but she doesn’t get my jokes.” He paused then said “We never have long talks… like this.” He gestured to mean the two of us.

“Oh…” I thought for a second. “Then why don’t you date a Western girl instead?”

“See, it’s easy for me to ask out a local girl, but when it comes to someone I really like…I have a hard time.” He looked down wistfully.

“Why???” I demanded, not understanding guys these days.

“I don’t know…. I think if I really like someone, the thought of rejection is just too much for me to handle.” He looked up again, “ I guess that’s how I get friend-zoned so much.”

“Ha, you’re just too nice!” I punched him lightly on the shoulder like a bro “You gotta be more confident! Seize the day! Can’t score unless you shoot!”

I went on to spout out more clichés, as the two of us walked around the bund, basking in the glow of the city lights from across the river. It was scene straight out a rom-com.

See how romantic Shanghai is?

Soon enough, the questions started coming in. Everyone that knew us either assumed we were a couple or asked if we were.

“Nah, it’s a classic case of When Harry met Sally.” I would answer them.

“Um…you DO know that Harry and Sally got together in the end right?”

“Oh…I actually never watched the movie.” I would reply, “But this is different. Mark my words: In our case, men and women CAN be friends!”


Last post of the 2014!!! Woot!!!

Happy new year everybody!


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