Yesterday and male colleague and I decided to change our lives and join a gym. We didn’t make any appointment but simply showed up at a place that we’ve heard is good. A sales girl was soon by our sides, showing us around, throwing out funny little comments that we politely laughed about. Something that will never fail to astonish me is how Chinese people react when you tell them that you’ve been doing sports all of your life. For me it’s such a natural thing, and if I ever get kids I know I’ll encourage them to try all kinds of sports until they find something they like and want to do. Chinese kids are obviously busy with their heavy load of homework.
Anyway, once we had done the compulsory tour we sat down to discuss the membership fee.
-So, you want a yearly membership… bla bla bla, the grils started, drawing figures on a piece of paper (another thing that I don’t quite understand here: what is this obsession with writing down prices on paper or typing them into a calculator. Why can’t people just tell you the price to your face? Is it because they are scared that someone else will overhear it and that it will ruin a potential haggle-fest with that person?).
-And, what about your husband? The girl eventually said, turning to my workmate.
-Eh… we are not… No no! We are not married!
-Oh, sorry, your boyfriend?
-No, no no no no!!!! Eh, hehe! We are colleagues!
-Oh… I see. I just thought you two looked like such a match!
-Eh… right. Eh….
Biiiiig meaningful smile from the sales girl making us feel ....uncomfortable? Weird? Strange? Take your pick. I don’t even know this male colleague of mine very well, he kind of just started working with us. And I’m not sure if we are ready for such jokes yet.
In China, however, it is totally OK to throw these kinds of comments around. I don’t know how many times me and my boyfriend go somewhere and we are addressed as siblings, just because we are both tall and blonde (nevermind that we don’t have the same eye colour. Not important). I wonder if this would change if we were engaged? Do people here pay attention to engagement rings the same way people do in the west? Might be worth it putting a ring on then, just to avoid any kind of confusion: like me being seen as married to my colleague or being a somewhat messed up person who’s having a love affair with my brother.
Yikes... that actually sounds real awful! Can that be used as an argument for a speedy engagement?!