Friday, November 14, 2008

Too embarrassed to talk about attraction

There's no picking up going on here, no... it's just a shot from the wrong angle...

Yesterday at our Chinese class we came across a new word, 吸引 (xi yin) 'to attract.'

When the teacher started to describe the meaning of the word including how we should use it, I was surprised that he started talking about how cities can attract people?!

-This city is very attractive, bla bla bla.... He said and wrote down a few sentances on the board.

I waited and waited for him to get into some other, maybe more common use of the word 'to attract' but nope... it never came. So when he moved to the next word I simply raised my hand and said:

-Hey, can this word be used to describe an attraction as such between a man and a woman?!

I thought that Chinese people couldn't blush but here I was proven wrong. He started giggling like a little girl before he confessed that 'yes, that is correct.' Reluctantly he agreed on giving me some examples.

This is a grown up man, who is so embarrassed to even take a word like 'an attractive woman' in his mouth. Strange is an understatement.

Although now when I think of it, I don't think I've ever discussed love/sex with any of my Chinese friends. They seem so shy about it/unwilling to talk about it, and I am not the one to push.

I just remember what I found out when I interviewed a Chinese sexologist in 2006. She told me that some biology teachers are so embarrassed to teach their students about sex that they simply tear out the sex-related pages from the book. Not that I found the let's-talk-about-sex-biology-lessons we had when I was 14-15 in school that amazing, but being a teacher and tearing out the pages because u don't want to talk about it... naaaah, that's a little bit too much in my opinion. Why are they making it such a big deal? From looking at magazine/billboard adds, people you see at nightclubs, youngsters making out in the metro, and the way a lot of young girls dress I wouldn't call China a 'conservative society' anymore. Obviously it's not the same on the country side and in the cities, but I have a general feeling that the whole 'hysss hysss' thing over sex is a little bit blasé.

Although obviously not for everyone, my teacher being one of them.


Anonymous said...

don't forget china has just opened up for 30 years! before that the communist china is SUPER conservative, can you believe even in 1980s there are people being jailed for years just becuse of having one night stand?
the post 80s is much more open, the post 90s nowadays is just like the west now, i think.

Anonymous said...

Jonna - I'm very attracted to your blog :-p

Anonymous said...

btw, SexyBeijing has just updated a new video about china's sexual revolution.

Anonymous said...

Exactly. About the same thing happen here in Indonesia. Then I realized maybe the thing is the two opposites views are really from two different kind of people.

Some people are still conservative, and thus find it appropriate to talk about sex, and they don't wear sexy clothes , or make out in the metro, there is this one category, and

There are also other some people who are not that conservative anymore, who find it ok to talk about sex, who wear sexy clothes, even making out at the metro as you mentioned.

True, I agree that it is not the best solution too be embarrassed about the topic, but often 各有各的道理吧 ...