Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Trophy boyfriend and deep discussions

Last week I decided that maybe I needed a good ol’ run in order to cure my inability to fall asleep. Since my gym membership had expired while I was in Sweden I called one of the sales girls and set up a meeting.

I entered the gym and got a bit annoyed straight away when the sales girl almost refused to even talk to me about a 6-month membership.

-One year is much better, much cheaper! She kept saying, over and over again.

-Yeah sure, but you see, my future is a bit unclear so maybe I don’t even need a yearly membership?

-But you can freeze it if you leave!

-Still doesn’t help me if I am not planning to come back.

We went on like that for a while and I tried to look into different options and so on. Then, suddenly, in the middle of our heated discussion, another sales girl came over, and interrupted us by whispering something to the sales girl I was talking to. They both giggled, making me annoyed at the spot. First of all I hate when people just come and interrupt what was supposed to be a meeting, and second of all, whispering?! Get over yourself.

Soon the “whispering details” was revealed however.

-So about the monthly card, I started…

-Oh, my colleague just told me that you are the girl with the handsome boyfriend, the sales girls interrupted. Both she and the other girl started giggling hysterically, making my chin drop to the floor.

-My colleague and her friends all think he is so handsome!!! Is he? She went on.

For a moment I was lost for speech. Now, if this would have happened during some other day I might as well have laughed and shrugged my shoulders, but I was clearly not in the mood this day, and also, bringing my “handsome boyfriend” into a conversation about my membership card isn’t really appropriate in my opinion.

-So is he, is he?! The girl urged.

-You know what, why don’t you take a look at him yourself, was all that I could eventually master.

Both of the girls looked kind of disappointed about my answer. I don’t know what the correct one would have been?

"Yes, he’s super hot! I loooooove him!!"

"I will tell him you said that!!"


"Yeah he’s actually looking for a new girlfriend, we recently broke up. Want me to introduce him?" 

All I know is that those two girls had made me kind of annoyed and that I now was in no mood to continue the discussion.

I went and paid for my new card (receiving even more giggles from the girls behind the reception desk. Not sure what it is that is so funny about me, but I’m clearly someone that makes Chinese girls very giggly).

Running proved to be a bad idea, and not a cure for my lost beauty sleep. I had to step off the treadmill after only 6 km when I had almost fallen twice. (And I did not sleep any better that night).

Two tired days later I asked my Chinese friend about it all:

Me: would you be happy if a total stranger told you that your boyfriend is handsome?

She: yes, totally!

Me: why?

She: In China we like to have something that other people like.

Me: oh. Right. 

She: why, wouldn’t you?

Me: I don’t think that way (I obviously don’t. Never want to either).

A moment of silence followed.

She: Jonna, do you have any friends like Enid?

Me: like who?

She: like Enid, in Desperate Housewives!

Me: Ehh.... hm.... ehhh... no?! I don't have any friends like Enid! huh? Why are you asking?

She: Well, I have heard that in Europe and in America people are more open-minded. And Enid clearly is (note to people that don’t watch the show: Enid is a slutty blonde who enjoys sleeping around in Desperate Housewives. She’s definitely more than “open-minded”). So I was wondering if you know someone like her?

Me: Eh… Enid is a made-up character in a made-up soap opera.

She: That reflects the real life in America?

Me: ehhh… Now, I've never been to America... but I’m not sure I would refer to Desperate Housewives the TV series as “the real life in America.”

New moment of silence.

She: I would like to get to know someone like Enid.

Me: sorry, cannot help you with that one.

I can tell that we are moving into a deeper level of friendship. 


Anonymous said...

Louis Vutton should introduce a line of brand name boyfriends. It would sell well in Japan, too. I'm sure.

Anonymous said...

"Yeah he’s actually looking for a new girlfriend, we recently broke up."

Come on Jonna don't tease your male readership like that.

I have spent the last 10 years opening, canceling, and renewing gym memberships. Just this year I said forget it all. I am sick of penalties, salespeople, cancelation fees, etc... I decided to just start joggin around the neighborhood, playing tennis, climbing mountains on the weekend, and etc... I feel so damn good to be free of that stupid card and that stupid towel that I was required to carry around.

Yeah some people need a gym... but just thought I would pass on my opinion regarding this topic. Screw the gym and their culture of the sale.

Joe said...

I haven't lived in China--yet--so I can only imagine how frustrated you were. I live in America and I have a few Chinese pen friends. Many of them want to know if my family acts more like Desperate Housewives, Friends, or Sex in the City. I try to gently explain that Hollywood does not represent an average American family, but I can sense they don't completely believe me. Welcome back to China.

Anonymous said...

OMG, not again. Jonna I am sorry to hear that they did it again. HAHA, here in the United States Blonde guys are not that popular even among Asian girls, because the Media do not promote them. But in ShangHi it is different cause every guy is Chinese.

This kinda of story is really funny and it amazes me that girls in ShangHi are like that now. But hey, Jonna, I am sure you get lots of attentions too. I am sure there are loads of Chinese guys that like Bonde girls like you and think you are super hot( I think you are much cuter than most Chinese girls). But they are just shy to say it.

So dont get upset about it. :)


Brad Farless said...

I think your friend has some weird tendencies that she may let you in on soon.

I'm from the US. Desperate Housewives doesn't accurately reflect life there. It does create an illusion that a lot of people aspire to, as in the high social life with expensive clothes, etc., but being a slut is not looked well upon by anyone.

flyingfish said...

Great post as usual!

The simpering and giggling at the gym does sound off-putting, but I'm wondering about your objections to their admiration of your boyfriend. What is it that strikes you as unseemly?

Your story reminds me of a number of conversations I've had with a friend back home in the States. She thinks her husband is exceptionally handsome and has always seemed to be delighted to find that I agree with her. (Which I do; her husband is not only a super-nice guy but also VERY easy on the eye -- at least in my opinion.)

At one point my friend explained to me that the pleasure she took in learning that I shared her views stemmed partly from a sense that her other friends didn't. I wasn't surprised to hear this. Her husband is a very petite man and his style of beauty is pure rather than striking; it's easy to overlook unless it happens to match your particular taste.

I'm also reminded of a time a high school classmate had a visit from her college-aged sister. I never saw the sister, but she must have been very pretty , because all our friends kept remarking how attractive she was. My classmate responded to these comments with cheerful and apparently genuinely felt thanks. She clearly took pleasure in being proud of her sister's beauty.

Is that so different from being proud of a boyfriend or girlfriend, and enjoying hearing him or her praised? It seems thoroughly natural to me.

TG said...

Well, this post shows how different the 2 cultures are, different in thinking and behavior, nevertheless, you can still talk, share your views and be friends, right? There's no right or wrong here, it's just different.

Anonymous said...

first time commenting, just wanted to point out that her name is actually edie.

Jonna Wibelius said...

kanmuri -not a bad idea at all. U should contact them and ask if you can pitch for them? :)

Hopfrog -haha, very funny. Well gyms are for people that hate jogging... or that live in cities where jogging isn't an option. I also kind of like doing the body pump classes at times, but to be honest with you, I am already imagining my life when I eventually move home and can go out running every day... ahhhh what a joy that will be. For now, however, the gym is a must for me. I would go mad if I went jogging here every day. The treadmill is much nicer!

Joe -it is funny how people believe it represents reality but in a way it is not that strange.. I remember when I was a kid and watched Beverly Hills thinking all I ever wanted was to be like Kelly.... hehe.

Jiang -My bf is the one collecting all the good attention over here. I have been labelled several times by angry readers as his "jealous chubby girlfriend" who's just feeling "bitter" because I don't get the same attention over here. Who knows, maybe I am. Anyways, western men are very popular here. Some western women might be too, haven't heard about one yet though.

Brad -I have to say that my friend intrigues me more now than before. She's got some quirkiness going on there!

Flyingfish -long time no seen, how you've been?! Yeah I can see that my inability to feel happy on behalf of my bf can seem a bit puzzling. I guess I've just gotten sick of watching local girls droll after him and laugh at me since it's been going on for 3 years now. I mean, some girl have even tried to pick him up, while I have been standing next to him. Not going to lie about how that makes me feel.

As for this situation at the gym, I think it would have been different if he would have been standing there next to me, but since he wasn't even there, why bring him up? I just felt that at this time, it was kind of unprofessional to start chatting about my bf seeing we were in the middle of a price discussion.

MKL -nothing wrong. Just different!

Jill Doe -whoops, well I guess that tells how much I am watching Desperate Housewives myself.

Anonymous said...

I cannot tell you how many times I have heard about how Desperate Housewives must reflect how it is to live in America. I am mortified by it. I have explained to countless people in several Asian countries that it is not real and please don't think that it actually happens in normal America. At least not in a place that I ever came in contact with. I think we Americans are doing ourselves a disservice by making these movies and tv shows and then sending them around the world. No wonder no one takes us seriously anymore. Thank you Jonna for standing up for my country even though you have never been there!

Job said...


Anonymous said...

Nice post. Now I am curious about how your bf look like, don't worry, I am a guy. Have you previously posted his picture in this blog, if yes, can you direct me to it?

Jonna Wibelius said...

Becky -Anytime :) Well those Tv series are pushing the American "lifestyle" a little bit too far nowadays. I have to say I'll always prefer the early days of Melrose Place... ahhhh... billy and Allison, those were the days! :)

job- 有方法阿。 叫 proxy server :)

Bagman and Butler said...

Bagman says that he'd rather have that conversation with your matter how good looking he is, he's going to come in second.

Jonna Wibelius said...

Anonymous -Thanks for the comment! As for what my bf looks like... well, tall, blonde and blue-eyed. Typical Scandinavian I guess. On his request I don't publish photos of him in this blog.

Anonymous said...

When I traveled in Europe, there were a few people asking me if Chinese in China can fly, and they all assume I know kung fu.

Chocolatesa said...

I don't know how you kept your patience. I think I would have started yelling at them!

Elaine said...

Wow, those conversations are always interesting. Never know if you should be flattered or offended.

Jonna Wibelius said...

Anonymous -hehe, yeah, I guess European's general knowledge of Chinese isn't that high either.

Chocolatesa -actually, this time I almost did. I was in such a bad mood from the lack of sleep and these "handsome boyfriend" comments really pushed me over the limit.

Devi -exactly. According to my Chinese friend I should be flattered seeing it means they want my boyfriend. But how is that flattering to me? I don't like to look at him as my "trophy"

Anonymous said...

Your desperate housewife freind has a secret desire to sleep around like the charachter she is fascinated with. Probably with western men. Can you please introduce me to her next time I am in China!

Anonymous said...

Jonna, are you kidding me? You are cute and hot too. I am a Chinese man, I know that I can not represent all the other Chinese men but over here in the US, Half of my Asian male friends perfer White girls over Asian girls at any time. I know that the situation in China is a little bit different, that is because Chinese men over there are a little bit afraid of western women for 2 reasons:

1. They think that you are rich, which means they will have to make at least equal amount of money as you in order to date you.
2. They think that western women do not like Chinese men because all the bad images set up by Hollywood which made Asian men look really bad. So they just think you are never attracted to them.

But hey, even when I was in China. Many of my young teen male friends, quite a few of them are tall and good looking secreatly told me that they like White girls. So Jonna you do not need to get upset at all. This is changing fast. At least here in the US.

BTW, Chinese women are very jelous when it comes to Chinese men dating western women. They do not want to see Chinese men with western women at all. One reason is that they want Chinese men to stay put so just incase if they can not get a decent western men, they will go for a Chinese guy. Second, it makes them feel better. My mother told me loads of bull crap about white girls warning me not to date white girls yet she is dating fat, unattractive white guys. So I got over it and I now only date white girls.(I am good looking too) You see Jonna, you are very popular among us too. Most of us are just neither too shy or too afraid to tell you that.

I say it again. You are much more beautiful and cuter than almost all the Chinese girls I have see. Happy now. :)


马麟 said...

Oh, dear, that's the funniest thing I've ever heard.

José Carlos Costa Reis e Silva said...

Joana, start commenting as you are in my wife's blog. As a Yoga instructor, if you sleep baldy, just try a GOOD yoga instructor (sic: Yoga depends on who teaches you). You'l sleep like a baby...

Anonymous said...

I came across this blog pretty randomly. I have to say it is quite amusing. :)

I think in any culture where the population doesn't have that much direct interactions with other cultures, one will end up running more often into these type of "awkward" situations.