by Angel Chu
I bumped into an old friend the other day - my dear, dear friend Sylvia, just back from three years' exile in New Zealand, of all places. I'd just been shopping in the upscale Dongfang Yinzuo department store, and as I came out (laden with bags!) I suddenly heard someone call my name. The voice sounded familiar and, sure enough, it was Sylvia! You can imagine my surprise. I'd almost thought I'd never see her again. I'd actually deleted her number from my phone, but I managed to cover by asking for it again and saying I'd been really drunk on Tia Maria when I deleted it and thought she was someone else.
Sylvia was terribly pleased to see me. "You're my best friend in Beijing," she said, "No one else understands what I go through." She knows a good thing when she sees one, does Sylvia. She went on to explain, over a UBC coffee, that she was in a predicament. She had two fellas on the go - one, a cute shuai ge with a dazzling smile and a snappy wardrobe, and another, older man - less attractive, but with an Audi. What should she do? Which was better - status, or attraction?
This clearly required definitive, to the point advice. "Follow your heart," I said, "Don't do what anyone else says. Play it by ear - don't rush into things."
"Thanks a bunch," said Sylvia, "That's a great help." I always love to help out a friend whenever I can. Later that day, though, as I sat in front of my laptop, I started to wonder... is there anything more to choosing a guy than the way he looks and how much money he has?
The next evening, I was invited to a fabulous party at my best friend Monique's darling new apartment, located in a particularly trendy block of Min'an Xiaoqu near Guijie. Monique had decided to hold a "poem, rose and kiss" party. She's so clever and original! My friends really are fantastic. I sometimes think I must have better friends than everyone else in the city, if not the world.
The idea was, that everyone would bring a poem and a rose - you had to choose someone to receive the poem, someone to receive the flower and someone to receive the kiss. Brilliant! Very sexy.... I gave my poem to a seriously hot guy from Chengdu, who was visiting for a mirror expo at the Holiday Inn. He was really shy, though. I could tell he wanted to give me a kiss, but he just couldn't work up the nerve.
I caught up with Sylvia on the balcony. I asked her how she was doing. "Great!" she said, "I've got rid of those two losers I told you about the other day. I've got a new guy now!" I guessed he must be really cool. "Not really," she said. "He's very boring, actually, and he gets angry easily and ignores me when I talk. And sometimes he hits me. But he's got a Mercedes, and he's drop-dead gorgeous, so it works out better. Check out this watch!"
It was a very nice watch. I imagined he must have bought it on one of his many trips to Italy, the Shenzhen of Europe. It was the sort of watch you could just picture Che Guevara or one of the other Romantic poets wearing as he went on a moonlit gondola cruise through the canals of Rome.
As I inspected the timepiece, I thought of the question that had sprung unbidden into my mind the other day - is there more to a relationship than looks and money? No. There isn't.
Which reminds me. Next time I'll fill you in on all the juicy gossip I picked up at a recent Volkswagen gala bash...!