Saturday, November 29, 2003

Sisters are doing it for themselves
Thanks to Thanksgiving and some other connections, I recently met two of the few foreign barbarian females in Shenzhen. Male expats outnumber them by a wide margin for several reasons -- the most obvious one, for many, but not all, men, being Chinese women.
Simply put: even if a guy was the worst kind of deadbeat, possum-sucking scuzzball in Europe, the U.S., Britain, Australia, India, the Middle East or Africa, if he has round eyes, a pulse and something resembling a disposable income he's pretty much guaranteed some kind of female attention. Quality and quanity may vary and contents may settle during shipping, but it's not hard.
However the foreign women have their fun, too.
Jocette and Laura are two Australian English teachers who have pretty much left Oz behind and can't see being anywhere else.
They make boatloads of money working single digit hours weekly for an "experimental" language school -- "Yes, we experiment on our students," Laura cackled. "Next week we're grafting pig ears on their shoulders" -- that also pays for their western-style apartments. And they aren't hurting for social lives.
Jocette, who has two sons and a husband in Sydney, was particularly emphatic. "I've got more male friends than I can handle," she said. "Never at a loss for them or women friends, for that matter. The foreign men might have their Chinese girlfriends, but they always tell me, 'It's such a relief to find a woman I can actually talk to!'"
She described her old life as a housewife and mother as "deadening, stultifying" -- a routine of cooking and caring for three males who were happily sealed off in a Y-chromosome world of soccer, rugby matches and dirt bike racing. They're still there and she's here and she says she and hubs have no intention of divorcing -- "What's the point? It's so complicated and expensive."
The family does reconnect for holidays and birthdays in Australia.
"I'll stay for three weeks or so and my husband will begin to notice that I'm getting restless," she said. "'Time for you to go is it? You're not happy here,' he says. I say, 'Yes, you're right,. I'm not' and I'm off to China again."
She loves to dance, particularly on bar tables though she drinks sparingly, and also revels in a routine of the low cost/high maintenance luxuries that the Chinese spas and gyms give her.
"I've found paradise," she said. "Where else can I go night clubbing until 4 a.m., then go have a shower, steam bath, body massage, pedicure, facial and then sleep in the spa until the early afternoon? All for $20? Not in bloody Sydney! Not bloody likely, I'll tell you that."

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