Friday, February 03, 2012

Limiting one's chances

I have just suffered once again the by now familiar frustration of having someone I was becoming romantically interested in decide to quit Beijing for good.

I don't think I was a factor in the decision to run away (I hope not!); but neither was I a sufficiently positive factor to entice the lady to reconsider her departure, or at least postpone it for a few months.

This is always a problem with expat life: most people are only here fairly short-term, and many wrap up and leave at very short notice. I have a sense, though, that the problem may be getting worse, that as Beijing becomes a less and less attractive place to live, the rate of turnover increases, fewer of the new arrivals are likely to become long-termers, and even the long-termers start to leave. Certainly, in my own unhappy, unlucky recent experience, it has seemed to be the case that there are more and more people who grow to hate the place so passionately after only a year or two that they will jump ship at the first opportunity. It's happened to me twice now in the last couple of years. And I dare say that, despite my best efforts to give up on the whole sex-and-love lark completely, it will almost certainly happen again at some point. Unless I manage to escape from this dratted place myself...

But, even before China, I had a pretty hopeless record in the romantic stakes.

I was having lunch the other day with an old Chinese friend, one of my first class of university students from 7 or 8 years ago, and she suddenly asked me - with that ruthless directness the Chinese have which can sometimes be refreshing, even though it's discomfiting - who my first girlfriend had been, why that hadn't worked out, why I was still single (despite being still so devilishly attractive).

That prompted several hours of glum introspection... by the end of which I think I'd formulated a fairly comprehensive list of reasons why I'm still on my own (a few of them are overlapping).

Reasons WHY my romantic interests haven't worked out in China

1)  Only here on holiday  -  4

2)  Only here on business  -  2

3)  Hated the place so much, they quit half-way through their contracts  -  2

4)  Were reaching the end of their allotted time here (within weeks or days of my meeting them), and were disinclined to consider an extension  -  5

5)  Worked for an embassy, and were thus almost permanently uncontactable (they usually have to drop their mobiles at the front desk for security reasons)  -  3

6)  Were perpetually "too busy" to consider a date  -  2

7)  Got kicked out of the country just before the Olympics  -  3

8)  Quit the country in a panic when SARS broke out  -  3

9)  Married/dating someone else  -  6

10)  Psycho stalker  -  1

11)  Disappeared off the face of the earth (and I lost her contact details!!)  -  1

12)  Glacially uninterested in me  -  3 (no, 4; no, 5; no, 6...)

13)  Shrewdly judged that I was perhaps not quite enough of a go-getter for her  -  1

14)  Turned out to be "a professional"  -  1

15)  Batshit crazy, depressive, reclusive and commitment-phobic  -  1

Not a very happy track record, is it? My friend DD always teases that there must be some self-destructive or commitment-phobic streak in me which directs me towards these unpromising prospects. But I am increasingly of the opinion that there's nothing but unpromising prospects in this city. We're ALL going to leave sooner or later. Maybe sooner.


KingTubby said...

Crikey. All those potential liaisons.
I'm envious. Myself, departed soon after the Games due to new visa regs.

Survived SARS however and got a ton of laughs to boot. Admin gave us all a bottle of vinegar to spread around our apartments as an antidote.

At a staff meeting, a po-faced cadre advised us that the local military hospital had created a vaccine as he spoke. The subtle body language around the conference table was f....hilarious.

As far as the Big B goes, couldn,t deal with the pollution.

As a far as the pillow interrogation goes, I was pleased to be admit that my very first gf was Chinese. Yellow fever from the git go. And now that I'm back in tubbyland, still hanker badly.

True Confessions.

Froog said...

Well, the potential was in most cases extremely remote, not to say non-existent. And, as I said, some of them are overlapping, so the total is probably not much over 30. 3 or 4 dead ends per year isn't exactly rampant womanising, I don't think!

I never got the 'yellow fever' thing, I'm afraid. I sometimes think I was inoculated against it through my first experience here. I visited for three months in the mid-90s, when there were very few foreigners here, and so did get tempted by local ladies a few times (though without consummating anything). That seems to have got it out of my system: I've very rarely felt that level of attraction again since coming to live here.

But then, maybe it's just that Dongbei girls are a bit rough. Whenever I go south of the Yangtze I start paying much more attention to the local talent.

Froog said...

Ah yes, and one was an unexpected lesbian.

Froog said...

No. 15, of course, was a 'soul mate'!