So, I'm standing beside the road, waving down a taxi. I want to go home. In this city of five million there are several ways I can give directions to my house. Well known landmarks, intersections, or pointing and grunting (a favorite of foreigners who can't speak the language). What do I do? Well, I refer to a well-known landmark: my apartment complex.
"Take me to Mistress City (二奶成)" I say to the taxi driver. The taxi driver smiles, compliments me on my (horrible) Chinese, and promptly drives me home.
That's right. I live in Mistress City. We got mistresses filling up these apartments, all congregating, strutting thierstuffs out in the brick court yards with small dogs in tow. Flashing thier cellphones and getting phone calls to meet up with thier men and go do those other things mistresses do.
Now, you may say, wait... that sounds strange... where do you live again? Well, let me clarify. I live in an average looking apartment complex in a third tier city in China. An apartment complex which is well-known for it's abundance of "kept women." Remember, this is Chinese culture. A much different culture than the West.
China has one of the highest rates of infidelity in the world. They also have a lower divorce rate than the West. So "cheating" is often accepted as a fact of marriage. Let's also not forget that prostituion (depsite being illegal) is essentially tolerated. Also, some of the most successful rulers of China were children of concubines--and that's not a hushed up secret.
The idea of having a second wife (or third, or fourth) if you can afford it, doesn't hold the same connotations as it does in the West. If you can afford a mistress, keep her well dressed, and she is awfully pretty and young: well then you, sir, are a baller.
The wealthy Chinese business man doesn't sneak around with his mistress, he brings her to the most expensive restaurants. He goes to the mall with her and buys the best clothes. She wears the bling, and she is his bling.
Before coming to China, I read several websites which left me with the impression that Chinese culture was traditional and painfully chaste. Well, let me say here that it isn't true. From sex shops publically displaying thier wares, to pretty girls hawking condoms in the supermarket, to "bath houses" which offer "massage and other services" I can tell you China is a very sexually aware place.
But there are different rules to it also. In some ways it isn't as in your face in the West. I noticed that underwear models were always white women--so I assumed that meants that the Chinese loved white women. Nope. Chinese consumers are too emabarassed to see a Chinese girl scantily clad like that in public.
So, well, "let the white girl" do it.
But it's a different land out here. When I leave my apartment complex, I usually hear the click click click of knee high, polished, high heeled boots and the Chinese titter of a mistress gabbing into her cell phone. God they are gorgeous. They seem so beautiful, so perfect, so amazing.
But we all know they have a price.