Sunday, September 14, 2008

a nation of bobs

Romy and I were walking around Puxi the other day, just checking out the sights and doing a little shopping (for some cute chopsticks, mostly). Despite what everyone told me, there aren't that many white people in Shanghai. Sure, they're around somewhere, but it's pretty much like looking for a white needle in a haystack full of Asians. I feel like Romy and I stand out wherever we go, if not because we're very clearly white chicks, then because we very clearly do not speak Chinese.

Sometimes I hear an American speaking English in a crowd and I think "Sweet! Someone I can have a conversation with" other times I think "Gawd, I hope that dude doesn't try to talk to us". My reaction to hearing native-speaking English is based on a lot of factors, but for guys it mostly comes down to the Frat Factor. If you're that douche bag who everyone tried to avoid at your fraternity house, then I do not want to talk to you. Guys like that get to China and suddenly they become someone people not only don't avoid, but actually make an effort to talk to!

Why? Because, as Romy would say, they're a "Bob". Best of the bunch. Ex-pat circumstances eventually lead to a lowering of standards. You can't have the same expectations for friends or significant others as you would at home, because there is simply not a big enough population to choose from. There aren't many Americans here, so if a Bob is even remotely entertaining or fun to be around, they will find acceptance with pretty much any ex-pat community because it's slim pickins out there, so "I guess you'll do".

Romy and I were wandering around the streets of East Nanjing road, when suddenly I overheard some American dude say to another American dude "I'm totally falling in love with China." I stopped to glance in a nearby shop, and to let the Dude Crew pass so I could see the person who said such a tool-y thing. He was wearing a polo with the collar popped, of course.

You're not falling in love with China, you're falling in love with the fact that in China people actually think you're cool.


Andy said...

The popped collar... LOL... I guess some things are universal.

I remember when we were in France, the fact that a large group of 60 12-year olds that spoke Spanish made lots of heads turn.

Anonymous said...

He was wearing a polo with the collar popped, of course.

Maybe his neck was cold.

XOXO said...

jeremy would TOTALLY do what that guy is doing in that pic