Rod MacKenzie
Rod MacKenzie

Lust, Chinese women and transformation

I live in a city in China, Suzhou, which, if you google, apparently has the loveliest women in China. Having lived in different parts of this country for nearly six years I can believe it. Many young women here are in unbelievably perfect shape. They are criminally, sinfully sexy, and in summer, they dress so skimpily, their skirts or hotpants the size of handkerchiefs wrapped around enticing hips and loins. One cannot help noticing. There is also a translucence, a leafy smoothness and suppleness to their skin which most Western women can only admire and envy. Their legs are impossibly chiselled to perfection.

So I am often helplessly turned on and have to bring myself to heel. The other reason for my stimulation is the huge weight loss I went through last year. Being grossly overweight and unfit stifles sexual urges quite a bit, I discovered, already knowing that in theory. Oh don’t worry, Marion has me on a tight rein, and I am most loyal to her. And yes, I know there are two animal metaphors in this paragraph relating to sexuality.

My point is I just love the way nearly all Chinese women (more the younger generation, roughly 20 – 45-year-old) take care of themselves. They are serious about their health, what they eat, and doing some form of exercise, even if it is just briskly walking or cycling to work. Obesity is an enormous problem in the West, not in China. In the West exercise is often just the act of heaving into and out of cars to go anywhere. I believe this lack of care for the body is closely linked to, for example, Joburg phenomena like road rage. And even rape.

Many people are unhappy with their bodies, resent themselves, dulling this emotion through a variety of addictions. They are unable to tune into the world with their bodies, feel the peace of nature, and, because they don’t respect their bodies, do not show much respect for others. I know. To some extent I could be like that. Westerners by and large are very angry and aggressive, unlike the mainland Chinese, especially the women. The Chinese women are unbelievably serene and childlike (the latter by no means an insult) in their response to life. I admire them for that and their enormously healthy appearance. As, medically speaking, I am still a little overweight, they have inspired me to lose more weight, get fitter, become more serene. But still, as described in many blogs and in my book Cracking China, the Chinese women and men often behave in a daft manner. Some “politically correct” readers criticise me for that, but they miss a simple point. Those anecdotes about mainland Chinese people’s somewhat eccentric behaviour are the unadorned truth.

Here is another example of that silliness, seemingly petty. Wednesdays are more or less my off day in my leisurely teaching routine. I am simply expected to come into the office at 2.30pm instead of going to a school and there is often little required of me to do so I leisurely write or study Chinese. (Tough life, hey.) One of my managers, Hannah, a gorgeous, impossibly perfectly shaped Chinese woman asked me to come in at about 12pm or so on a Wednesday for an important meeting.

Usually I do all our shopping on a Wednesday morning and have a Chinese lesson. I cancelled the lesson and rushed the shopping, gobbled my lunch and dashed through the office door just on time. Hannah smiled and nodded at me from the glass-walled office where she was having a meeting with other managers. Waiting for her, I checked my email to discover … Hannah had emailed me at about 8.30 that morning to say the 12pm meeting had been cancelled. It didn’t occur to her to phone or SMS me. What made her think I would be anywhere near a computer? I had rushed about and cancelled a Chinese lesson for nothing. Before I would have been most peeved with the daft communication and would have had a bitter word with Hannah for messing me about. Because I was too self-important and uncomfortable with myself to be messed about. Now I just chuckled.

When Hannah came out the meeting I smilingly told her, “Hi Hannah, I only got the message on my email now. Maybe either phone or text me in future … ”

She dropped her head in mild abashment, replying, “Mei guanxi”, a wonderful Chinese phrase literally meaning “no relationship” and actually meaning in context, “no problem, no worries”. Her demure response had me tingling slightly all over. Hannah is a swan floating on water in the way she deals with potential conflict situations, and there are a lot between Chinese managers and “foreign” English teachers due to some enormous differences in culture. Part of the tingle was sexual — I just love gentleness in women and find blatant aggression so butch and ugh — so destructive. The other reason for my body sensation is that I want to be more and more like the Hannahs of this world. Since that episode she has learned to SMS important information, thankfully.

I have met a number of women like Hannah in China and love to be in their calming presence. I have used the word “impossibly” twice above to describe Suzhou women as their health, serenity and unbelievably perfect body weight is something I have seldom encountered outside of China.

These Chinese women, through the example they have unknowingly set, their yinyang, have helped start to transform me, through the use of that powerful and often misunderstood energy: their mysterious sexuality, which is, at the same time, also their shimmering, lucid sexuality. It is a transformation, I submit to you, many of us could use. To use the truism: first change ourselves; then the world changes.

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