Cocktail Party

My friend Andrew teaches a class on English for use in a business setting. He teaches two classes of graduate students either the same age as us or a little older. He was given a textbook to assist in creating lesson plans. Andrew indicated to me that this textbook has been slightly less useful than a satchel of urine in preparing for his teaching duties.


A man named Peter attended one of Andrew’s classes and talked with him afterwards. Peter teaches in the same department as Andrew and informed him that there was an upcoming cocktail party for teachers and students in said department. Since Andrew was not only a teacher in the department but also a white foreigner, they would be more than glad to have him attend. When Andrew mentioned this to me he also remarked that they would probably be some amount of glad to have me attend as well since I too, am a white foreigner. There would be free food and drink at the party. All who attended would be expected to dress formally.

Unrelated Engrish picture to break up walls of text
On the day of the party, I was planning on heading to campus to meet with a student of mine named Heky (Pronounced Hi-key, I think. The name’s supposed to be in English but I’ve found no evidence of that being the case) who asked me to help her prepare for an oral English competition. The TV network CCTV holds an annual competition for college students around China to recite a speech they’ve written. I think there’s a monetary prize involved. I figured editing Heky’s speech wouldn’t take too long so I’d have plenty of time to go to the cocktail party, although I still wasn’t entirely sure if I was actually invited.

Andrew and I headed to the bus stop, him in a suit, me in my everyday slop t-shirt and jeans. As we passed through the extensive roadwork along the way, Andrew got dirt and mud all over his pretty little pants so I gave him some tissues to clean up. I carry a pack of tissues with me everywhere I go in case of a shit emergency because most public bathrooms don’t have toilet paper, including those at the school. There’s always a chance that your shit will be a squishy mess. When taking such a shit in an eastern style toilet, you run the remote risk of staining your pants. A student of mine named Jacob who has been using eastern style toilets his entire life told me that he recently had such an accident. If this happens, tissues won’t be of much help. You can, however, use them to wipe the tears from your eyes as you spend the rest of your day walking around in public with poopoo stains on your pants, mocked and ridiculed at every turn.

We arrived at the campus and headed to our respective destinations. On the way, we ran into Peter. Andrew introduced us and Peter told me to come to the party. Delighted, I went to the cafeteria to meet with Heky, where I figured we’d go over the speech. Without going off on too long a tangent, I’ll mention that my meeting with Heky took a lot longer than it should of, involving her telling a kid to fuck off, taking me on an uncomfortable date-like outing and suggesting that I take her speech home with me to edit on my own time. If I ever write about Chinese college students tricking their foreign teachers into going on dates with them, which isn’t uncommon, I’ll be sure to include further details regarding this event.

Lots of words so far. This advertisement has something to do with abortions
When Heky suggested that I take her speech home and go over it by myself, I replied that I wasn’t very fond of that idea. We returned to the campus and went back to the cafeteria and went over the whole thing. It was about global warming. Another student of mine, self-dubbed “Snower,” came to join us. I think I’m going to talk about names in an upcoming class. When I told them I was going to the cocktail party, they insisted on bringing me to the classroom. Chinese people tend not to believe me when I tell them I’m capable of performing basic functions such as recognizing locations I visit daily by myself. We took the elevator up to the fifth floor and as soon as the doors opened, I saw a crowd of Chinese people in suits and dresses in front of me. Among them was Peter.

Peter spotted me immediately and went, “Ah. Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes.” He came over, grabbed my arm and whisked me away from the elevator. He led me into a large room filled with more Chinese people in suits and dresses. He continued, “Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes,” as he dragged me into the center of the room. A dozen or so students surrounded me and Peter said “Okay,” then left. One of them handed me a glass of wine. They began asking me questions.

“Where are you from?”

“Are you going to be our teacher?”

“Do you know Jackie Chan?”

“How do you like China?”

“Do you have a Chinese girlfriend?”

“Would you marry a Chinese girl?”

For the next few hours I would be given drink after drink and pinned against a wall by drunk, eager Chinese grad students. It was really fun. The pictures that follow came from renren.com, the Chinese equivalent of facebook. A bunch of students added Andrew as a friend and he managed to find a couple of photo albums.

A table of wine. The wine is a lot like Hawaiian punch in regards to both taste and alcoholic content
It’s cool that Andrew is talking to all these girls. The person who took this picture is either twice his height or standing on a chair. Possibly even a table.
Eventually the initial group around me thinned out. I had arrived pretty late and people were starting to leave. I was only swallowed into an inescapable vortex of Chinese people two more times throughout the night. The first was when I pulled out the book I’m reading, The Power Broker, to show them pictures of New York and Americans. I think the motion of opening my backpack caught a lot of people’s attention.

In this picture, I’m the second from the left in the foreground
The second time was when one of the guys, the one who looks like he’s smelling my head in the picture above, asked me if I can dance. I didn’t think there could be a wrong answer but apparently “sure” was just that. He changed the song to something remarkably similar from the one that was already playing and told me to dance. The people around me began to spread out and form a circle. I didn’t really have it in me to let down a room full of well-dressed Chinese people so I said I would as long as Andrew did too.

Dohohoh
Andrew was opposed to the idea and cursed at me for a while. I started several chants of “dance!” both in English and Chinese. Eventually he jiggled his pecs. Everyone was astonished and several people actually screamed. Then, apparently, my dance wasn’t good enough and I was expected to jiggle my pecs as well, which I couldn’t.

Dohohoh
Things continued to happen. One of them asked me if I knew of the show Friends. I told him that I was familiar with its existence. This caused several of them to repeatedly nod their heads at me and ask me how I was doing. This was a reference to one of the show’s characters, Joey, who asks women how they’re doing in many episodes of the show.

My arm, although clearly bent, appears to be flush against the wall
This was posted on renren as a comment regarding the previous image
The two guys in the back are mocking us
I talked about the NBA with a group of guys for about twenty minutes. I don’t know shit about the NBA but it’s one of the most popular conversation topics. It’s a really easy conversation to have. The conversation follows this pattern:

“Do you know Kevin Garnett?”

“Ke….wen…”

“You know Boston? Boston Celtics?”

“Yes! Yes! Boston!”

“Garnett.”

“Ah!! Garnett. Yes, he very good. Ehhh. Jamesuh.”

“Lebron James?”

“Yes!”

“Oh yeah, he’s great.”

“Yes!”

“Do you know Allen Iverson?”

“Ibur…son…”

The guy on the right rules. I didn’t speak to the guy on the left but I’m fairly confident I can say the same for him

Eventually, I checked my phone and saw that we had five minutes to catch the last bus home. A posse of students accompanied Andrew and I out of the building, fearing that we wouldn’t be capable of finding the bus we take every day. It seemed we were too late and the bus had already gone. The students then led us to the main gate and all at once started instructing a cab driver how to get to our apartment building. He wasn’t familiar with Lin He Jie but thought he had the idea after a while. We got in and sure enough he made a wrong turn. After he corrected it we decided we didn’t want to pay a fare any greater than the meter was already showing so we walked the rest of the way. We stopped once to pee on a building. I had to go pretty badly so I was glad we didn’t stay in the cab.
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2 responses to “Cocktail Party

  1. >Oh haha verr funny. ha ha poo and dance. Oh, ha ha. Friends is a very good show. ha ha.

  2. >I love reading your blog…you make me laugh and laughing is good. yes. good.

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