Off the Gaydar, Part II

I’m writing from the perspective of the mother of all hangovers right now, so I might have to edit this once I’m a bit more clear-headed. But I need to write, nonetheless. I keep thinking back to a guy I saw on the street corner, this Monday in fact, sitting next to his own vomit, seemingly in a coma. I thought "wow, I’m so glad I’ve never been that guy." Well, last night I threw up for the first time due to overdrinking. I’m oddly mixed between shame and proud – ashamed because I overindulged to that degree and proud because I can say I’ve had a new, if unpleasant, experience most of us have in our teens.

I’m a late bloomer in many aspects.

Ah the things I write about…I suspect my parents read this thing, but there it is. Later on, I’ll expound on why I’m so much more open than I used to be – my meditation gave me some interesting ideas I need to get down. But first…

So last night I went out to Chinese barbecue with my crush and a couple of other guys. I should say first that Chinese barbecue is a grand time and probably the best way to learn Chinese, save a college-level course, and if you can do both, even better. You get a bunch of drunk, relaxed guys calling you over for free rounds and as long as you TRY to speak Chinese, they make hand gestures, speak slowly and have all the patience in the world in trying to get their points across and waiting for you to make sense. Things are always chill, funny and sometimes they want you to do karaoke afterward. Food consists of skewers of meat and boatloads of beer, obviously.

So last night I went out to Chinese barbecue with my crush and a couple of other guys. Him and our mutual buddy Ryan were going to be going to meet some other friends for food so could not stay long but wanted to grab a bite with me first, which was cool. So the conversation began somewhat slowly this time around. I mentioned I was planning a trip to Tibet possibly in August or September (more on that later). He kept pushing about girls again…So after successfully dodging the bullet again, I took a gulp of Laoshan, found my courage and flat out said "actually, to be honest, I’ve never been into girls. In fact, I had a boyfriend for a time back in America." Ryan said "oooooh," and then translated. My crush looked at me, laughed and shook his finger knowingly. I felt relieved – I then asked Ryan about how homosexuality is perceived in China and whether it’s illegal and he said, without looking at me, that it was a matter of personal choice and that there is no official government stance. 

After that, despite my best efforts, things got weird. No one had anything to say, everyone started picking at their food, and I couldn’t look anyone in the eye, least of all my crush, who, naturally, was sitting directly across from me and would do the flickering eye thing whenever I looked up "oh! I was watching you in my peripheral vision but now I’m pretending not to." I hate that game, even though I still play by it’s rules…It was shaping up to be a bad ending. But instead, my crush asked if I wanted to come with him and Ryan to meet his buddies. Whaaaat? Sure!

So we exchanged chuar locations and I met his lifetime friends X and Y. X was a Tao priest, in fact, and so we had a TON to talk about – we hit it off immediately, I’m pleased to say, which made things far less awkward with my crush. Can’t say I ever expected to meet a priest in a beer/barbecue pit, but that’s China for you. He had a beautiful tiger-eye beaded bracelet and a jade Guanyin charm on his neck, but besides that he dressed like a dock worker so you’d never guess. We talked of Tao and now I’m wracking my brain, trying to remember exactly what he said. I asked him what he thought of Buddhism and Confucianism – I’m glad Ryan was there to translate because his Chinese words and speed were way above my head this time – I understood zero. He said they were different means of reaching the same ends, which I thought was interesting. He also explained that Guanyin is traditionally a goddess figure in Chinese lore, despite being sexless. Also, people pray to a goddess that LOOKS like Guanyin when they’re pregnant (I wrote earlier that I thought it WAS Guanyin). In retrospect I wish I’d asked him what Guanyin means to HIM. I pressed him on Wu Wei and wanted to ask about what makes him a priest, but the other guys got bored and started talking about the hottest co-workers in ALWAYS and whether I could get my attractive foreign female friends to come out with them next time. I told them "not without lying to them," but eventually relented with "I’d try." Drunken promises they won’t hold me to heh. I hope. Because there’s no chance they’d come to chuar to be ogled at by drunken, amorous Chinese guys. The only women you see at chuar work there and have more scars and muscle than many of the guys.

So this is getting overlong and things are getting blurry anyways. While I’m pleased to say things got better and he lightened up, there was enough assertion of heterosexuality that I’m pretty sure now the feeling is not mutual and my crush had faded in my mind to a background "what if," rather than an insistent siren’s song. Which is much better – now I can probably go into work without feeling all out of sorts. He still remains super-friendly, too, which is great – even in the midst of my perceived weirdness, I mentioned my birthday is on Friday and he suggested we do something then. We’re going back to the same chuar spot, meeting his buddies again and going to have more fun. Though, now I remember I work super-early on Saturday, so probably not, in fact. Reschedule. Bummer.

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