Part VI-2 – Love Floating On The Foam of Caffè Latte
Ou Yang popped up at Simone’s door when she wanted to talk or “needed” advice. Simone grew a bit of tedious feeling about Ou Yang’s non-mutual beneficiary visits after seeing that Ou Yang was not really interested in listening to what she was asking for. Sometimes she felt that the visit was good for no one at all. Nevertheless, going dancing was always an exception. After all, Simone had enough a strong empathic heart to continue trying her best to help Ou Yang in her own way which would be thought as too direct for Chinese. To Simone, directness was the result of all her knowledge and experiences and it would save Ou Yang precious time in her critical moment of life. At least, she could show Ou Yang part of the joy of life – the pleasure of dancing. Indeed, dancing had served as the strange link between the two very different girls and some what as the only way for Simone to continue her hidden mission.
Ou Yang invited herself one lunch time again to Simone’s home. Simone prepared Italian Bruschetta and some fruits as simple lunch.
“I heard that Quebecois men are very cheap! They don’t even pay you a cup of coffee!!!”
Well, that was not the first time Simone heard such a comment on Quebecois men.
Ou Yang was like most daughters or grand-daughters of Chinese women who have been liberated by Chairman Mao for 61 years after 1949. Strangely, these women still tangled themselves up as if they had never been free from their traditional roles of dependants of men and society. The 1st two generations of new China passionately scorned this role, but the 3rd and 4th generations slowly shifted into taking such delight in praising men who provide, spitting out contempt so hideous on those who could not. We could even feel the goose bumps on our skin only seeing the ways they uttered words of despite. They surely love men to pay for everything when they are dating and they demand in their heads absolutely the “chivalry” when they are invited out. Indeed, very where in the world, invitation means that the inviting party absolutely pays, but in China, dating expenses fall on men as entrance examinations! Even though, some of those Chinese women are living in different western countries, their thinking habit is like a heavily charged train sliding on a down slope.
All detailed cultural differences and expectations of women in dating say a lot about the societies they live in. Chinese women advanced one step after 1949, yet soon got lost in its revolutions where humanity simply disappeared. And now, as men are getting wealthier and the society is automatically putting its handle in the hands of girls because of The One-Child Policy, women seem to have happily resumed their traditional positions as priced merchandise instead of going a step forward.
In China, Ou Yang never once paid for tea or meals. All boys treated her. Especially as a college graduate, she was a hot one on the market. Men would usually pay everything to have a university educated woman added to their social status. Lucky for those girls who lived in that time when diplomas were symbols of advancement and glory and a sort of “sexy” attraction to men. Of course, having money was not the only criterium for Ou Yang, she wanted more than that. But paying the coffee or meals should be the first test the man had to pass.
Upon hearing Ou yang, Simone frowned unnoticed, but agreed to the comment first in order not to sound opposing, thus paving her way into the following conversation. Coming back from getting her a glass of juice, she said to Ou Yang:
” but you know, getting to know the person in whole is more important than judging them only from paying for you or not the very first date”. Well, Ou Yang was judging even before meeting any of them from gossip.
“Well, I detest men who do not even buy a cheap coffee for the woman he invited! You can not depend on a man like this!” Ou Yang was quite passionate when she commented as if she had a real opponent in mind.
“Ou Yang, maybe he does not mean to invite you? Maybe he does not know you enough to invite you? If you do not agree to try him, you will not go out with him, right? So, aren’t you having an equal chance and shouldn’t you share the cost?” Simone spoke out her opinions.
Ou Yang had such a talent in turning things in her favour. She was absolutely reasonable thinking that she could not go for a man less good than her husband who had been already paying everything for her, who even handed over all his pay after receiving his salary every month without delay. Yes, it would be demeaning if she had found a man who would do less than her husband.
“Well, you have to understand that Quebecois men are used to women’s independence. Quebecois women enjoy paying their own bills, because their grand mothers and even mothers had no identity (they bore the names of their husbands), no chance to work, no right to own bank accounts, and absolutely no access to their husbands’ accounts before the 60s! Now, they enjoy their freedom of working for their own money and spending it instead of “being treated” by men like before!”
Simone said to her with eyes looking directly into Ou Yang’s.
” You have money for a coffee, don’t you?”
Hearing this gently pronounced but very clear and direct question, Ou Yang suddenly turned red:
” No, that is not the point! Of course I have money. I have more savings than them from my profitable tour guide job in China, but I need to see that they love me!”
Ou Yang protested genuinely.
So the debate weather money represents love lasted 20 minutes until Simone was tired of trying. Ou Yang argued as if she was not there to listen to different ideas from the girl she seemed trusting, but to show off her princess-like value and pride some what as a kidnapped Chinese woman.
In Ou Yang’s mind, if the man was not willing to pay even for a coffee, this man would be too cheap and untrustworthy! It had nothing to do with money. Ou Yang was absolutely a princess, a princess who grew tired of her slave husband, a queen with an eight year old, a hard-working priceless woman who was not shy at all to think for a second of her own unfavourable situations…
It was interesting that she was not in China where women of 27 years are tagged as “left-overs”. She was on a different market where “foreign men” were naive about Chinese women, where men knew a bit of Asian family traditions and customs , but not really knew that women were not even mentioned and thus did not exit…
Western men did not know at all that New China, though liberated women 61 years ago, let them be spoiled by men who wanted to show power after being given the right to chase material wealth with China opened up. They would never have imagined that Chinese women in general were created equally greedy monsters in between the periods of history of nothingness and liberation, and on the road of the men’s society returning to raw lust for money and power .
Ou Yang’s case was even more difficult. She was caught even tighter in Quebec. She fell into a place where women are independent and supported by a wise and kind society, a place where men would think that paying every coffee and meal would be an insult to independent minds with self-esteem. In regard of treating Chinese women, Quebec men fall into a cultural error zone unconsciously, but it would be pretentious for them to behave like Chinese men if they’d be sincere and if we’d like them to be genuine.
Simone tried to make Ou Yang see that love is priceless and it comes from getting to know each other to start with, rather than from the irrelevant payment for a coffee in a society where even a beggar can afford three full meals by begging on the streets. But Ou Yang insisted that if there was no free coffee, then there would be no chatting, absolutely no chance for further development!
“So your love has a price of a coffee, is that right?”
Seeing that her way did not work at all, Simone changed her weapon and uttered abruptly those words with a bit of scorn.
Ou Yang felt strange why Simone said that. “Of course not!” She held herself up high, because she was worth more than a cheap coffee. That was just the whole point! In her eyes, she was worth the price of a one carat diamond at least.
“hahahaha….” Simone could not help laughing, but her laughter went from mocking into joking, fearing what was hidden in her laughter would hurt Ou Yang. She thought, by adjusting her laughter, she could cover well her distain for Ou Yang, or to be precise, her despite for this prevailing Chinese women’s concept of love by measuring it with rituals or money. She was sure that she had adjusted, into an obvious understanding and deep empathy, her improper statement and her aversion for Ou Yang’s inherited cheap and stubborn ways of thinking …
“Why you laugh? I am serious! I would not just go out with a man who would not even pay for my coffee on the first date!! If he is not willing to pay for just one coffee, what else he would do for me?”
Indeed, love is invisible to Chinese, untouchable with no smell, but coffee, even though Chinese do prefer tea, does have a kind of strong burned smell and taste; and a diamond does have visible pretty shapes and solid touch with much more value to tag the worth of love. This might be the reason why it is harder for Chinese to pull their facial muscles for smile or laugh than “Climbing to the Heaven”, because they are busy fantasizing meeting men who would measure their love with diamonds, putting rulers into their pockets to measure their loss and gain kept under their matresses, and they are so busy calculating that they become poker faced. They forget that living each breath of life healthily and joyfully with appreciation is the most important measure for life. Every one, especially girls in Quebec, can fully execute this ultimate ideal and enjoy this last but the best meaning of life.
Simone saw that Ou yang did not get the ” joke”, so she pointed out with words:
” Don’t take it seriously, I was just joking with you!’
But Ou Yang was offended. She got well the meaning hidden in the joke. She stood up from the bar chair suddenly, grabbed her purse, walking towards the door while putting on her shoes and coat, saying at the same time in a wronged and bitter tone:
” You are lucky! You do not understand me! Victor treated you well and you are lucky! If I had your money, I wouldn’t care neither; if I had a person like Victor, I would not need anything more!” Ou Yang judged Simone’s situation because she saw Simone’s big house with beautiful flowers all through three seasons and she never heard Simone complain or mention anything concerning the payment. Not complaint or mention meant that Victor did all very well including paying for everything!
She might not be totally wrong. We do need money to cure our addiction to money and a good generous man who pays everything to let us feel no need for needing. But how much do we need and what can be called generous?
There, on her porch, Simone watched angry Ou Yang rushing away. Simone saw the tears in Ou Yang’s eyes when she got into her car. Ou yang’s anger made Simone feel that her utterance was very improper, inconsiderate and even rude. Yes, Simone should have understood better Ou Yang’s multi entanglement and be more patient. So sorry and bad she felt instantly for Ou Yang and herself, she chased after Ou Yang’s car, yelling something while running, but Ou Yang drove away like a crazy youngster racing….zuuuummm…leaving Simone’s shouts unheard in the noise of her volkswagen.
Even with her front lights off, and with anger and bitterness, Ou Yang disappeared into the darkness…
Yes, Simone was lucky to have Victor Point treating her the clean air in the restaurant for one and half hours when they first met! They actually treated each other the priceless water without paying any tip to the waiter, which made the waiter unhappy waiting on two people who did not not reward his work! That was really cheap! How lucky was she in Ou Yang’s mind! Maybe Simone should think like Ou Yang, get offended by Victor’s treat of air and water and shut her door forever to Victor?
Simone sent an e-mail and also called to apologize. She made sure that Ou Yang was alright. Ou Yang righteously excused herself of not knowing the situation of Quebec women, yet she emphasized that she was not a cheap woman nor a Quebecois woman, so she would not let men have her so easily…
To Be Continued…