An interesting thing happened the other night. Someone tried to set me up with a Taiwanese man. A girly one.
I went out to dinner with Dingding, her boyfriend and a couple of new folks, Frank and May (not real names). Frank and May are having an affair; May married with a child, and Frank, a coworker. May explained to me that she wasn’t cheating on her husband because she was having an “affair.” That confused me because I thought having an affair was cheating. And so, I asked el internet. (I’ll get back to my Taiwanese encounter as soon as I figure this out.)
An “emotional affair” can be defined as follows:
“A relationship between a person and someone other than (their) spouse (or lover) that has an impact on the level of intimacy, emotional distance and overall dynamic balance in the marriage. The role of an affair is to create emotional distance in the marriage.”
In this view, neither sexual intercourse nor physical affection is necessary to impact the committed relationship(s) of those involved in the affair. It is held that an emotional affair can injure a committed relationship more than a one night stand or other casual sexual encounters.
Are you wondering whether you are having an emotional affair?
- Do you avoid telling your partner how much time you spend or talk with the other person?
- Do you tell this person more about your day than your partner? Do you even tell him about your marital dissatisfaction?
- Do you “ready your appearance” to see him?
- Is there a sexual attraction (spoken or unspoken) between you?
- Would you feel guilty if your partner saw you together?
If you answer yes to two or more of these questions, get out of there. You are cheating!
Okay. So according to Wiki and Oprah and several other internet sources, an emotional affair is worse than infidelity, which is physical cheating. I don’t know how many yes’s May has to Oprah’s questions, but she defines her relationship with Frank as an affair and regardless of what Oprah and Wiki say, I’ll just take her word for it that she’s not cheating. She just has feelings for a man who is not her husband.
I miss feelings. I miss having crushes on people like I’m in middle school. I don’t like people setting me up with others unless they’re actually really cool and attractive. Sound shallow? Well, there are certain things people should be picky about. A potential mate is one of them.
As I was saying at the beginning of this post, I was at dinner with Dingding and friends (at this DELICIOUS, 1.5 hour wait, tiny mom-and-pop Sichuan cuisine shop). I was the 5th wheel, but I didn’t mind. Not having a partner means I get to have full portions to myself. F*$! sharing. I’m an only child with a big appetite.
We are all chatting having a grand ol’ time until May decides to set me up with one of her friends. John, the Taiwanese fella, lives nearby, so she calls him up and he comes on over. Black button up shirt, black slacks, a shoulder bag. Meh, not my style, but not terrible. He says hello cheerily to all the others and looks at me like he knows what May was stewing. I give him an awkward, overly friendly wave, he sits down and begins chatting away with Frank and May. Fine with me! Then May nudges me and asks me why I’m not talking to John, who’s sitting just a few seats away, putting me in a very awkward situation. Well because he’s sitting there waving his hands and fingers all over town like a valley girl, not looking at me ever, WHICH I AM FINE WITH, and to be honest, he’s not very interesting. Did I forget to mention that I’m not into Asians? “Oh, he’s really nice. I’m just really awkward.”
(These are some of the photos that came up under image search “awkward”:
Can someone please explain why there are so many animals involved with “awkward”?)
So May, a friend I might have to cross off my list, starts talking about me to John, saying things like, “Emily is from America,” and “She’s going to Taiwan in July.” Of course I’m not going to Taiwan in July, but okay, to humor everyone else at the table. This is what I chime in, “Taiwanese food is so good!” to which he responds, “Mmhm.” We were a match made in heaven.
Then as all new friendships progress, everyone exchanges Weibo (Chinese twitter) information. As John is busy doing so, I violently, but hopefully not too conspicuously, shake my head at Dingding as to say, NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO to her sudden interest in this “set up”. I’m a little shocked that she thinks John and I would make a good couple. My friends back home (in America) would NEVER set me up with a John, and for that, I love them so so so so much.
We finally leave the restaurant and thank God — if there is one — that John is not coming to the bar with us. As we bid him farewell, forever from me, John begs May, “Please don’t say anything yet! Please please please, not while I’m still here!” I think he was just as disinterested in me as I was in him. Phew. Although also a little bit insulting. People always wants what they can’t have, but in this case, I still don’t want him.
As we head over to the bar, May asks why I’m not interested in John. But before I can answer, she explains to me how many Taiwanese men are quite girly. The way John spoke, the way he flicked his wrists when speaking, just part of his Taiwanese nature. I’m sure this isn’t true of all Taiwanese men (HELLOOO? Jeremy Lin!), but John, he’s just….not for me.
I’m itching for some companionship, but being set up is not the way to do it. It/I was too awkward and uncomfortable. I prefer doing it my own way, whatever that way is, even if it takes a million years and a lot of mistakes. At least I can learn from my mistakes. But do I?
Does every couple develop a dialect/accent/language/voice of their own? Particularly babytalk? Is it necessary for lovers to speak to one another in babytalk in order for the other to understand? Do they think it disguises what they’re saying from others around them even though it’s a universal language?
I haven’t been in a relationship in a while and I can’t remember if my ex and I had a secret language. Yes, sometimes I spoke to him in a higher, goo-goo-ga-ga-ly pitch asking things like, “Do you really love me? Do you REAAAAAAAALLLLLLY love me? How much? THIS much? Okay okay, I wuv you tooo!” I’m exaggerating, but it seems like all couples have a special way of communicating such insecurities. But must we talk like babies to do so??
I have a friend who-shall-not-be-named who shares a special dialect of English/Irish/babytalk with her boyfriend that is mostly used, from my observations, when talking about their feelings. If their conversation transitions into something more serious, like about work and school, they use regular English. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a very cute accent they share, but I’m still curious as to why their voices digress to infant-hood when wishing each other good night?
Another friend who-shall-not-be-named seems to have permanently engaged babytalk. Her boyfriend has adapted to this language very well, and I dare say 75% of their conversations (at least around me) are spoken in this obnoxious pitch. To get in on the dialogue, I had to adjust the level of my own voice to match theirs. If this offers any explanation to the phenomenon, they are Chinese, and from what I’ve seen on Chinese television, babytalk is commonly used by young women.
In fact, the baby is so darn cute these days that adult women not only emulate them in speech, but also in habit. At a restaurant several weeks ago, my cousins and I were appalled to see a 20-something Chinese woman suck on a baby bottle!!!!! Filled with milk!! In public!!! All the while she was taking photos of herself with puckered lips and too much hair in her face. The woman sitting across from her, presumably her mother, was unmoved. My cousins and I, on the other hand, oh we were moved. We were moved by the way she couldn’t actually suck the milk out of the nipple so she unscrewed the top and sipped from the rim. She’s an adult after all!
It just occurred to me that my friends who have been in really long relationships – the married type and the soon-to-be married type – including my parents and my friends’ parents, do not break out in special languages/accents/dialects/babytalk with their partners. I wonder if it’s because they grow out of it, just like babies do? Or maybe because they master keeping it an actual secret? Or because couples who have been together for so long no longer need to express their feelings through absurd voices?
Like I said, I have not been in a relationship in a while and can’t remember what it’s like communicating with a lover. But I hope when the next boyfriend rolls along, we won’t confess our love for each other like overgrown babies. At least not in front of other people.
I had every intention of giving out the awards I’ve been hoarding since Christmas tonight, but then something outrageous happened at the gym that I just had to share with you.
Emily He learned a dance routine to Justin Bieber. You can laugh, friends, but baby baby baby ooooh it’s for real.
Those who know me know that “graceful” is not an adjective that describes me. My mom encouraged me to take ballet lessons when I was little, but it took just one after-school session to convince her that it wasn’t for me. Throughout middle school and high school, my friends and I attended numerous dances because we wanted to meet cute boys. But I was always too shy to really dance, and whenever a boy would come up behind me to “grind” I would cringe and awkwardly sway back and forth while secretly laughing my brains out at just how silly I looked and felt.
But even though I’m no Shakira, I still love to dance. My friends and I always have dance parties back home and I go wild at every concert. In 6th grade, my oldest friend, Ailen (pronounced Ellen) and I even choreographed a dance to Lucky by Britney Spears wearing matching oversized Limited Too sweaters for a talent show. I also participated in a bar dance-off once and blew everyone away, literally. I think I have improved as an untrained dancer over the years, but I’m still a laughing site because of my funny (UNIQUE AND AWESOME) moves.
Even though I haven’t done much dancing in China, tonight confirmed that I’ve still got my groove thang.
My mom and I went to the gym expecting to take a Latin Dance class, but since I suffer from memory loss, we showed up to a “hip-hop” class instead (I put quotation marks around hip-hop because it wasn’t real hip-hop). Chinese Andy Mcphee from Dawson’s Creek was our instructor.
We started out with some stretches, yes, normal. Then we got into actual moves like jerking the hip from side to side, thrusting my chest backwards and forwards, tossing my head like I do when I’m falling asleep in class, and best of all, twiddling our spirit fingers.
We even had to blow a kiss. All of these moves turned into a less-than-2-minute dance routine that only took an hour to learn! And let me tell you, I got it all down. I was so good my mom asked me later, “You took dance lessons in New York didn’t you?” No, mommy dearest, I’m just that good.
Injured shoulder aside, the dance class really was a blast, and I laughed throughout the entire session because I was in a roomful of old ladies, and one man, strutting and dipping our hips. To Justin Bieber. In China. With my mom, who loved every moment of it.
Can’t wait till next week!
Funny signs and translations are found all over the world, but China has some of the silliest. Below are some that I’ve come across so far:
This next one I posted in a previous post, but it belongs here.
Not a funny sign, but a hilarious dog.
These, my dear friends, are waffle dogs:
I wonder if that comes in living room size…