This morning they are sweeping up after the fireworks. It isn't as cold as last night, when Beijing was a lake of fire works, in the air, from roof tops, on the ground. In a way too I am sweeping up after fireworks, between my friend and I. That other night we walked around Beijing, getting colder every moment. We dodged into restaurants and open bars for short touches of heat. I didn't have any alcohol, she didn't have much, drinking part of one beer at one place.
What our conversation revolved around was a very second life sort of issue. How to show how you feel about yourself and wear your identity. We held hands, we looked at other couples and guessed whether they were romantically linked. She told me about some of the stereotypical couples: college student rebellions. Married women in their thirties dating fresh graduates or seeking furtive liasons. Much older divorced women. Foreigners and Chinese la las who argue in cafes. Professional women who have obvious friends, but won't move in together.
We noted the clothes as we walked through a shopping district. Right now the fashion in Beijing is, as expected, more staid than Shanghai. It's also winter. But eye make up is on most faces, and the jeans actually fit. The style here is to wash them heavily creating a highlight on the front of the legs. I fit in with the style of pants tucked into boots. It's cod, they add inches. They protect your pants.
They look good.
As importantly, I think. She looks good. Even though she makes no overt concession to fou fou, no make up, no styled hair. Her clothes fit better than they did in college. She's no longer uncomfortable with her body, which she scrunched up inside baggy clothes back in those days. She looks better, because she is standing up straight, and walks with an ease that she never had then.
Sexuality, personality and a liberation are on display here, and everyone wants to participate in that. There is s hunger to be who you are without looking over your shoulder. This, in a country that filters the English language wikipedia, blogspot (I can post to, but not read, my own blog).
No we didn't do anything that would get a page made NSFW. But as I turned to say good night, there was a lock of intimacy between us, because she had gotten what sex would have meant: the unqualified acceptance of someone else, someone who she hungers for contact with.
Her mother knows, but does not accept it. Her father does not know, but is proud of her. She talks to her father.
Her boss knows, and doesn't care. Her boss' boss has given her some uncomfortable looks. But she doesn't care.
(Still one more, really)