Friday, March 13, 2009

Taiwan lifestyle: The marlboro girls

One of the biggest reasons why we loved Taiwan was the women, but it could be a double-edged sword.

New guys in Taiwan always asked why the crap architecture didn’t bother us anymore, and, it was because we had already readjusted our sights to the thousands of perfectly manicured, slim, hip-wiggling girls that went by. That was our scenery. But it could be a problem, because we were never satisfied: maybe, you went to an orgy the night before and were now outside on the street spent and satisfied waiting for a taxi, then something would walk by to get you all desired up again.

On this particular Saturday evening we were sat in the bar thinking not much was going on, and this was a good thing: we could go home early and actually do something with our Sunday. Unfortunately, then the Carlsberg girls walked in.

You have heard of the showgirls that you get at the electronics and car shows throughout Asia? Well, all the big cigarette and alcohol companies hired the same girls to wander from bar to bar every night in white cowboy uniforms with short skirts and boots or silver space girl outfits to promote their drinks. Contrary to stereotypes about Taiwan, invariably they were all university students who were bright, mannered and infectiously upbeat, viewing the job as learning about public relations or sales. We flirted with them and were not told where to go – and that got us excited. Now, we would be dragging ourselves home at eight in the morning after the disco ended.

I decided to call a number instead. “You want to meet at the hotel?” I said.

“Hao a,” she replied. I loved this girl’s repressed indifference: ‘hao a’ meant ‘why not’; but that was not the end of it, her tone was all passive, well I’ll go along I suppose, got nothing better to do, anyhow shouldn’t make a lot of difference to me either way, doesn’t sound much of an idea, got no real opinion so whatever. And the great thing about it all was she was going off to a hotel to be unfaithful to her fiancĂ© and it was only the 2nd time in her life she had done such a thing.

Some two hours later: “I’ll give you a call sometime,” I said as we mounted our separate motorbikes.

“Hao (Okay),” she replied. I was surprised, it was barely perceptible, but there was a hint of ‘give a shit’ about her answer.

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