I pulled up in front
of Mia’s place and put the car in park, then pulled out my cell phone and
texted her, “Here!”
I turned to skim the
latest entertainment news as I waited for her to come out, but then the text signal
sounded, and her text said that I should come in. I sighed and turned off the ignition,
glad I had made sure I wasn’t wearing anything that
her parents might take issue with, at least, that they could see.
Her parents lived in
a two-bedroom apartment with Mia, her sister Shan, and her brother Joey. Joey
was fourteen while Mia was five years older, and Shan was in the middle.
Nevertheless, the way they worked the sleeping arrangements was that Joey got
the bedroom while her father had placed curtains around part of what had been the
dining room for the two girls.
The cordoned-off part
was barely big enough for a bunkbed, and a pair of dressers, less than half the
space Joey had. This didn’t make any sense to me, but
it made perfect sense to her family, because boys were valuable, and girls were
She had long ago
warned me not to question anything her parents said or did. Girls were not
supposed to question. They were supposed to be modest and meek and do what they
were told and show respect to any male around, and
especially their elders.
Mia’s parents had
been born and raised in China. Mia was born there too, but the family came to
America when she was just two years old. Needless to say, she
was not happy with her parents’ cultural views.
She was constantly bitching to me about the way they treated her, seething
about the difference between how they treated her brother as opposed to her and
her sister. She’d given up arguing with them, though.
She just meekly nodded her head in agreement at whatever they told her, then fumed
about it later with me.
Her one act of open
rebellion had been when she had cut her waist-length hair to about collar
length in a cute, layered shag style. It really looked nice on her, and a lot more modern. Unfortunately, her parents were not much
into modern, and she had done it without asking permission because she never would’ve gotten it.
She had been grounded ever since. She had to bitch
about that by text and emails because there was nowhere in the apartment she
could talk without someone overhearing her. Her parents pretty
much figured they owned her, especially since her father was putting her
That, to them, was such
an enormous compromise to their sense of traditions that they figured she
should be down on her knees thanking them every time they met. After all, it wasn’t really necessary for females to be
educated. No matter how smart they were or how good their marks were at school.
The only job for a
female was to marry well, keep the house pristine, and have lots
As I rode up in the
elevator I reached up and back to gather my hair in, then slipped an elastic
around it so it hung behind me in a loose ponytail. Then I reached into the
side pocket of my jacket for a pair of clear plastic
These were my applying-for-a-job
glasses. They made me look more intellectual, especially with my hair pulled
back. Needless to say, if I was applying for a job as
a server at a pub or something like that I didn’t wear them or pull my hair back.
The thing is, I have
learned that when people see me, they see blonde. Don’t get me wrong, I love my hair. It’s
a nice, golden, buttery color; thick and soft, and hangs halfway down my back. It’s usually pretty tame but is more than willing to be
styled in all kinds of different ways. Although I rarely do.
But it's still blonde. And there is a cultural thing about blondes, as we all know. Just like there is about girls with
glasses. Both of them are stupid, but they seem to
appeal to people’s subconsciousness, so they can’t be simply dismissed. Because
of that, I use one to counter the other.
When I apply for a
job, it’s always important to find out if the
interviewer is a guy or a woman. If it’s a guy, I’ll
dress and do my hair one way. If it’s a girl, another.
Guys tend to be happy to see me, and girls not so much. A lot
of women, I have found, resent girls that look like me.
mean to sound arrogant or boastful, but most people find me fairly attractive,
more attractive than most people, so to speak. It’s
really nothing but DNA. I don’t do anything especially
to look hot or attractive, at least no more than most girls, and less than
I work out, of
course. But I think I benefit from a
higher-than-normal metabolism, which allows me to eat junk food and still stay
thin. I try not to do it too much around friends, girlfriends, that is. Nobody
is very happy when they’re daintily picking away at a salad
and sipping water and I'm wolfing down a cheeseburger and Coke.
a problem when I was fourteen, but I’ve noticed more and more girls being
obsessed with their weight as I get older. When I do eat freely around other girls,
I just say well, I’ll exercise for the next couple of
hours or something like that. Which is a lie, but it sort of
makes it seem to them as if I’m paying for my pleasure, so they’re not
I mean, it’s not my fault so many people are overweight. And it’s not like I can call them out on it, either. They
usually say things like “I don’t understand how I gained another four pounds!”
And I shrug sympathetically while biting my tongue on suggesting they exercise
I knocked politely on
the door and waited. The way it worked in Mia’s house was that her father got
the door if he was home, and after him her brother, and after him her mother. It
seemed weird to me, but I wasn’t the one who had to live
Her father opened the
door and I smiled politely.
“Hi, Mr. Quan. Is
“You go to your house
to work on computer,” he said almost as if it was a
question, his English heavily accented even after over seventeen years here.
uncertainly, not necessarily believing me but not finding any evidence to call
me out on it. We weren’t going to be working at all.
But her family didn’t believe in letting Mia simply go
out to socialize. And dating was right out of the question. Even though she was
Until she had
completed her studies, marrying anyone would simply distract her. And there was
no point at all in socializing with men except to find the right one to marry
you, as far as they were concerned. Even then they would have to approve of the
man before any date. And there would have to be severe restrictions on where
Mia appeared at the
door, looking very fashionable in her black and white outfit. She was wearing
white sneakers, a white hoodie, black trousers, and a black jacket. Her parents
didn't believe in girls dressing to please modern
fashions, but of course, the parameters of modern fashion eluded them.
dressed in black leather walking shoes, black trousers, a gray
turtleneck, and a brown jacket with military-style epaulets. Obviously, not on
my way to party, or do anything else wild and crazy, like ‘those Western girls’.
She slipped out past them,
and I nodded to her father and then went back towards the elevator with her.
Neither one of us spoke as her father kept the door open until we reached the
elevator bank, and then until we got inside and the doors closed.
She blew out a puff
of air and rolled her eyes as she put her back against the wall.
“They drive me
crazy!” she said. “He insisted that you come up in case I was on the elevator
and some bad man, especially a ‘Negro’, got on the
elevator and I was all alone and helpless with them.”
“That sounds like one
of your sexual fantasies, doesn’t it?”
She slapped me
lightly on the arm.
“Okay, maybe it's one
of my sexual fantasies.”
“Did you tell your
“He’s happier not
She snorted and
sighed heavily. “If we had a decent place for the computer I could be working
on, he wouldn’t let me out of the house. As it is my
little brother is on the computer playing video games, and of course he’s more important.”
“Of course!” I said
“What’s with the
“I wear them when I
want people to think I’m more intellectual, like a respectable librarian or
I took them off and
put them back in my pocket.
“Yeah, right. More
like the kind of respectable librarian in the movies that everybody is supposed
to take as being ugly until she takes off her glasses and then undoes her hair
and shakes it loose. Then suddenly everybody realizes how beautiful she is.”
I took the elastic
off my hair and shook it out and she acted all amazed and excited.
“Oh my God, you’re so hot! I think I’m a
lesbian now!” she exclaimed.
“I have that effect
on women,” I said, airily.
We laughed as we
exited the elevator and walked to the doors.
“Maybe you should
tell them you're a lesbian,” I said, “Then you can tell them you changed your
mind and they’d be happy to have you going out with guys.”
“It doesn’t work that
way,” she sighed, “They don’t care if I like men or not.
Just so long as I marry one and have babies.”
“So even if you’re a
lesbian you’re supposed to marry a guy?”
“Yes. But you’re not supposed to tell anyone that you’re a lesbian. You’re supposed to ignore it.”
“Your culture is
“Yup. And if they did
think I was gay, they wouldn't let me go anywhere with
you. You’re one of those fornicating western women
with loose morals.”
“You’re damn right I
“Wanna loan me your
“No, though I’m sure that would make him happy. Because of porn videos,
every single boy has this idea that the sexiest thing there can be is two girls
together. So they all want to see their girlfriend with another girl. And of
course, they want to join in.”
“And take videos.”
I put my arm across
her shoulders. “So, interested in a threesome?”
She snorted and
rolled her eyes.
We separated and I
got in the driver’s door then hit the lock release, and she opened the passenger
door and slipped inside.
“I hate my life,” she
“No, you don’t. You hate being a virgin.”
I started the car and
pulled the seatbelt across my chest to fasten next to me.
“I could lose my
virginity anytime I wanted to,” she said.
“Of course, you could.
You could’ve done it at school last year. Why didn’t
“Well, it’s not like I had a lot of time to date! If I don’t get straight A’s my parents will pull me back home and
try and marry me off to someone.”
“A nice Chinese boy,”
I said in amusement.
“I should find a big black guy and bring them home and tell them he’s my
“Yeah, I don’t think
that would go over well,” I said.
“It wouldn’t even go over well if I brought home an Asian guy.
He has to be Chinese, and he has to be Han Chinese.
And he has to be educated and come from a good family.”
“Are Chinese guys
good in bed? I don’t believe I’ve ever heard anyone
know. It’s certainly not something my parents would
ever talk about. When you find one and have sex with them then report back to
“I’ll ask Evan if I’m
allowed to do that.”
“I thought you were a
free and independent Western woman. You still have to
ask your boyfriend’s permission to do things?” she said mockingly.
“To cheat on him? I’m afraid so. Of course, if it was a Han Chinese girl, and
he got to watch, I’m sure he wouldn’t mind.”
“Men are all sex maniacs,”
“They were born that way.
It’s instinctive for them.”
“You mean nobody
cares that they’re like that. Unlike girls.”
“Three more years and
you’re done University and can get a job and support yourself.”
“I don't want to wait
three years to find out what sex is like!”
“So, when you get
back to school in the fall find some hot-looking guy and jump his bones.”
She rolled her eyes
at me impatiently.
“There’s no way I
could possibly bring myself to approach some guy I don’t even know and suggest
something like that.”
“You mean sex? Why
not? I guarantee you it’ll work.”
“Because I can’t! I need… I need some guy to
hit on me and seduce me.”
“Seduce you?” I
grinned at her.
“I mean, persuade
“You mean you have to
play hard to get otherwise you’d feel too guilty.”
feel guilty anyway. But at least I could do it. What I really need is like in some of those romance novels where the guy just grabs you and
kisses you passionately and then tears your clothes off.”
“I don’t think that’s
legal in the real world.”
“You know what I mean,”
she said in annoyance.
“You want to be
snatched up by some hot, sexy barbarian guy who throws you down beside his fire,
ties you up, and then ravages you senselessly while you scream in pleasure,” I
said in amusement.
“That would be cool. As long as he was sexy.”
“Some guys like to
tie girls up,” I said with a grin.
“Like I said, guys
are sex maniacs.”
“Evan likes to tie
girls up sometimes,” I said.
She widened her eyes.
“You’re kidding! He ties you up!?”
“If I let him.”
“What’s that like?”
she asked eagerly.
know. It’s hard to describe,” I said. “It’s a little strange. Because if I’m
tied up, he has to do all the work. Which I don’t mind
really. The thing with guys is their ego demands that you really get off on the
sex. So he’ll put more effort into certain things
since I obviously can’t do anything. It’s fun,
“Fun? Don’t tell me fun! Tell me it’s incredibly
hot and full of passion and excitement and pleasure and wild orgasms.”
I laughed in
amusement. “On a good day,” I said with a grin and a wink. “I’ve
been training him, after all. A guy who isn’t properly
trained can’t be very good at sex. And if I’m going to
sleep with him, he’s damn well going to be good at sex or else.”