Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Stupid Gay Writer and Disgusting Sunny Morning

I woke up late this morning so I hurried to get myself a cup of coffee, start Yoyo Ma's Baroque music and begin writing. Between coffee sips and writing fits, I glanced at the sunny day outside and through my window, the same view of the shiny new Beijing TV Tower in construction.

At 9:40am my cell phone rang. The call was from a number I didn't recognize.

"Hello?" I answered.

"Hi. In our hotel we have two girls newly arrived from our hometown. Would you be interested in 开包 openning their bags?" A rather mechanic female voice came through the line.

The connection was not very good. I thought it was some kind of tele-marketing but why would I be asked to offer them service? Could this be the pimp from the five-star hotel who had almost tempted me into prostitution? So I asked, "What opening bag?"

"You know. Virgin girls.” She mumbled.

Oh. She’s asking if I would be interested in popping the cherries of two virgin girls from the countryside.

“Where are you calling from and how did you get my number?” I managed to ask one more question despite my disgust.

“We are in a hotel in Zhong Guanchun (the Silicon Valley of China located in northwest Beijing). You left your number with us once.” She said. Then she finished off quickly, “If you are interested, just give me a call.” And she hung up.

I couldn’t go back to writing after the call. I kept on seeing two poor country girls being locked up in a small hotel room somewhere. Or they could be willingly learning how to do makeup from their mama-son. Either way I felt disgusted.

Just two days ago, I interviewed an old gay man who’s married and paid for money-boy service on the side; I told him that I was starting to understand pay for sex, because the young money boys who came from the countryside looked so happy with the old gay man. For me, the moral absolute began to blur when both sides benefit, even if the good being traded is sex.

But this morning I couldn’t get over the image of two virgin girls from the country. How could one justify in any way selling two girls’ virginity?

Right by my laptop in a pile of junk on the desk laid a business card which was pushed underneath our door yesterday. On the front was the face of a beautiful and demure Chinese lady with the text “private care”. On the back listed the different kinds of massage services they offered.

I dialed their number to confirm my instinct of it being a sex service. After a brief greeting with a sweet-voiced lady, I went directly to the point.

“What’s this Spanish Cavalier service you are offering?” I asked.

“It’s a special kind of oil massage.” The lady answered.

“Special in what way?”

“Heehee, you are a very direct customer,” she giggled. “It’s a massage done with a body part that men don’t have.”

“You mean breasts?” But I could not see how massage could be done with breasts.

“Heehee.” She giggled some more. “Just come over and you’ll know. Not breasts for sure. We have many girls here. You can talk to them about services not offered on our menu.”

“But still, what female part do you use for Spanish Cavalier?” I was obsessed with finding the answer.

“Ha ha,” she laughed out loud this time, “you still don’t know or you are just playing with me? You are a very funny man.”

The conversation ended without me able to find out what Spanish Cavalier is.

I was left dazed by the two phone calls this morning. Sex was being pushed about for sale in this great capital of our communist motherland just like every other commodity, with abundant availability and a market penetration that leaves no stratus untouched. I knew I shouldn’t have been surprised but I was grinding my teeth with anger because this market penetration was ruining my writing.

What’s a civically responsible citizen to do?

I called directory service and got the number for the police station in Zhong Guanchun. A male cop answered the call.

I explained the first phone call to him and asked, “Does your station take care of cases like this?”

“Yes, we do. You said they called you this morning?” He sounded like he’s writing.

“Yes. The number they called from is 13240893699. Do you want to write down my number so perhaps you could call me back and let me know how the case is going?” I offered.

“Hmm. Maybe not necessary. See, we need to first open a case, then we need to verify the phone number. They could turn it off so we wouldn’t be able to verify. Then we have to investigate. It could take a while.” Strangely, he didn’t sound that different from the LA cops depicted in American TV shows.

“But you will investigate cases like this, right?”

“Of course. That’s our job.” He replied matter-of-factly.

After the last call, I wondered what the cops would deal with a case like this. Would they laugh it off because if they really wanted to investigate, cases like this are in plain sight everywhere? Could they be colluding with the pimps? Would I be in trouble if they are colluding? And why wouldn’t they keep my number as a witness of some sort?

Sun is slanting in my study through the window. It’s a rare crystal-clear day in Beijing that reminds me of San Francisco. I feel warm in my well-kept apartment in my well-protected complex that, even though still lets massage service business cards slip through, keeps me at a distance from the harsh wintry reality outside. I wonder what a bourgeois intellectual (my likely classification under Mao) like me could do and whether the situation could be help.

And the only thing I know for sure is, my writing today is totally ruined.


Anonymous said...

Just found this blog. Very interesting articles with unique insights. Hope you can keep up with more good stories.

Beijing Loafer said...

Thanks. Keep coming back with comments!

rachel said...

thank you for calling the cop. you make a good citizen :D

vivianzhu said...

This is very sad reality and close to shamelessness behavior. What is being sold here and what is being indicated as the existence of a buyer market of the virginity and the way it is being sold, is so repulsive. Thanks for what you did.

Beijing Loafer said...

Let's hope that the cop will do his job. Let's hope that the situation can be helped.

Anonymous said...

What is even more sad is that these girls are almost certainly not virgins, but rather victims of abuse. They are most likely underage and being marketed to pedophiles who are destroying any hope these girls might have for a happy existance in the future in exchange for a litle cash.

I don't have any moral issues with prostitution, but exploiting underage girls like this makes me feel extreme rage against all those involved.

Beijing Loafer said...

Well said.

I called back the mobile number a couple of days ago. The woman was very nervous and ambivalent when I asked for "virgin girls". Apparently the cops had called them and probably admonished them. But nobody seemed to have got arrested and the same selling would likely just play out somewhere else.

chinadoll said...

It's disgusting and very sad.
This article somehow reminded me of a book-The image Factory Fads & Fashions in Japan by Donale Richie. It mentioned lots of Japanese high school girls would sell their virginities to middle age business men exchanging for Louis Vuitton bags. So writer asked them why. They said they would get nothing (no enjoyments as well)if they gave their first time to their boyfriends . "The first time would be always hurt anyways . I'd be better off getting something out of it."
It's one of those shocking moments .... I guess

Beijing Loafer said...

That's the kind of comments that completely make sense yet at the same time leaves one cold. People like that are just hairless mammals (except in certain parts) coated in designer fashions.

Ken (The Runcible) said...

Man, I know it's bad, but don't know it's that bad... I guess putting off crime is of lower priority comparing to building new stadiums?

Beijing Loafer said...

It's all about making money, man.

At the same time, from what I hear about Thailand, things are not that bad here.

Anonymous said...

The premiss of this tale is that there actually are two girls of an appropriately shockingly young age out there waiting for your custom.

Personally, I wonder, and I wonder about shopping the maker of the telephone call to a part of the same state apparatus which shut down the show at "On/Off" - monolyth or not.

In any case, I would hold no higher hopes of the Chinese "vice police" (and I am sure that a case like this would end up in a department like that if it went anywhere) than of the "vice police" of any other country.

Ryuji said...

It is one of the great tragedies of our contemporary time. Human trafficking has been plaguing my country for decades. Country girls as young as 7 are lured, deceived, and outright kidnapped to be sold in Indian brothels. These traffickers even go to the lenght of marrying the girl, obtain marriage certificate and arrange for a honeymoon across the border inorder to elude sercurity personals at the borders. There they are sold off to the local whore houses. If the girls are virgins, they fetch more money.

Whore houses has been convincing enough to spread rumours, sex with Nepalese

virgin girls cures HIV AIDS or cannot have AIDS. I guess thispathetic advertisement for the Indians. Country with 1.2 billion population, more than 50% are illiterate and living below poverty line.

Hundreds of women are trafficked every year to India. Establishment of Maiti Nepal, an organization founded to fight the trafficking of young Nepalese girls has helped to bring awareness. In 2001, they were able to rescue 69 girls from the Indian brothels. They estimate there are 150,000 and 300,000 Nepalese girls in Indian brothels. Its a drop in the ocean, but its a positive start.

Beijing Loafer said...

Indeed it is a start. Work from non-profits like Maiti Nepal puts writer's words to shame.

Anonymous said...

what's the problem with selling sex again ?