Beijing is one of those places where there never seems to be an age limit to groups mixing. As a result, you get 20 somethings joking and chugging down Tsingdao with friends twice their age. Our friend J had somehow secured a friendship slot in Beijing's elder, well-to-do set. Her friend H was one of those wealthy divorcee's who spent their entire China existence getting as many Chinese girls as their Viagra supply could handle. Taking a page out of President Bush's "How to be Successful Handbook" you could always count on H pulling the "hand on small of back move". Despite his faults - smarminess, dull wit, constant and unecessary touching, he threw amazing catered cocktail parties with a delicious spread of food and copious amounts of alcohol.
He enjoyed having us at his parties because we lent him some street cred as being in tune with the youth crowd and perhaps, when it came down to it, our breasts were perky. We enjoyed his parties because, we could bring as many of our friends as we liked, squat in an immaculate apartment and eat and drink for free. As a result, his parties ended up being segregated groups of 20-somethings drinking furiously and old, white expat men trying to seal the deal with Chinese girls half their age. During one such party, the douchiness level amongst the old, white expat men seemed higher than usual.
My friends and I looked on as the mid life crisisers raced through the bottles of wine as if they secretly believed that their rate of alcohol consumption directly correlated with how youthful and virile they were. While the alcohol did little to reverse the forward march of time (except maybe in thier own minds) it did make the men sloppier and louder. So loud in fact that even from across the room we could hear the contents of their banter which seemed centering on critiquing their Chinese countparts' physique which seemed a bit hypocritical seeing as all the men had decidedly apple shaped bodies.
"OH YOU'RE A LOVELY ONE," roared drunken old man one boisterously creeping a lecherous hand around his friend's companion. She tittered nervously and tried to pull away. "YOU'RE A GOOD LOOKER TOO HONEY," yelled drunken old man two a decible higher, intent on not being shown up by his friend. "OH THIS ONE??" sputtered drunken man one. "SHE'S HOT NOW BUT SHE DIDN'T USED TO BE." He then turned to his Chinese lady friend and said something that if any man uttered in the West would have landed him a punch to the face, "GO ON HONEY, TELL M HERE ABOUT HOW YOU USED TO BE FAT." The Chinese girl in question's face reddened. Her friend tried to laugh. The men, oblivious to their discomfort did another vodka shot.