Jared Ning


china chronicles: subway with a gay man on july 4th novella


hey everybody.  long time no see.  guess what?  i’m more than halfway through my trip!  34 more days to go!

no good stories for you lately, sorry.  the best i can do is my little “subway with a gay man” novella.  it’s not exactly a full fledged episode.  anyway, so i met this guy today at the place i’m working with my director.  at the start he was very quiet, and i thought he looked a little mean, until i heard him talk…and walk.  overt body movements, limp hand, and all.  i thought to myself.  this man is gay.  well, turns out we ride the same way on the subway to get home (don’t take that metaphorically.  i’m not gay, i have a very pretty girlfriend).  we walk to the station and he jumps over a very low chain.  he cleared the chain easily, but it looked like he tripped in midair.  yup, this guy has to be gay.

so we get on the subway and see this lady right next to and facing the door holding her toddler in her arms.  all of a sudden a trickle comes down from the kid.  for future reference, there is no five second rule in china.  you drop it, it’s gone.  they end up sitting next to us.  baby lookin right at my gay friend (don’t even know his name).  he asks me if i like kids and i told him that oriental kids are particularly cute.  he says that american kids are cute too.  yes yes, lots of fun.  he’s gay.

i really do think oriental babies are very cute.  but something happens when they become teenagers.  they just aren’t so cute anymore.  Kristin Thomason once asked me, “you used to be cute, what happened?”

on our way to switch lines, he asks me if i think chinese girls are pretty. i don’t know why, but i’ve been asked this question many times.  almost as many times as where my girlfriend is from and why she didn’t come with me. anyway, i told him that i didn’t think they were that pretty and that American girls are prettier.  and before i met Lina, i was never really attracted to oriental girls.  he said that it’s just because i haven’t seen any really pretty chinese girls yet.  i think he was just trying to cover up his gayness.  i really want to ask him, but, for one, i don’t know how to say gay in chinese, besides, “do you like guys.”  second of all, i don’t know how the gay scene is in china.  like is it taboo, or against communism, or confucious would never have approved.  i have no idea.

the end.  happy july 4th everybody!  you have to celebrate for me ok?  i’m afraid if i do, i might get arrested.  hostbro said he would take me to the us embassy where they celebrate it, but i’m afraid it will be like a pathetic commercial.  and how much of a dork would i be if i went to the us embassy to celebrate july 4th?  so i’m going to take Kristin’s advice and light a match and squint and pretend it’s fireworks.  be safe and have fun!  miss you guys!