Friday, August 17, 2012

Shanghai Nights

Imagine partying in a club laden with a horde of the best looking girls you’ll ever set eyes to.

It doesn’t take much to bait me and I sure as hell wasn’t about to pass out on a passage to the apparent party mecca of China, Shanghai. It was a trip brimmed with promises and optimistic grandeurs of hedonism.

And yet I left Shanghai, decently poorer, my liver still surprisingly intact and a memory bank scarred with a visual imprint of what public toilets might have been without the invention of doors. On the bright side, I took back a bank of survival tips.

Rule #1: Being the right type of foreigner

Unlike Bangkok where strutting in with our republic’s red passport instant makes half the women wet, Shanghai requires a different route of approach. Or so we’ve been told.

Nana: “In Shanghai, women go for long term investments. They want a boyfriend, not a fling. So if they know that you are working in Shanghai, you stand a much better chance.”

The plan was simple. Our singular speech cue for the night was that we were here to find housing because we were going to be relocated to Shanghai.

Nana had taken us to a KTV, because he was confident that the girls would willingly come out with because the old trick of ‘being an expat in Shanghai’ works miracles and he had past experiences to substantiate his claims.

The night started well and by the first hour, I was so into the story that I could have convinced my shadow that I was indeed going to be up-rooted to Shanghai in the following week. Then Nana decided that alcohol was going to be the best accelerator for the situation and exponentially increase our success rate.

15 mins later, we had creamed a bottle playing dices and cards.

30 mins later, we had gone through a second. The girls loosening up and gearing into the mood.

And hour later and four bottles down, our girls are passed out drunk on the sofa and LB is snoring away. We killed our own party.

Me: “Why the fuck did you have to force the girls to drink so much?!”

Nana: “They are more fun when they drink.”

I point to the sofa where my girl is groaning in agony and periodically puking into the dustbin.

Me: “You really think so?”

Rule #2 : Never assume

To salvage the situation, I insisted that Nana take us to a club. There wasn’t much left in that KTV. LB got wasted so he left. The girls save for LB’s, could hardly be moved. It was like Atila the Hun came and lay waste to the room.

We decided to head to Muse 2 with the two mamasans and LB’s girl. When we got there, we got ushered to a table and in the midst of trying to stop myself from blatantly gawking at the women, another 5 bottles of champagne was staring at me.

Seldom will I be distracted when there is a parade of sparklers and champagnes dancing before me, but on the next table was a group of 10 women that were so hot, they would have given a eunuch an erection.

Now, I’ve been to some of the best clubs Asia has to offer, but I never been to any club with that phenomenal quotient of hot women. Almost every women in there could walk up to a billboard and demand to be on it.

I remember the mamasan having to restrain us from hitting on the girls on the next table. I remember Nana sneaking off, I remember the mamasan whispering sometime to me and I remember LB’s girl offering to send me home. Now, what I don’t remember is how things got to this point.

We are both sitting in the cab outside my hotel and she starts the worst conversation of my Shanghai life.

She: “Errm, did anyone tell you about the arrangement?”

And this was in Mandarin - a language I struggle with despite my recent penchant for Celestial Movies – and at 4am in the morning when I’ve had cognac and champagne in me.

Me: “What arrangement?”

Now, here I was wondering if the talk about relocating had baited her. Perhaps she wanted to spend the night with me, but was too shy to say. Perhaps my charm had worked on her, although I had only spent about 5 mins the entire night talking to her.

She: “My tips..”

Tips? What the fuck is this girl saying to me?

The night raced through my head. I did not sit with her at the KTV, she invited herself along to the club, I did not even touch her the entire night, neither did we have a conversation that lasted more than 2 sentences. Okay, I remembered her pouring a couple of glasses of champagne for me, but what the fuck is this girl saying?

Me: “What tip?”


It escalated so badly that it involved her calling the mamasan and ended with me yelling at the mamasan. Then it went on to her bargaining for a lower tip and ended with me telling her that the only thing I was prepared to pay was for her taxi fare back. Every time she reached into her bag, I thought she was going to pull out a switchblade or a gun. She was livid. Then I got kicked out of the cab.

Tip # 3 : Being old is good

On the third night we headed down to this other club call Richbaby. Unlike Muse which was a dance club, Richbaby was so brightly lighted and packed with tables, I thought I was going in to take an examination.

Nana’s friend brought a group of random girls over to play dice with us. Not only were they nowhere as hot as the girls at Muse, they were also pretty un-friendly. Finally after a good 20 mins of partnering me on dice and not saying a single word to me, she turns to say what I assume is an extended ‘hello’.

Girl : “How old are you?”

And she said this as she eyed me with what felt like so much contempt, that I would have pleaded guilty to anything.

This all changed after she realised that I was a lot older than what she assumed. Suddenly, I am worth all her friend’s time. Not only do they want to talk to me, taking my contact is on the cards as well. This is the greatest reward being over 30 gets you.

Nana’s girlfriend then laid it out for me.

She: “In the clubs, girls aren’t interested if you’re young, because it just means that you don’t have a career.”

Tip #4 : Champagne if you want girls

One thing I remember vividly about Shanghai clubs were the endless sparklers parade with champagne bottles that were carried to the tables by a line of floor staff. Intemperance is a word oblivious to them because cornucopia is the apparent norm when it comes to drinks.

If there is space on the table, you need to cover it with a bottle of champagne.

Champagne is the modus operandi. And there is hardly any table in a club that isn’t laden with a magnum bucket of champagne. I don’t know if chicks actually dig drinking it or holding a champagne flute exudes class, but it was quite obvious that no chick was going to be coming over to your table if you didn’t have at least 5 bottles on your table.

The great thing about Shanghai and their champagne policy is that you can keep any un-opened bottles. So if you do your math right, you just need one huge night of heavy spending to look good for the next three nights.

Tip #5 : Rule one is not always applicable

I do not remember much of the crap that was spewing out of my mouth for the entire night I was at Richbaby, but I do remember constantly pronouncing that I was going to re-locate, in the midst of finding my apartment and going to settle into Shanghai in the coming weeks.

I had champagne and cognac in me, but I never forgot Nana’s basic rule that you can only score if the girls see a long-term investment in you.

I finally ended up at my hotel with a random girl from the club. We got into my room and into bed, and for the next 30 mins, this girl would not stop talking about her plans to bring me out for lunch and sightseeing the next day and how she would help me source for an apartment.

I went from feign smiling to pretending to be falling asleep but she kept on talking and I was convinced that if I had allowed her another 10 mins, she would have planned our wedding dinner and our children’s names.

I must have yawned enough to grow an additional muscle on my jaw, but I was prepared to slit my ear off if she went on any longer, so I told her to leave on a faux pretext that I needed to check out in 2 hours.

The next day.

Nana: “How did it go?”

Me: “Fuck you and fuck your theory!”

Nana: “Why?”

Me: “All the chick wanted was to take me out on a date!”

Nana: “Of course lah! It only works on KTV girls. Normal girls at the club just say you are a tourist and get it over and done with.”

Me: “…….”