Seeing Red

Every night before I go to sleep I log on to AOL to see if Wei, my friend and future Chinese hostess happens to be online. Usually, she is and, for a few minutes, we chat excitedly about my upcoming trip to Beijing. After we dispense with important travel details such as wardrobe selection, this particular night Wei and I talk about the subject that most occupies single women's minds--


The last time I ventured to discuss Wei's personal life, she was happily coupled with a Greek businessman living in China. With many a connection to embassies around the city, "The Greek" (as he has always been known to me) had manage to nab both Wei and I an invitation to a western New Years Eve party at an embassy. I was so excited-- imagining just what a party with foreign diplomats might be like. I spent many a night perusing my closets for the perfect Audrey Hepburn-type outfit.

It was only natural, then, for me to bring the subject of "The Greek" up through the course of our conversation.

Me: "How's the Greek?"
Wei: "Greek is out of the picture. There is a new guy...hahaha"
Me: "Oh?"

I tried not to seem disappointed, but my heart sank with the words, "Greek is out of the picture." Did this mean my fabulous New Years Eve embassy party had also gone the way of "the Greek"? Suddenly my mind drifted longingly to visions of a swanky gathering laden with James Bond-like emissaries offering me a martini or perhaps the finest of wines...

Wei: "A French"
Me: "A French what?"
Wei: "A French MAN, silly. His name is Nico."

What? A NAME??!!?! Wei gave me his name? We had talked about "The Greek" for months. No name had ever been dropped. I couldn't help think that this thing with "The French" must be serious.

Me: "Nico, huh? Sounds as if you like this guy. Tell me more."
Wei: "Well, he's wonderful and makes me very happy. He's five years younger, but that is not the problem..."

A problem??? My hopes were beginning to brighten that the Greek, along with my fabulous embassy party, might not be out of the picture yet.

Wei: "Well, he's poor. And, I would have to keep us in the lifestyle I've grown accustomed. Hahahaha..."

Please, understand. For me, poverty would not be an issue. But Wei is a diva among high-maintenance women, not to mention very practical about such matters.

Me: "Poor? So what? This doesn't have to be a deal breaker, Wei. You need to be looking at other more important qualities. Is he industrious? Is he wise with the money that he does have? Does he have ambition?"
Wei: "Yes... yes...yes. He is all of those things. He's a teacher, but it doesn't pay much."
Me: "But teaching is a worthy profession."
Wei: "Yeah, he's a teacher/communist/humanitarian. Nico spends his summers helping in Africa. I admire him so much."

Woa! Let's back this sentence up a few words. Nico is a teacher/communist/humanitarian. Obviously for Wei, Nico's communist activities aren't a problem, only the fact that he is poor. Although I am a live-and-let-live sort of person, this concept boggles my mind. Wei, although Chinese, is a capitalistic American citizen working for a Fortune 100 company.

But then I remember, Wei lives in China. Her country is full of communists. And if you are going to date in China, chances are you'll land a communist from time to time. I guess it's not such a stretch after all.

Me: "I wonder what Nico, your French, teacher/communist/humanitarian, boyfriend is going to think about you're all-American, capitalist, girlfriend?"
Wei: "Somehow, I don't think you two will have a problem."

Yeah, one thing is for sure--this trip to China will be filled with all sorts of unique characters and new experiences. However, I do fear that instead of a swanky embassy party, my New Years will be spent in some dark, red, hole-in-the-wall shack with pipe-smoking communist philosophers, who will have no appreciation for Audrey Hepburn dress that I'll be sporting. Maybe I should go out and purchase a red beret?

Nah, I don't think it will go with the dress.


utenzi said...

Let's see now--there might be a few awkward moments but if Wei double dates with you matched with the Greek, Diane, the 4 of you could go to the New Year's embassy party.

The entire Diane Mandy, secret agent concept can still live on! Any secret agent worth her salt can lead a guy on for one party, you know?

Just a thought....

Greg - Cowboy in the Jungle said...

I think perhaps this Nico fella might be "equipped" or "talented."

The Door Steward said...

Meh...if all else fails just get drunk.

I'm sure it'll all be fine and you'll have a good time. Keep us updated.

Diane Mandy said...

Utenzi - Now **THAT'S** not a bad idea. You really think I could pull it off?

Greg - My guess is that the guy is "well equipped" and "talented". But those conversations with Wei will wait till I get there.

Stew -- I am sure there will be plenty of libations! I'll send you the link to my travel journal. How you feeling these days?

Jamy said...

Everyone knows that real revolutionaries wear black berets. I think one of those will go nicely with your Audrey Hepburn dress. Everyone appreciates that kind of dress!

Anonymous said...

An Audrey Hepburn dress would be perfect, all the commis clove class... all u need is a little lapel or a discreet tie pin kind of thingie that has a communist or worker symbol pinned away on your dress ... beret wearing commis are cliched..
have a nice day

utenzi said...

Diane Mandy "shaken, not stirred"--can pull off anything. I have confidence in you. In fact if you want to practice pulling things off just let me know.

Or should I leave lines like that to Mr Hand?

3rdtimesacharm( 3T ) said...

Communist or not, WEAR the Audrey Hepburn dress! :-) And of course post a picture.