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concubine in a massage parlour

China Travel Blog

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the classical look

While out one night my Aussie friends took me for a massage. Hidden behind some high rise apartment blocks was a bustling entertainment district. Huge billboards and signs lit with lurid neon colours, advertised the karaoke bars, clubs, restaurants, massage parlours, and mahjong dens. The streets were crowded with touts. It looked a lot like the soaplands in Japan. We went in to a large building that looked like a spa with some girls in tight red dresses at the entrance and reception. It was all kind of kinky but I wasn't interested in anything but a “normal massage”. An attendant handed us a locker key and towels. We showered and sat in the steam room for a bit. When we got out we put on  silk trunks and bathrobes and headed up to the rooms.

modern xiaojie
In a bit this young woman comes in with a drink and starts the massage. We started some conversation with the usual questions “Where are you from?” “What do you do?” etc. “I can tell you’re a foreigner” she said with a gleam in her eye. I thought I’d do some investigation and for variety I told her I was from Hong Kong ( she wasn’t cantonese so she wouldn’t see through my cover) and that I worked in a trading company, she sure got interested in that. As the massage progressed she asked me matter-of-factly if I wanted to Dafeiji or “shoot down the plane” for a tip, what euphemisms these Chinese have, I never thought of wanking off as a patriotic act! I turned down the offer, she looked surprised “why not?” she asked. “You’re very pretty and all..”, I didn’t want to hurt her feelings, “ But I don’t want to do that now. Why don’t we go out some time and get to know each other or something?”. “Sure…I could be with you” she said “ I could be your Xiaojie (mistress/concubine).” She added with total normalcy in her tone. “What do you mean?” I asked, “you can just give me a monthly “gift” she explained. “What’s that?” I couldn’t believe this, “oh..about 1000$ a month or so” she was so nonchalant it must not have been her first time to give this sales pitch. It was like bargaining for a horse or a used car, totally over-the-top! Of course I declined but it was another look at a part of culture here.

In SW China the concubine tradition lives on this time men from Hong Kong take mistresses are from China. These men spend the weekends with their concubines and their children (I once taught in a village kindergarten filled with these offspring) and  the weekdays with their legitimate families in Hong Kong. They find the women in massage parlours or karaoke bars. Much less than having any stigma attached to them these women live pampered lives of luxury supported by the HK sugar daddies. I Thailand I also saw this medieval practice it’s probably widespread n other undeveloped nations where the gap between rich and poor is great.

I’m not a prude but it doesn’t make sense to me at all: for starters, it’s unnecessary burden, most men work hard enough to support one family without additional ones. It’s a waste of resources, once they can provide for one family these men invest more money on additional dependants. It’s irresponsible, many of the offspring lack registration and other identification putting them at high risk. It promotes the wrong cultural messages, concubines are like status symbols in these cultures. I personally think the men are exploitive and the women are mercenary, with the roles of predator and prey often changing. Anyhow, how can there be love in this type of purely selfish relationship?    

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the classical look
the classical look
modern xiaojie
modern xiaojie