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Archive for the tag “Zhengzhou”

Sweet Surrender

I had an interesting Saturday night last weekend followed by a very interesting day on Wednesday. Last weekend, I went with some colleagues to a gay bar here in Zhengzhou. My colleague’s friend put on a party there. The music was very good and the atmosphere was also great – people weren’t crazily drunk and there wasn’t a lot of smoking. A few hours into the night, I met a woman who I will call Mily. She looked very excitable and had, what I would describe, a nice light in her face. We danced fairly close together and she told me that I’m the first woman she’s ever been attracted to. I told her that I found her attractive as well. She ended up kissing me on the cheek and I kissed hers. I didn’t want to push anything with her, but I did want to kiss her on the lips. I leaned into do that and she shied away. She left for a bit, but then we continued dancing. I was very surprised when she kissed me on the lips! It was a very pleasant kiss. She gave me her number and said, keep in touch. I called her the following day and we arranged to meet on Wednesday. We had coffee at a very nice cafe and had good conversation. I was nervous about telling her about Ben, but then I found out that she has a unique insight into poly. She told me that she was previously married and her husband also happened to be with another woman in Thailand. She considered sending angry messages to that woman, but in the end, they actually became friends. Mily said to me, they are soulmates; I was pretty impressed with that. I told her about Ben and my past and she was very positive about it all. Unfortunately, Mily may not stay in Zhengzhou past May, but I’m sure we’ll at least have a friendship; I also want to move cautiously since Mily has never been with a woman before. She has invited me over to her house next week for lunch and she is keen to meet Ben, which I think are very good signs.

On Wednesday, before I had coffee with Mily, I had lunch with a friend and met a friend of hers, who’s interested in being poly. I think there is some mutual interest and he lives nearby, which is always a bonus. That evening, I talked to Ben about one reason why I like being with guys. I’m a pretty focused and driven person; when I put my mind to something, I can usually achieve it. When I’m with a guy, I feel all of that melt away. As per the title of this post, I can surrender myself to someone else. Of course, this isn’t always a good thing and it’s a very traditional way of looking at relationships. I think it can be traced back to my relationship with my father when I was younger. He was a pretty angry person back then and I never wanted to upset him, so I usually went along with what he wanted. I also lived with a stubborn sister and sometimes stubborn mother, so I’m used to being the one who’s more flexible and does what others want. Now, I often feel like I need to change my relationships with men, and perhaps with women as well. I’ve often been the one who takes initiative in a relationship and I want the people I’m with to take initiative as well. I also feel like I need to be more collaborative – if I have an idea, I want to discuss it more with the other person or people before doing something about it.  I’d also like to have a partner who comes up with the ideas and I can figure out the details, as I’m very detail oriented. I think there’ll be more of that once Ben and I return to Canada, when we’re on more equal footing, and I look forward to it.

Thank you as always for reading! If you have a relationship query, email me at miriam@askmiriam.ca

 

disAPPOINTMENT

Last weekend, I had a pretty annoying experience. For about a month, I had been in contact with an Italian guy who was going to spend 2 weeks in Beijing, which is only a few hours away by train from where I live. He told me he was going to arrive on January 3 and leave on January 17. He’s been in non-monogamous relationships before and he looked like an interesting guy, so I was definitely up for meeting him. The reason why he was coming to Beijing was to work on making the Hilton Hotel more environmentally friendly, which I really respected. I told him that I wouldn’t be able to come to Beijing because he’d be here during a very busy period where I had a lot of marking to do. He said he was happy to come to Zhengzhou, the city I live in. I told him that this past weekend would work out fine.

Fast forward to him arriving in China. We added each other on skype and I wanted to talk to him before he’d come to Zhengzhou. One night, I told him I could talk to him at a certain time and he didn’t come on. The next evening, I told him I was free and that I could be online, but he still didn’t come online. 2 days later, it was already Wednesday and I assumed he would be coming on Saturday. I asked him if he was still planning to come and he said yes. I informed him that I was only really free on Saturday night because I had to do marking on Saturday afternoon and we had a guest coming over on Sunday afternoon. I didn’t hear from him again until Saturday… at about 8pm, telling me that he’d be in Zhengzhou in 2 hours, despite the fact that I had sent him messages at 10am and 1pm telling him that I wanted to talk to him before he left for Zhengzhou. On Friday, Ben wasn’t feeling great, so I had to cover for one of his classes. At that point, I assumed that the Italian guy wasn’t coming. I have to say, I was quite horny at that time and was excited to have sex with someone else; Ben was excited for me too. I suppose I should have known that the Italian guy would stay at the Hilton Hotel, which isn’t that close to our place. Given his work, he probably got a discount. He didn’t arrive at the hotel until 10:30pm and that hotel is 20 kilometres away from our house; not a trivial distance to travel, especially given that we had company coming over the next day. In the end, I did not meet the Italian guy.

I have heard many people say that scheduling is one of the most difficult parts of being polyamorous. When you have several relationships, you need to make time for everyone. Plus, we have other things going on in our lives like work, alone time, and fun time. Given that the Italian guy was coming a fairly far distance to see me, I would think he would want to confirm beforehand that I would be able to see him at a certain hour. To me, this signifies a lack of respect for a person’s life. For me, but perhaps not for him, I actually wanted to get to know him a little bit. I was hoping we’d have dinner and have a real conversation. As a fellow blogger reminds us, it’s not (just) about the sex…

Twas Christmas Day… and I got tested for STIs

Of all the possible days, yes, I got tested for STIs in Zhengzhou on Christmas Day. Being a Jewish person, Christmas has never mattered that much to me. I have definitely enjoyed sharing with significant others and their families, but growing up, it was never important. This being China, Christmas isn’t a holiday where people don’t work. I teach one class on Thursday morning, so I did that as normal and then hopped on a bus to the central hospital of Zhengzhou University. Amy, who I’ve previously written about, took Ben there to get tested several weeks ago. At that time, she forgot to bring her ID card, so she couldn’t get tested. Thus, she came with me.

As a Canadian, the Chinese healthcare system seems strange to me. When you enter the hospital, you have to get a health card and immediately put money on it. Ok, in many countries, you do have to pay, but in China, the thing that gets me is the lack of privacy. I was actually able to use Ben’s health card, which would never be allowed in many places. I didn’t have a health card and forgot to bring my passport, so they told me that using Ben’s card would be fine. First, we put a bit of money on the cards so we’d be able to talk to a doctor. Amy and I went up to see the female doctor and she confirmed that she could test us for everything we wanted. Again, this is a major lack of privacy. The doctor had no idea what sort of relationship Amy and I have; perhaps I was her foreign friend, perhaps I was a complete stranger. Regardless, we both had our vaginas swabbed, similar to the procedure when I get a pap smear, so not real pain to speak of. Afterward, we were given 2 tubes and 2 swabs that had what the doctor had swabbed. We had to bring that to a special window where they test for the STIs. I think it would be much better if those were transported for us. What if Amy and I had mixed up whose was whose? What if someone had something and the other didn’t? I feel that this whole procedure can lead to a lot of mishaps.

Next, we had our blood taken to test for the rest of the STIs, which went fine. One thing I find odd is that after your blood is taken, they give you a Q-Tip which you have to hold yourself until blood stops appearing. In Canada, a cotton ball is taped to our arm to do that job, which I feel is much better. As I write this, the day after getting tested, I have a bit of a scar where the blood was drawn, probably because I kept taking the Q-Tip off to check if the blood had stopped. Thankfully, we didn’t have to transport our blood ourselves to be tested – that was done for us.

Finally, Amy and I went downstairs to pay. It all ended up costing 253 RMB, which for reference, is about $50; not bad. Ben and I had told Amy awhile ago that in Toronto and in Tokyo, where I used to live, you can get tested for STIs for free and anonymously. She asked us, why do they do that? Ben and I told her that there is a public health interest in making sure that everyone is healthy, even with regard to sexual health. In China, it is normal to test for HIV/AIDS, hepatitis, and syphillis, but not the most common STIs such as gonorrhea and chlamydia. Ben and I were tested for the former diseases when we first arrived to make sure we wouldn’t infect the population with any of those horrible things. Thus, it’s not really about health and more about keeping out foreign influence. In the future, I sincerely hope that STI testing will be both more widespread around the country, more comprehensive in terms of what they test for, and less of a hassle.

Two final notes as an aside: Amy and I had lunch after we got tested. She told me that her son now knows that she’s getting divorced, which Ben and I think is great news. She also said that her Beijing beau is coming here next week and they’ll decide what sort of relationship they’re going to have. I don’t think Amy is aware of the fact that Ben and I wouldn’t have sex with her if she’s involved with someone else, as Amy told us that the beau wouldn’t want to share and we don’t want to be her secret. We do wish her the best and think this is the best bet for her.

For the second final note, I’d like to give a special shout-out to all those poly people at this time of the year. For those of you who are celebrating with your family and can’t bring additional significant others with you or can’t talk about who you are, I want to tell you that things will get better over time. As polyamory is discussed more and more widely in this society, I hope it gets accepted by more and more people and that more poly people come out. The older generations may not understand it, but in time, I think most people will come to understand that we can’t control who we love and how many we love.
Happy Holidays to everyone and all of their loves! If you have a question, email me at miriam@askmiriam.ca

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