Wo Shi Laowai – Wo Pa Shui

This Blog was Invented in Xi'an 5,000 Years Ago

Who’s In This Relationship, Anyway?

Posted by MyLaowai on Friday, May 4, 2007

There’s a great deal of bleating and whining from Westerners here, who have had their lives, apartments, and bank accounts taken over by the families of the local bird they’re shagging. The expat forums abound with stern advice from local girls, like this:

you marry the girl and thus automatically marry her whole family. as you have mentioned, your girl “is ready to relocate abroad with whole her family”, since that is the a part of the reasons why your girl is going to marry you, I don’t see any possible solution to bypass her family.

Frankly, I’ve no sympathy. So it’s a ‘cultural’ thing? Big woops – so are all the things that Chinese tell us are unimportant “because this is China”. Grow some balls, peeps. Relationships ain’t about touching your toes while the In-Laws shaft you with a length of rough-sawn timber. True, one must adapt and make concessions in any relationship, but the person who decides precisely which adaptions and which concessions, is you. Nowhere is it written that you have to support the entire extended family, nowhere is it written that the whole herd gets to move in with you, and nowhere is it written that you are not permitted to see your child for the first 90 days of it’s life because the grandparents have priority. The decision is yours, with some input from your missus. And if she can’t accept your ‘culture’, then what the Hell where you thinking when you made your choice?

Early on in the relationship with Mrs MyLaowai, Grandma decided she wanted to come live with us ‘for a few days’. Sure, says I, she’s more than welcome, just so long as she understands that it’s a visit and not a retirement plan. First night, 9:30pm, and I’m finishing up with a client across town. I stop off at my favourite tavern for a sip of ale on the way home, per usual, and then my phone rings. It’s the missus.
“Grandma is asking when you’ll be home”, she says.
“I’ll be home when I’ve finished my beer. Belay that, I’ve just decided to have another. I may come home after that”, I reply.
“Please don’t be too late” Mrs MyLaowai says, and ends the call.

A few minutes later, 20 minutes at the most, the phone rings again:
“Grandma wants you to come home now, she says you are out too late”.
“Right”, says I, “Tell Grandma I’m on my way, and she’s to stay up until we’ve had a little chat”.

I get home shortly afterwards, and the little chat proceeds thusly:
“You see this lightbulb? You know why it’s brightly lit? No? Because I pay for the electricity, that’s why. You see this wall? Floor? Ceiling? Well, I pay for those, too. You see the refrigerator? And the food in it? Well shucks, I paid for that also. And the bed you’re sleeping on? Guess who paid for it? What’s that, speak up? Yes, correct, it was me who paid for the bed. I guess that makes it my house. That being so, I further calculate that I get to make the rules around here. You see, when I come to your home, I follow your rules, and when you come to my home, you follow my rules. That’s the way it works. And if I’m not here, then you follow my girlfriends’ rules, because she is the boss, too. I don’t care whose family you belong to, that’s my culture and that’s the way it is. Deal with it. If you can’t deal with it, you are free to leave at any time. Have a nice night.”

The next morning she was gone, of course. But, I’ll tell you something, she had a case of beer delivered for me by way of an apology, and she’s respected me ever since. And the Word must have gotten out, because the rest of the family learned fairly quickly that this Laowai was not to be fucked with in the usual manner. And they further learned not to fuck with Mrs MyLaowai, either.

So, to all the pansies who think that being shafted by the In-Laws in the name of ‘culture’ is something that goes with the entry stamp in your passport, think again. If you wouldn’t tolerate it back home, you don’t have to tolerate it here, either.

There’s a lesson in that for all of us.

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