We are all experts in self-curation these days—collectively struggling to look that little bit hipper, cooler, more well-informed and sensitive than we really are; we desperately strain to create that required just-so effect, whether it’s the jewelry we wear, the books we (claim to) read, or the things we say; it seems we are all posers today. China is no different, in fact—as a nation obsessed with gaining face—it is arguably worse, sometimes with disastrous results. Here are a few of the nation’s most gaudy pretenders.
First, there is the Green Tea Bitch (绿茶婊 lǜchábiǎo). Much like the tea from whence she is named, she cultivates an air of purity, innocence, and refinement. She’s pretty, but not too pretty; she wears make-up but never too much. When speaking, the Green Tea Bitch talks in girlish tones just on the right side of flirtatious, referencing the anodyne, sentimental books she has read. On the surface at least, she is not altogether too dissimilar from the girl-next-door. Men, seeing her innocence, long to protect her and orbit her like mindless flies. Under the surface, however, the GTB is a different beast; weaving an innocent web like a female black widow, she is in fact deadly, waiting to steal your man and to destroy your marriage, a charlatan and a whore.
I am not sure if the new intern is truly innocent or just a Green Tea Bitch.
Zhēn bù zhīdào xīnlái de shíxíshēng shì tiānrándāi háishì lǜchábiǎo.
The next poser is the Gold Chain Man (金链汉子 jīnliàn hànzi). As you might have guessed, he wears a chunky gold chain around his neck, thinking it confers status. It doesn’t. He is not altogether entirely removed from his foreign cousins, the English Chavs. His hair cropped, he likes his clothes designer but invariably low-end—think Calvin Klein. He thinks he is rich, but drives a black cab. He’s manly, aggressive even, with a proverbial pepper up his ass, always spoiling for a fight (using a baseball bat if need be), fantasizing about being a real gangster who owns a gun. Typically abusive, few women are stupid enough to marry this particular creature. Usually coming from the countryside or a very small town, he somehow thinks of himself as a man-about-town and attempts to copy what he thinks are city-boy fashions.
Gold Chain Men love to play loud music on their dodgy iPhones.
Jīnliàn hànzi xǐhuan zài shānzhài píngguǒ shǒujī shàng dàshēng de fàng yīnyuè.
Our final faker is Silver Bracelet Girl (银镯女子 yínzhuó nǚzǐ). SBG is all light and sensitivity; nobody understands the world quite like her. Only she can see the poetry in our melancholy world. Watching the leaves fall from the trees makes her think about life. Once it even got too much, and she cut herself. She is just so sensitive you see: “Doesn’t the rain, somehow remind you of cruel tears?” she opines. Her heart heaves like the deep sea as she tells you, “I only write in traditional characters. They are more beautiful, don’t you think?” She reads, writes, dances, and travels to isolated places to take photos of the grass, which she posts on Douban. Though the purest of maidens, she understands love, feeling it passionately and intensely, giving herself fully to her man, and she will die for him if she must.
Silver Bracelet Girls always travel to the Old Town of Lijiang alone.
Yínzhuó nǚzǐ zǒng shì dúzì qù Lìjiāng Gǔchéng lǚxíng.
BY CARLOS OTTERY, RESEARCH BY WEIJING ZHU (祝伟婧)