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Lust in Translation

Dear Natasha,

I’ve just started clubbing and I’m loving it, but I wonder: how strong is too strong to come on to a guy? I’m pretty comfortable with who I am, and I enjoy attention as much as the next gal, but I don’t want to give them the idea that the physical stuff is all I want either. Suggestions?


Girl Just Wants To Have Fun


Welcome to the smorgasbord of decadence. The parties in China are some of the most absurd in the world, where entitled nouveau riche, lonely globe-trotters and sultry gold-diggers rub shoulders with stilt-walkers, pervy midgets and celebutantes. It’s a veritable circus, as I hope you have noticed. Here are some tips on how to flirt your way around the clubs gracefully.

Your top-priority task is to decide exactly what level of casual contact you’re comfortable with receiving from random guys. I know this sounds like a no-brainer. By the time you’re of age to order a martini, you should know who you are and what you want. However, multicultural dance clubs – especially in the expatriate bubble – tend to challenge and erode one’s definitions of “acceptable behaviour”. You’re wise to think things through. Look at your desired outcomes for your evening outings. Do you want: To be complimented? Danced with? Brought home for “coffee”? Make a choice and commit to it, before you’re three-deep in vodka tonic and knee-deep in men.

Now let’s talk action. Your flirting options are pretty straight-forward, as conversation will be limited. Body language is crucial. Most guys will be able to tell you’re into them if you: move to dance with them, casually brush against a hand or their hands in conversation or upon meeting, face toward them, etc. There are a few guidelines to bear in mind.

First, remember that whatever you do to him, he may expect to be able to do to you as well. So if you’re leading the physical contact, follow the Golden Rule.

Second, have a zero-tolerance policy. Drunk people tend to be blissfully uninhibited, as you surely know, so it is much easier to set a boundary early, than to revoke it late in the game. The longer you accept unwanted drinks, an uncomfortable arm flung around your waist, or lewd comments, the harder it is to explain to a guy why he was allowed once, but not anymore.

The third general rule is: don’t do anything you wouldn’t want your current or future colleagues to see you doing in public. The nightlife community is actually quite small, even in megalopolises like Shanghai. Always assume someone important is watching you. I’d limit under-the-table feel-ups, grabby dancers and drugs. Like attracts like. If you want a class-act, be one first. If you want to get down and dirty, do it in private. Not sure he’s worth it? Then he’s not. Move on.

If you desire more than mere physicality (sex), what you really need to know is how to start conversations outside the club atmosphere. Dance the weekend away, make sure you end up in the right bed, don’t taxi home alone if you can avoid it and when you’re fully functional again on Monday or Tuesday, sign up for sports leagues or a book club or something. Or go act in a play. Pick activities that involve less Tanqueray and more talk. Date selection is so much easier when you can hear him say more than “nice top!” or “vodka orange!”.

Have fun, Girl.




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