Monday, March 12, 2007

First Date

Today I held a lesson on first dates.

This kind of topic is bound to result in some kind of awkwardness among Chinese students. The minimum age for marriage here is 22 for men and 20 for women, and I'd estimate that around 80% to 90% of my first- and second- year university students are virgins. Half of the younger generation still holds traditional values of no sex before marriage; the other half is adamant that it does not!

Even middle schools have rules such as "don't fall in love" (as well as "don't hold birthday parties" and "don't form a clique"). Making kissy noises is still a fantastic way of cracking the class up and embarrassing any poor victims (aka students) who happen to be showing affection toward members of the opposite sex. Making the students sit boy-girl-boy-girl works wonders for making them concentrate on the class; they're too embarrassed to do anything else! I try to break down this gender barrier as much as possible - after all, Mao Zedong stated women should be treated as equal to men, so I'm not worried about repercussions - it's annoying how it's even noticeable!

Anyway, back to this morning. When brainstorming for words and phrases about "A first date", interesting suggestions came back. As well as the usual stuff that you'd expect - "romantic, shy, exciting, nervous" and so on - there were things like "worried about money" (fair), "expecting to receive a gift" (fair, although only girls thought this mattered) "expecting a kiss" (this just from the boys) which were a little off the beaten track.

Then we had the good ones. "Morose" was listed, and apparently means, "when the girl is not satisfied after the date"; also, with an utterly serious and deadpan face, a small academic-looking girl ventured the idea that a first date may be "sweaty".


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