Man Love. Two words. But, in China, more than just words. It’s a way of life. And, let me tell you, it’s contagious. Yes, I have been a victim of man love, and now, I am an advocate of it. And of course, the level of man love correlates directly with the level of drunkenness.
Anywhere you look, you are likely to see two guys walking down the street, shirts slung over one shoulder, and the arm of their buddy resting on the other. Hmmm…I wonder if he hurt his leg and can’t walk unaided… Nope. That is never the case. They are just best buds and walking like that is not only normal but preferable.
Any of my nights spent with Chinese men usually involve a lot of man love in the form of: arm around the other person, hugs (usually given to me…I usually only force people to hug me when saying hello and goodbye. They will do it for any reason and at any time…as I have a video of some man hugging me as he’s forcing me to chug a full bottle with him as proof..), and lots of drinking with each other.
Below are some Man Love pics from my return trip to Cili:
My favorite is probably the last one. Very casual. Just chillin.
Anyways, Man Love is something that begins early in the morning and goes until late at night. Yes, very late, indeed. Full tables of men (or sometimes boys who appear to be 12 years old…but are probably 17), usually without shirts on, ganbei (bottoms up) left and right, together as a group or one-on-one. I prefer one-on-one drinking as it feels more special. A more intimate form of man love, if you will.. But, there is nothing like your dinner being interrupted by an entire table full with shirtless Chinese dudes hollering “Gan Bei!” or any random Chinese grunt words (NAI! is apparently Changsha language for ‘Bottoms up’…really more of sound than a word) as they stand up and clash their 4 ounce cups together.
Yes. Full tables of men – a norm. But full tables of women? Nonexistent. Where is the Woman Love? Chelsea and Linda (the new Cili volunteers) get lots of love.. But they are usually the only girls present at a meal. I think in Cili, foreign women are the exception and are allowed to take part in Man Love. And well, although they are not men…they are still sort of treated as such. I mean, “beautiful girl! beautiful girl!” is definitely thrown at both of them enough. But, they are not immune to the peer pressure involved with Man Love. Resistance is futile in both of their cases.
“I am sick! Wo gan mao le!”
“Mei Guan Xi! It doesn’t matter!”
Yes. Even being sick isn’t an excuse. Deal with it. That’s enough for now. Man, gotta love Man Love.