I initially clicked this link because I thought it would detail some of my experiences being mistaken for a prostitute in Shanghai — maybe some dress code faux pas that I’ve discovered. On the contrary, it was more of an anecdote -stroke- complaint about how the Chinese viewed White man-Asian female relationships. Sorry, honey, I ain’t sorry. You’ve left China with your white husband, settled in SF with beaux and baby, I must admit I was a little disappointed by how far you didn’t go with the piece.
Since I could not read an article that I really wanted to relate to, I figured I would write that I actually wanted to read so here it is —
How to REALLY Be Mistaken for a Prostitute in China
- Be Asian. I don’t care if you look like a Kazakstan prostitute (this is a real thing), a Filipina prostitute (also unfortunately horrifyingly true - but they do look the flyest, imho) or a Chinese prostitute (most of the article will be geared towards this). But you must have Asian features.
- For gods’ sake - do wear heels. You simply are not selling your goods unless you are doing so in 5-6 inch stilettos. And wear them in the daytime, because that’s how you can distinguish the girls who are coming back from a night out at a cheap hotel and the ones who have to go to work in midtown. Stilettos in an unusual hue. Perfect.
- Wear makeup. In the West, we all assume that the escort makeup is all about the smoky eye, falsies and tons of bronzer. In China, the only that translated were the fake eyelashes. There is no “come-hither” look or “bedroom eyes” makeup in China unless she’s not a hooker - It’s all about the glossy pink lips, pale white skin and light pink eyeshadow. [I believe back in the 90s, the baby blue eyeshadow might have been a big trend but I’m seeing much less of those these days]
- Order a drink at the bar by yourself. Now, while it doesn’t happen very often - every now and then I’ll arrive early/on time and I’ll be the first person at the designated meeting place. While I am wearing heels and makeup, this often is a signal to some men in the vicinity to come over and hit on me in Chinese. So - take care to note that sometimes the old Hitch trick with the glasses and the book does come in handy in throwing people off on whether or not you are a prostitute. Or just don’t wear heels.
- Dance by yourself. You know that quote, “blah blah blah, dance like no one is watching?” - Don’t do it in China. Again, had I known that following my heart and dancing to the tune of Lady Gaga’s Poker Face by myself on an elevated platform would mean it was okay for a man to grab my hand and pull me towards the exit of the club (and into his car) —- I would have thought twice about it.
- Carry a little bag. I don’t know why it is. I would have thought prostitutes would have carried large totes filled with daytime clothing, extra pairs of red leather heels with a pom-pom on the bace, some condoms and a fat wad of cash money would be de rigueur, for some reason, all prostitutes carry little mini-purses, large enough to carry one tube of lipstick and a condom. Is it because it makes them seem weak and unprepared? Where does the money go? Certainly not in their outfits…which leads me to
- Skimpy outfits with a lot of leg. Ironically, the girls who dress like the prostitutes like we see on TV are usually just slutty girls trying to find a white guy. Or rich guy. [Sometimes it’s the same thing.] It’s not always a ton of cleavage or off-the-shoulder skimpy outfits that hint at one’s profession - but the legs! Cute tank top and short shorts at the club? BINGO. It doesn’t mean that one went to the beach in the morning and then left her big bag of things at a friend’s house and then grabbed a mini purse with pale pink lip gloss and went to the bar! It means she’s a prostitute!
I’m sure there are a ton more rules about being in the business but so far - as a 4 year veteran of clubbing in China (Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu, Hong Kong), these are the little nuggets of gold I have found. I hope you can appreciate that some of it was satire and I’m only half-joking about most of these stories. Enjoy, ladies (and gentlemen, though this article was not written about dressing like male prostitutes). I have NOTHING against sex workers - I just don’t happen to be one and now know how not to go out dressed like one and thought I would share. May you all have a beautiful, fun-filled and a safe weekend.