Forget temples, praying to Buddha, burning money paper for good fortune and the whole other host of ways that exist to connect to the celestial world.
In Taiwan, a girl’s parents are god.
Going against one’s parents is unheard of, no matter how absurd or selfish the request. For this reason when it comes to sex a seemingly unreal world exists between reality and belief.
I’ve long given up trying to understand or rationalise it but that doesn’t make it any less peculiar.
My first encounter with the parental Chinese whispers phenomena was back home in Australia with my ex-girlfriend. She was Taiwanese and practically any time we were together and her mother called, she had to tell her she was somewhere else.
If we went away for the weekend she had a designated friend she said she was staying with. Presumably if her mother called up the friend would come up with a predetermined cover story.
Staying with your boyfriend is complicated business for Taiwanese girls. And on the surface it seems unnecessarily so.
The most common reason I’ve found over here for the lies are that children (and by that I mean young women) seem to think their parents will disown them if they mention they are with a guy.
Now this in itself I can understand. If the stereotype is to believed Asian fathers are batshit crazy. I myself haven’t run into one but I can certainly sympathise.
If I ever have a daughter I’d probably find the fact that she’s out screwing her brains out with some guy a hard pill to swallow too. Still, reality is reality and as hard as it’d be I’d rather she was truthful. At least I’d know where she was.
What tends to happen in Taiwan is that the daughters will just flat out lie to their parents. Either out of ignorance or plain denial the parents seem all too willing to swallow any story their daughters throw at them.
I was on a date once and the mother called up five times demanding to know where her daughter was. Eventually we called off the date because she was running out of friends to cover for her.
Whilst I can deal with the lying what gets me are the long term effects of it. I know relatively speaking the mobile phone hasn’t been around for ages but surely Taiwanese parents aren’t that naive.
I mean they were young once too right?
It could be a face thing but seriously, has no parent ever just called out their child on the lies? I’m pretty sure when my Taiwanese ex-girlfriend from back in Australia went home a bit sweaty and smelling like my aftershave, that her mum didn’t for a second believe that she was at a friends house.
Yet she’d swallow the line and never challenge her daughter on her whereabouts. Much to my often at times sense of frustration, this game of Chinese whispers went on for the entire duration of the relationship.
After dating western blase open girls, it’s hard not to initially take a Taiwanese girls reluctance to tell her parents the truth as she’s ashamed of you. After a while you just accept it for what it is. At times I’d even appreciate the extraordinary planning efforts she’d go to just to spend time with me.
Of course regrettably I never told her that…
Still, it does feel a bit strange never meeting the parents or going over to their house. I guess that luxury doesn’t come until you’ve put a ring on someone’s finger.
What I find hilarious is that in twenty years time there will be a whole new generation of young girls lying to their parents. What’s more is whilst I can’t guarantee the current generation of parents were running around screwing their brains out and lying to their parents about it, the current generation of would-be parents in 5-10 years certainly are.
I mean what, do parents think all those love hotels and advertised short stay (1-3 hour) rates are exclusively for businessmen and their mistresses?
As it stands half of Taiwan’s girls seem to be living at home and lying to their parents about where they are half the time. The other half are lucky enough to be students living out of home and whilst they don’t have to lie so often, still tell their parents they spend all their time studying.
As a guy who’s enjoyed the freedom of living out of home in the west for nearly a decade it’s quite amusing to watch the cycle of Chinese whispers between mother and daughter self perpetuate.