"I need a woman!"

Don't we all. You're stuck in Shaolin village, with "interesting food", rare water, shitty living conditions, people you can't talk to, and your loins ache. And not from too much ma bu either. You poor bastard. What's a guy to do?

Well, Toto, you're not in Kansas anymore. Can't exactly walk down to the neighborhood bar and try to meet somebody. Actually, I wouldn't recommend trying to meet anybody of the female and Oriental persuasion while here in Shaolin. It seems that every girl that I tend to meet and smile at too much, "disappears". I guess all that jabbering in the back room means, "The big bald guy is back, hide the women". 

You see, the Chinese women are generally not to be touched. First of all, like women in most other countries, they have these mystical yet unloved, usually unseen but always spoken about, objects of passion that they call "boyfriends". And while in other countries, hitting on another guy's girl might be a macho thing to do, doing it here might get you into deeper poop than you want. There's something here called "losing face", and the last thing you want to do to a Chinese man, is make him "lose face". Especially if his gong fu is better than yours. How do you make a man "lose face"? The quickest way, is to start messing with his woman. It's just not a good thing to do. Remember the survival rules: smile at the girlfriends, be nice to the girlfriends, and don't touch the girlfriends. 

Especially don't touch the girlfriends. No, Chinese women don't like to be touched either. Gentle hugs, holding hands, or arms (being more bold than that will definitely get you into trouble), or a touch to the back will bring you a troubled smile and a quick withdrawal (just like it probably gets you everywhere else on this planet). It isn't that Chinese women are not affectionate; from what I'm told, they, like the rest of their species, are. They just have different social cultures and norms to deal with. And one of them, is the whole issue of prostitution.

It is a well known fact in China, that prostitutes hang out with foreigners; therefore, if a non-prostitute woman, meets a foreigner, and gets to know him, and a friendship develops, she runs the risk of being identified, by her peers, as a possible, or probable, prostitute. Not a good thing in some of these small towns and villages. Especially in a community where "face" is an important issue. That's not to say that prostitution doesn't exist in China, for it does; in many areas the economy is so bad that many girls are driven to it to help support their families and themselves. But if you're interested in that "girl next door" look, while you're in China, you might as well forget it. 

So, you suggest, if I can't fall in love with it, why can't I buy it? You pig you. What an absolutely degrading thought, to even think about contributing to a social illness which is disrupting the very fabric of our society. So what if it's the world's oldest profession? You're actually thinking of propagating a social custom which degrades and debases women in such a horrible fashion, just to satisfy your own lustful and disgusting needs? What happened to gong fu training? I can't believe that people actually have asked me how they can find a prostitute in Shaolin. 

Well, here's how.

You just have to keep your eyes open. One simple clue to identifying a prostitute, other than her clothing (which tends to be a little more fashionable than the average Chinese woman) is the fact that they tend to smoke cigarettes. Yes, pretty simple. Especially in the smaller villages. On the average, just about all Chinese men smoke. On the average, just about none of the Chinese women do. There is, however, a very small percentage of women in the larger cities, such as Beijing now, who are embracing western ways, and who have taken up the smoking habit. But if you had to make a bet, in a medium or small city (and usually a large city) in China, if you ran into a woman who smoked, you would probably win.

They tend to hang out in karaoke bars, and, especially, in these so-called "dance clubs". These dance clubs are quite the interesting phenomena; I'm quite surprised that they haven't caught on in the US yet. What they are, is the following: They tend to be one or two levels, the larger ones have two floors, the lower floor has the bar and disco, the upper floor is made up of many small rooms. Well, on the lower floor, one drinks and dances, with or without the girls that all have been hired to "work" there. The women that "work" the lower floor are there primarily to talk to, dance with, and drink with. They also engage you in this dice game, in which each of you throw a cup of two dice, and by some stroke of the imagination, a winner is declared (in my case, it was never me). After the appropriate "loosening up" period, the party is moved upstairs, to one of the smaller rooms. 

There a selection is made as to how many and which ones; girls that will come into the room with you to "talk". Karaoke is a favorite pastime at this point, as is drinking, close dancing, cuddling and fondling. However, the main purpose of the "small room" event is to set the stage for a further proposition, for a "future event", to take place usually at the man's house or hotel room. 

Some of these clubs function primarily as "massage parlors", in which the same set up generally applies. The downstairs has the sauna and the various accoutrements, and a room for the girls to pass the time away (eat peanuts, watch television), and the upstairs is generally made up of smaller rooms. Massages run about 50  Yuan, and from my experience, they're not the best, but after a day of gong fu training, any massage is a good massage. "Special treatment" costs more however. The room rental is about 100 Yuan, and the price for the "special service" for the Chinese is about 150 Yuan (at about 8 Yuan to the dollar). For foreigners, "special services" cost 220 Yuan, and for large foreigners, the price is 250 Yuan, if you can get a girl to accompany you to the room. (Being 6' 3" made my selection of a girl for a massage only, quite the experience, as they all thought I would have wanted "special services". They all preferred to watch television. What else is new?)

The location of these clubs are not all that hard to find. In Beijing, they are literally, everywhere. Prostitutes walk the street nearby some of the major hotels; they can also be seen in some of the better restaurants with their clients. In Shaolin, there are no dance or massage clubs per se, but the Wushu Guan hotel has a karaoke bar on the third floor, in which suspect women have been noticed on many occasions. In Dengfeng, they are easy to find. To the left of the auditorium that sits on the main town square, is a well lit neon sign that advertises massages, if you can read Chinese. Just walk directly under the orange colored archway directly to the left of the main auditorium/ town hall. If you can't read Chinese, look for the neon. Across the street, on the main drag, where part of the night market congregates,  there is a darker entrance to a smaller building, which resembles just your average apartment building; inside that is a dance club. Basically, the same thing. It will help if you can speak Chinese; remember, that is the real purpose of the dance clubs. Talk. Just talk. And dancing. 

But the easiest way to find hookers is to get your hair cut. Literally. Many of the hair salons offer more than hair services. A hair cut can lead to massage, which can lead to special treatment in the back. Not all of the hair salons are like this, and not all of the women in each hair salon partake in these activities. It will be like anything else in life. Hit or miss. 

And you wonder why my head is shaved. (Just kidding mom, just kidding....)