English · Modern Dilemma

The Trade of Politeness on an Uber Ride

In China, people using Uber as a dating app. Some people even looking for a rich husband there.

My American friend Hayley has lived in Beijing for the last two years. She told me Uber over there, is the equivalent of Tinder here, and it could be used better for hooking up with the nouveau riche in China.


“In China, Tinder is censored because Facebook is censored. But Uber is the new Tinder. You Chinese are absolutely money-obsessed. If you are a guy, to date a girl, you need to have a car; to marry a girl, you need to own a flat. That’s so fucking true!” Hayley said to me when we had lunch at Barrafina. (Oh by the way, Hayley just moved back to London.)


Hayley was right. Once I heard a Chinese guy complain about how pragmatic Chinese girls generally are. He said, “you girls always said we are too picky, we care if your lashes aren’t long enough or your boobs aren’t big enough. But for you girls, owning cars or flats are pre-determining factors when you think about whether or not you want to date us. Why do you girls still say we are picky?”


Yes, why are we Chinese are so picky? I think we are picky because we are generally insecure-we are picky because the wealth gap in my country is still pretty huge. Even though this issue is difficult to address anywhere in the world, with a poor social welfare system, the average person doesn’t feel they are protected. So everyone hates the rich, yet everyone wants to be rich.


Anyway, this wasn’t meant to become a deep reflection on China’s unfair distribution of wealth.


“You would definitely get attention if you drive a nice car. And you would definitely have random hook-ups if you use the car as an executive Uber! A lot of girls in China use Uber to find a rich guy, and well, they would do anything to meet rich guys! A guy comes to pick you up in his BMW and chats you up – that’s more effective than swiping on Tinder! You two have the whole journey to chat and most likely you would exchange contact details at the end of the ride. Well, unless the other person is extremely shy, or pretends to be shy, like you when you were at 16, hahahah!” Hayley’s joked. Her full cheeks look absolutely lovely when she grinned.


“Did you find lots of hook-ups then?” I asked her.


“It works better the other way around. And no! I think it didn’t work for me as Chinese men find western women intimidating because the size issue would always come up in their minds. You should know them better than I do Neinei! You once said their parts down there are mushrooms. It isn’t my duty to fertilise them!”


“Definitely! Well, I didn’t mean they are all mush…..” Without letting me finishing my sentence, Hayley continued, “So you know what? Now I am in London! I wanted to test it here! If Uber could be used effectively as high-end Tinder here! So I did.” Hayley batted her lashes.


“Have you found out?” I asked her curiously.


Hayley gave me a mysterious smile. “Well, two weeks ago. I met this guy on an Uber ride. ‘Long, pink and perfect’, his name isn’t Richard! (note: in Sex and the City, Samantha Jones once called her lover Richard, ‘long, pink and perfect’) He is an idiot, but who cares? Too stupid to date, but sexy enough to fuck.” She started to tell me the story:


It was all happened at a ride from the city to Mayfair.


Two girls and a guy – let’s call him Jake, got on the car.


“I love this smell. Which scent?” One of the girls asked.


“Diptyque.” Hayley answered.


“Nice car!” Jake commented.


“Thanks dude! Have you guys had a good evening so far?” Hayley asked.


“Yes. Thanks! We only just met him.” Girl 1 said, paused and continued, “But I know his dad.”


“I know his uncle.” Girl 2 said. The two started to giggle.


A guy is with two girls who were wearing very little and they know his dad and uncle – how did they meet each other exactly? Thought Hayley, but she didn’t ask.


Jake was obviously very tipsy. The car was moving slowly because of traffic.


Jake placed a hand on one of the girls and knocked the window with the other, “Why the hell do you move so slow?” He said.


“Come on! It’s the traffic jam! And stop knocking the window. It won’t help!” Hayley was annoyed.


“Can’t you over take him? Overtake him! Pass that car!” Jake continued commanding Hayley and the two girls said nothing.


3 minutes later, the car was hardly moving in the bad traffic.


“Girls! Do you mind taking the tube?” Jake asked.


“Excuse me? I never take the tube.” Girl 1 said.


“Ya…Didn’t you see that we are on high heels?” Girl 2 spoke.


“Do you two want to get into Annabel’s or not!?” Jake said.


“Oh come on, it’s not like we don’t have anyone else to get us into Annabel’s.” Girl 1 said.


“Then go with anyone else, not me!”
“Jesus. You don’t talk to two ladies like this.”


“Don’t label yourselves as ladies, you two bitches.”


“Get out of the car!” Girl 1 said.


“Why it should be me who get out of the car. I ordered this Uber. You get off!”


“Fuck you!” After stepping out of the car, girl 1 shouted.


“Fuck you! You ass!” girl 2 shouted too and slammed the door.


“Jesus Christ! Look at how they walk in those bloody high heels!” Jake exasperated in the back seat.
“Why don’t you get off too?” Hayley asked.


“Why I have to get off too? I am going to this party! My friends have been waiting for me there! I just want to get it there! Why don’t you just drive?”


“Be polite! Can’t you be polite?” Hayley argued. Well, Hayley likes to argue. Hayley excels in argumentative flirtation.


“Why I have to be polite all the time? You aren’t. It’s not one-way street love. ”


“I thought someone like you would uphold the manner of an English gentleman.” Hayley took a glimpse at Jake through the back mirror and thought even though he looked angry, he was well-dressed and decent looking.


“We English aren’t as gentlemanly as you thought. American?”




“I thought so.”


“Been there?”


“Stupid question. Of course.”


“Again, can’t you be polite?”


Jake started to relax and Hayley was getting less pissed of. They had some non-aggressive small talkss. Hayley pulled the car at Berkeley Square, she turned to Jake, “Remember to be polite to the next girl you want to hook up with!” Jake finally had a good look at Hayley’s face and got the full force of her sex appeal.


He paused and said, “I actually find you pretty appealing. How polite is that!”


Hayley finally had a good look at Jake’s face. She was surprised that he was actually very decent-looking. But there’s something more about Jake. She tried to figure out in her head the best word to describe Jake’s aura. Three letters jumped out: raw.


“I think it would be too rude of me if I didn’t ask your number.” Jake said.


Hayley laughed out loud and said, “Guess it would be too rude of me if I didn’t give it to you.”


She typed her number out on his cell phone, “You can go ahead and give me a bad review.” She murmured.


“Well, I think I’d still give you 3 stars.”


On that night, Jake got back home with a strong headache from drinking. He thought about his encounter with the two girls who he picked up at his dad’s company events. He couldn’t recall how the two girls looked. He only remembered their ankle-breaking sky-high heels. Then he thought about Hayley.


He texted her, “I gave you five stars. I’d give you the 6th one if you take me for another ride.”


Five minutes later, Jake got a reply, “Shall we TRADE some politeness?”


“Yes. We should.”



Photo of Luning Wang

Luning Wang

Luning is a London-based writer and arts & lifestyle journalist. “Picasso and the Single Girl” is dedicated to the stories and species of the art world, cosmopolitan life, modern dilemma and female brilliance. Luning also consults European brands on their Chinese marketing and media strategies.
Photo of Luning Wang

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