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Chinese Dance Clubs

The lights of the club were flashing — there had to be a hundred of them filling the room with blue, pink, and green light. There was a young Chinese guy wearing a jean vest over a scantly clad chest, a cap, and tight jeans up on the stage. He was singing “We Will Rock [...]

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The lights of the club were flashing — there had to be a hundred of them filling the room with blue, pink, and green light. There was a young Chinese guy wearing a jean vest over a scantly clad chest, a cap, and tight jeans up on the stage. He was singing “We Will Rock You” with over the top gusto. My South African companion cheered him on in a tongue in cheek fashion and the poor bastard responded with even more gusto. The place was packed. A waiter cleared us out a table, and my group of five or six foreigners from an assortment of countries filed in.

I’ve been in many Chinese clubs before, and they tend to be of two characters: 1) Raunchy, fat dude, salary man, and strip club-esque, and 2) Young and hip. This was a young and hip type of club.

A bottle of rum was brought to our table along with four bottles of sweetened ice tea. The waiter mixed it all together in a giant pitcher. There would be no bill, Westerners drink for free in this club. It’s what keeps us coming back. Apparently, it’s good for business for a club in Taizhou to be known for having a clientele of honkies getting sloshed and acting like jackasses. In the small cities of China where the foreign presence is limited to a handful of English teachers, a couple quality control stooges, and a few stragglers, some types of businesses will go to lengths to get the “Western stamp of approval.” In this club in Taizhou, that meant dosing every person with a foreign looking face with free liquor.

The dance club appeared to be up to standards: there were the strobe lights, a stage, loud music, booze, show girls, a dude singing corny classic rock songs, but I quickly realized that there was an essential element missing: the dancing. The only people busting a move were those who were paid to do so: the we-will-rock-you guy singing on stage and a gaggle of dancing girls who were standing on podiums wiggling up and down in short skirts. Apart from the table of foreigners there was no dancing in the crowd. In fact, there wasn’t even a dance floor. Below the stage was a sea of tables stocked with beer bottles, glasses of liquor, pitchers of mix drinks, and elbows — there were lots of elbows firmly planted on tables in this disco.

“The history of Chinese dancing can be traced back to the images on a pottery that aged about 4500 years ago. The common movements in the Chinese dance include stamping feet and locking arm. The Chinese dances are performed in accordance with the musical instrument.”

Apparently, these ancient dance moves never made the transition to the modern disco.

“China is the only country I will dance in,” an American friend once said to me, “because it’s the only place in the world where the people dance worse than I do.”

I have been to other dance clubs in this country where people actually danced, but this one seemed to be not the sort.

This is not to say that everyone appeared bored in the club. To the contrary, everyone seemed perfectly content letting the professionals do their thing on stage while they sat in their seats looking cool while trying to mack it. But the table of foreigners — my table — was rocking out. Arms flailed in the air, fists pumped, voices shouted, butts wiggled. A couple of my compatriots then assaulted the stage and began swinging around on the stripper pole.

Were we being loaded with free booze to promote the club or to provide the Chinese with something to laugh at?

I hopped off my international island and waded out into the Chinese sea. I came ashore at a table of two rather attractive women with two hip looking guys. One of the girls pounced on me and poured me a shot of iced tea and rum to match the one that she held in her hand. The situation appeared safe: both girls seemed to have boyfriends. We downed the drinks in unison. Then she poured two more, then two more. Was this girl really doing this? Was she really trying to match a man with a Caucasian tolerance to alcohol drink for drink? Even the strongest of Chinese men rarely try this for more than a round or two. We continued until all the liquor was gone. Another bottle arrived and I invited the men into the rounds, they declined sheepishly to chagrin of their female companions.

I’m always amazed at how the young women of China often like to show how big their balls are with shots of liquor.

For the record:

There is a reason that East Asia is attractive to male expats in particular, and it’s not because they all have Asian fetishes. One reason, among many others, is because it’s relatively easy for foreign men to find regular sexual partners. There are no religious hang ups here, young women are not bound extremely tightly by social chastity restrictions, condoms and birth control are virtually handed out in the streets, and, on top of that, foreigners are social wild cards of sorts: they are here today, gone tomorrow, and, perhaps most importantly, are not a part of the broader Chinese community. I also have a fleeting suspicion that many Chinese women can’t really tell an ugly foreign dude apart from a good looking one — or perhaps the exoticism of international dating is near-sighted.

Either way, I must admit that it is refreshing for many single men to travel to a foreign country where they receive attention from women that would never be afforded in their home country.

It is possible to date far out of your league just by hopping on an airplane to the Far East. It is the same propulsion of desirableness that Caucasian women often experience in Latin America.

Filed under: China, Dance

About the Author:

I am the founder and editor of Vagabond Journey. I’ve been traveling the world since 1999, through 91 countries. I am the author of the book, Ghost Cities of China and have written for The Guardian, Forbes, Bloomberg, The Diplomat, the South China Morning Post, and other publications. has written 3706 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.

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VBJ is currently in: New York City

4 comments… add one

Leave a Comment

  • Steve-O May 17, 2012, 9:52 am

    You just have too much Mojo wade…

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    • Wade Shepard May 17, 2012, 11:08 am

      Haha, I doubt it.

      Link Reply
  • Tom May 19, 2012, 10:47 pm

    HA, loved this: “having a clientele of honkies getting sloshed and acting like jackasses.”

    I’m surprised there is so much flaunt over foreigners in China. It defiantly isn’t that extreme in Korea or Japan now days.

    Great article though. I enjoyed reading it! Keep up the good work.

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    • Wade Shepard May 20, 2012, 2:17 am

      Thanks Tom,

      There’s only about 30 (liberal estimate) of us Westerners in this city of a half million people so we are still something to look at haha. In the bigger cities I must say that we’re not as much of an attraction.

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