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About muddy

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  1. Does anybody know why there are no more original Marboro Lights in Shanghai available except duty free shops at the airport? Does anyone know a source where to buy? I hate the ones from Vietnam, Indonesia or similar, could right away smoke Double Happiness.
  2. For those who are not native English speakers, the “benefits” in “friends with benefits” refers to sex. Now, on to the question at hand… I would say that it’s not hard to find sexually open-minded people in Shanghai. But the relationship model known fondly in my homeland as “friends with benefits” is sorely lacking. Now hang on, let me explain. Here’s a list of some of the types of relationships I’ve seen and tried: 1) Confirmed, exclusive boyfriend/girlfriend 2) “Open relationship” — some element of a romantic relationship, but not exclusive 3) One-night stand — of course 4) Ongoing hookup — like a string of one-night stands, no real romantic feelings (pardon the boxing-in of this very diverse field, but it’s necessary for discussion) Friends with benefits is a bit like #2 and #4 above, but without the BS games, mixed signals, etc. It’s more comfortable than #3 and #4, and less of a serious commitment than #1. Neither person wants it to be more (ideally) and there’s less ambiguity than with #2. Ideally, it works like this — you like me, I like you, we have fun hanging out, we find each other attractive, we’re not trying to milk the other for anything, there’s no need to impress or deceive… you get the idea. In my opinion, it’s a very clean and beneficial setup — *if* both parties can chuck the morals and mores they’ve been condition to obey. But it seems that, here in China, and with the various Eastern cultures, and even to some extent the Western cultures, it doesn’t work too well. My hypothesis is that it’s because most people are still trained to think of pleasure independent of other gains as bad. Sex within #1, and, I would say, often #2 and #4, can be justified away (however weakly) as a step toward some kind of real commitment and thus OK. #3 of course is for the rebellious ones, the “bad boys” and “bad girls”. Friends with benefits is, at its best, just enjoyment of and appreciation for physical pleasure. It’s #4, only cleaner and with someone you know you like talking to, so also less annoying and even fun when you’re not in bed. It’s #2 without the pesky questions and hidden maneuvering. However, since it doesn’t have any true romantic possibility (since, if there were some kind of romantic element, it would be #2), it’s, in the end, seen as “bad” by nearly all Chinese and many foreigners as well. Well, I think it sucks. Will we forever have to put on a show, dance around, try to impress, play power games, and the like? Can’t we just have some good clean fun and enjoyment, following or followed by a cup of coffee and a good conversation?