“I’m something of a connoisseur. So, to be honest, I don’t pay too much attention to appearance. As long as they look pleasing enough to the eye it’s fine, the more important thing is what’s inside. I’ve said it before but I hope my future boyfriend will be sensible and considerate, ah~, after all, the most annoying kinds of men are the ones who are over-possessive and controlling, because they are the types to be jealous all the time. It’s a little too childish and immature.”
Qian Wei thought about it and added: “Also they should have a sweet mouth and be willing to coax me, they need to be gentle, they can’t be mean to me, but they also need to be able to stand up and be strong when it’s needed.” She touched her chin. “And they must know how to cook. I’ve always dreamed that whenever I feel lost or miserable, my boyfriend would be there to cook me a table full of colorful and flavorful food for me. Oh, and someone photogenic, because that way I can take beautiful pictures at any time. And it would be best if they had a sense of humor, you know, the kind of man that can liven up the atmosphere a little. Plus, they should be able to make money and be generous, but also not be the type with excessive male chauvinism…”
“Is there anything else?” Qian Wei didn’t know if it was her illusion, but she felt that Lu Xun’s face was not very good as he asked that question.
“Hmm, if he wants to chase me, then he had better chase me for a few months. That way I can let him beg first for a while.”
Lu Xun was probably a little shocked by her answer because when he responded, he raised his voice and his face looked strange: “Why does he have to chase you for months??? You want to like him, but not agree to date him?! Why do you want to string someone along like that?!”
Qian Wei was a little baffled by his outburst, but after thinking it over, she felt like she figured it out. It was probably because Lu Xun had chased Mo Zixin for several months but she didn’t agree to date him so now he was disillusioned. So now, when he heard about a girl who wanted a boy to chase her for a few months, he would hate it because it reminded him of his own situation.
“I just want to enjoy the feeling of being passionately adored and pursued, okay?” She blinked. “Haven’t you heard? Every girl has a princess dream, ah~, even I fantasize about receiving that kind of passionate pursuit, ah~. After all, who wouldn’t want to experience the feeling that they are very loved again and again?” Qian Wei thought about it and added, “What’s more, don’t you men all have the same mentality? That is, the mentality where you don’t know how to cherish things that are too easy to get? If you chase a girl for months or even years, then you will slowly grow to regard them as a goddess inside your heart. Plus, the harder you have to work in your pursuit the happier you will be when she agrees.”
“Wait a minute, didn’t you say that you are the kind of person who doesn’t like a man as soon as he says that he likes you? Then how could you enjoy a man chasing you for months?”
“That…” Qian Wei paused, “That’s true. What should I do? It seems a little contradictory, doesn’t it? Does that mean I’m destined to be alone all my life? But then, not necessarily, ah~, maybe there will be some special case that appears. For example, maybe he will confess his love and I won’t feel any dislike, and then he will chase me for a few months before I finally agree.”
“…” Lu Xun seemed to be desperately suppressing some surging emotion. “So you really like that kind of grandiose pursuit, huh? The kind with a big and public confession?”
“No, I don’t really think people should be expressing their love in public or being too exaggerated about it. I think it would be very embarrassing to be confessed to in front of a lot of people, so if you asked me I think I would prefer the older generation’s style of love and courtship.”
Lu Xun’s expression was solemn: “Then, is there anything else that you want?”
Qian Wei shook her head and said, “That’s all for the time being. But if I think of anything else that I want, I’ll just add it later.” Then, she glanced over at Lu Xun curiously. “Why are you asking?”
Lu Xun avoided her eyes: “Well, since you’re single again I was thinking that I could recommend some to you if I knew any suitable candidates.”
“Oh… Thank you!” Qian Wei was impressed. It seemed that all the effort she had put into setting Lu Xun up with Mo Zixin wasn’t wasted. Although they did not succeed in the end, at least Lu Xun remembered their friendship now. That was probably why he wanted to return the favor by introducing her to someone, right?
Lu Xun had been just about to say something more but, before he could, Liu Shiyun’s loud voice rang out. Qian Wei looked around for the source of the sound and saw Liu Shiyun running towards them.
After a moment, Liu Shiyun arrived in front of them. She had run over so fast that she was panting, but eventually, she managed to say: “I finally found you. I don’t know where you guys disappeared to after the speech competition just now, but I’ve been looking all over for you!”
Qian Wei was confused: “What’s the matter?”
Liu Shiyun winked at Lu Xun and said: “Girls’ talk! Let’s go back to the dormitory and I will tell you about it there.”
Lu Xun, of course, understood what Liu Shiyun was implying so he nodded and seemed ready to leave.
But Qian Wei stopped him and asked, “Oh, by the way, what were you going to say just now?”
Lu Xun pressed his lips into a thin line and responded: “Nothing.”
Since it seemed that Lu Xun didn’t have anything else, Qian Wei followed Liu Shiyun back to their dormitory. However, when they got back Liu Shiyun started acting strangely, flattering Qian Wei and even pouring her a glass of water.
“Stop, stop, what do you want?” Qian Wei quickly said.
When Liu Shiyun responded she seemed a little shy: “Well, actually, there’s a gathering organized by our school’s student union between our school and the architecture department from A University of Technology tomorrow night. There are rumors that many of the boys from A University of Technology’s architecture department are quite handsome, so I kind of want to participate…”
“So you want me to go with you?”
Liu Shiyun nodded: “I just found out that you and Mo Tao aren’t together, which means that you are just as single as I am. That’s why you should come with me, maybe you’ll even meet that special someone!”
“I can’t do that. After all, we are still in the primary stage of socialism*, so I have no intention of falling in love because I need to continue working to help build socialism.”
“Qian Wei, you’re thinking about it all wrong! It is precisely because we are still in the primary stage of socialism that we should go out and fall in love. After all, what will building socialism depend on? Fresh labor! Haven’t you heard? For the sake of our motherland’s next generation, even the monks and nuns are being encouraged to fall in love! If no one falls in love, coupled with a negative fertility rate, we will soon enter an aging society!”
Liu Shiyun jumped over and slung her arm over Qian Wei’s shoulder. “Of course, even if you insist on not falling in love, you should still go with me! Because if I take part in this kind of activity alone, wouldn’t it be embarrassing for me if no one is willing to socialize with me once I’m there? However, even in the case that no one pays attention to me, I would at least still have you to keep me company, right? After all, you aren’t interested in these kinds of activities, so you won’t wander off with someone else. Alternately, in case that I spot a man that I like, you wouldn’t be interested in competing with me, which means I would be able to avoid the tragic scenario where my best friend becomes an enemy!”
After saying all that, Liu Shiyun saw that Qian Wei was still unmoved, so she could only use her trump card: “Let’s do it this way then, I can just suck it up and send you a VIP membership pass to my family’s hotel chain! In the future, you will be a VVIP customer at any of our hotels, and you will always be able to get a room! At a 70% discount! My family has actually acquired several small hotel chains locally and abroad so you will always have a place to stay when you travel in the future.”
“Deal!” Qian Wei responded instantly.
“Do you think I look cuter in a pink dress?”
“Or is the bright red brighter? After all, the visual impact effect is strong, right? So it should leave a deeper impression?”
“Wait a minute, maybe an intellectual blue would be better?”
Liu Shiyun almost turned her closest inside out as she tried on various different clothes while at the same time asking Qian Wei for advice again and again. In the end, she finally decided on a long white dress.
“What about you? What are you wearing?”
“Me?” Qian Wei pointed to the pitch black coat that was hanging nearby. “Of course, I’ll wear that.”
“But that’s so ugly!” Liu Shiyun couldn’t accept it. “Come on, I’ll help you choose your clothes.”
“What do you know? I’m dressing down so that your beauty will shine! It’s all to make you look better by contrast!”
“That seems to make sense…”
The gathering ended up being much more fun than Qian Wei had expected. She had imagined it being very stuffy and formal but that was not the case. The organizers had prepared a number of ingenious ways to encourage the participants to socialize with one another and were very skillful in managing both the rhythm and the overall atmosphere of the event.
Tonight, Liu Shiyun had specially dressed up and, coupled with her light makeup, she was very beautiful. She was tall and fair-skinned, and her long white dress showed off her elegant temperament. Even as she just stood on one side with Qian Wei, she was attracting a lot of attention, and that naturally included attention from the most conspicuous boy in the room.
Liu Shiyun nudged Qian Wei and whispered: “His name is Tang Lu. He can be considered the face of A University of Technology’s architecture department, plus, he’s a member of the school’s swim team. He has eight-pack abs, long legs, and his figure is so good that it makes people want to commit crimes. He is in the top ten handsome boys at their school, and I’ve studied all of his interests and hobbies… Shit, why is he coming towards us? He’s coming towards us, right? Suddenly, I’m a little nervous. Hey, I kind of have to pee… When I get nervous, I have to pee…”
Liu Shiyun’s voice got lower and lower until she was practically muttering as the boy came closer and closer. Eventually, he stopped in front of Qian Wei and Liu Shiyun.
The boy named Tang Lu had eyes that looked kind and gentle. When he approached them, Qian Wei noticed that he was really tall, probably about the same height as Qian Chuan, and when he stood in front of them she and Liu Shiyun were swallowed in his shadow.
“My friends dragged me out here and I was originally about eighty percent sure that it would be terribly boring, but now I’ve changed my mind.” He smiled at Liu Shiyun somewhat bashfully. “Ah, I forgot to introduce myself. My name is Tang Lu and I’m a third year at the School of Architecture within A University of Technology.”
Liu Shiyun, who was so nervous she wanted to pee just now, suddenly became an elegant young lady in a second flat. She gently covered the corner of her mouth with her hand, looking poised and reserved, and responded in a voice so soft that people who knew her would think she was using a voice changer: “Hello, Tang Lu. My name is Liu Shiyun. I’m in my second year at the University A Law School.” As she finished her introduction, she lowered her head shyly, as if she didn’t dare to look directly at him. “In fact, it’s actually quite a coincidence, because my good friend here was the one who begged me to accompany her here tonight too. This is actually my first time attending this kind of event.” When she finished, Liu Shiyun looked over at Qian Wei with a gaze that was equal parts gentle and helpless.
Qian Wei: ??? My friend, this setting does not seem to be consistent with what we agreed on, ah~?
Tang Lu subconsciously looked over at Qian Wei and the two of them exchanged introductions, but Qian Wei could tell that Tang Lu was obviously only interested in Liu Shiyun. Even the questions he asked all only revolved around Liu Shiyun.
“So, if you don’t normally come out to these kinds of events, what do you usually do at night?”
Liu Shiyun covered her mouth and smiled gently: “Me? I usually practice my calligraphy at night. Sometimes I copy passages from the Diamond Sutra** by hand because I find that my mind becomes very peaceful whenever I write and it’s an excellent tool for cultivating myself. Whenever I’m not writing, I like to read books. For instance, I read ‘Walden’ recently and I found that it really broadened my mind and my way of thinking. Of course, occasionally, I will listen to music that I enjoy.”
Qian Wei: ??? Obviously, you spend every night in the dorm watching variety shows from South Korea or Taiwan? Also, you often burst out into crazy laughter, so where exactly is that so-called peaceful state of mind?
Tang Lu had a touch of admiration on his face when he heard Liu Shiyun’s answer, and he continued: “What kind of music do you like to listen to?”
“I’ve always enjoyed listening to classical instruments such as the piano. In fact, I don’t listen to today’s pop music all that often because I’ve always found it a little impetuous and unpleasant.”
Screw you! Qian Wei could barely choke back her retort. Where exactly do you like listening to classical music? Don’t you spend every day drooling over pop singers and listening to their songs?
Tang Lu’s face was full of naked surprise: “What a coincidence. I also like listening to classical music. Whose piano do you like best?”
“If I had to say, I think I would say that I like Chopin the best in my heart. But it’s hard because I’m also fond of Bach and Mozart.”
When she heard that, Qian Wei couldn’t even retort. She really wondered if Liu Shiyun had ever listened to a complete piano piece in her life…
However, Tang Lu, who had originally been acting somewhat restrained, was completely excited by now: “Chopin is my favorite too! By the way, have you heard that William D.T. is coming to City A for a piano recital next weekend? Many of the pieces that he is going to play are by Chopin! Did you buy a ticket?”
Liu Shiyun was stunned by this twist, but she quickly recovered and plastered a regretful expression on her face: “It was too hard to grab a ticket and I couldn’t get one, it’s such a pity.”
“I have a ticket! Plus, my father knows the organizer so I can get another one for you. Are you free next weekend? Why don’t you come with me!” Probably he remembered that it wouldn’t be good to invite Liu Shiyun but ignore her friend, because Tang Lu turned around and seemed to finally remember Qian Wei was there, “Qian Wei, are you interested in coming with us? The ticket won’t be a problem.”
Qian Wei quickly waved him off: “No, no. I’m not free this weekend, you two go without me!”
What a joke! If Qian Wei went, she would definitely fall asleep in the concert hall!
After that, Tang Lu and Liu Shiyun continued to talk enthusiastically about classical music. Tang Lu also skillfully tried to take note of Qian Wei’s mood and would occasionally try to guide the topic to something that she could participate in. However, Qian Wei really wanted to tell him: Please, just leave me alone. I’m really not interested in classical music at all!
Fuck, all this elegance was just too scary!
*if you’re curious there’s a lot of literature on this topic (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Primary_stage_of_socialism) tl;dr it’s a theory that explains why capitalist techniques are widely employed in supposedly socialist China and also goes on to assert that the people need to work hard to slowly move out of the primary stage toward more ‘pure’ socialism
**the ‘金刚经’ / diamond sutra is a famous freely distributed Buddhist text. You can probably look up a copy yourself if you’re interested.
tl note: ugh im not gonna list out all the ‘classy’ stuff that Liu Shiyun namedrops in this chapter. ‘Walden’ is a famous book. Chopin, Bach, and Mozart… I assume you know. Also, the ‘aging society’ thing she mentions briefly is a Real Thing. Basically this author isn’t the type to just randomly make stuff up is what I’m saying.