Sugar, Spice, and Everything Nice
I spent the summer in Shanghai, an occasionally hellish and always muggy city in the south of China. One evening while I was out walking, the daughter of the adorable chef couple that lived below me came out of her parent’s apartment. She was back from school up north, about to go to Australia for grad school . . . and the absolute definition of the word sexy.
As I start jogging over to say hi, I begin to flex my chest and ruffle my hair, getting ready to start the conversation and promptly trip on a crack in sidewalk. But I don’t lose my cool, no, my stare was holding, even if with my ripped jeans skin was showing, there was a hot night wind blowing, and I look up and say “Where you going, baby?” She just looks down and says “out,” with a slight grin.
Did I just blow my chance? Would I be writing this if I did? No. Not at all. Even though I had thought up a thousand and one ways to get time with her, everything from transporting ourselves to hyperspace to simply just getting drunk and walking downstairs, I decided to play it cool. And by cool, I mean, passively; I didn't do anything except wait.
Then one day in July, the couple below me came upstairs to inform me they're leaving for their 30 year wedding anniversary and suggested I have dinner with their daughter the coming weekend because we'll both be alone. And because Chinese isn’t my native tongue, I accidentally translated our conversation as “please sleep with our daughter.”
I wait for the weekend on tenterhooks and when Saturday arrives I go downstairs to an apartment filled with aromas of every type. Remember, we're talking about getting it on in the house of a family of chefs — if you think the daughter sounds spicy, you should see their spice cabinet. After the first bottle of wine, it wasn’t just the wok that was starting to heat up. We were making eyes over cutting vegetables (I spent as much time as I could letting them them linger below my belt before putting them on the cutting board) when the buzzer alerting us that the meat was done goes off. She grabs a knife, stabs a piece and drunkenly maneuvers it towards my mouth.
Ouch. She just cut me.
“I think I have something for that,” she says as she rummages through the spices, bringing out a bottle of Sriracha. She squirts some on her finger and rubs it on her lips.
She leans in for the kiss, “Let me help you.”
Oh baby, my lips are on fire. My throat is on fire. My pants are on fire. My pants are on fire?! Don't do this near an open stove. Your pants will actually catch on fire. But it's definitely a good excuse to get out of them. She pushes me into her bedroom so she can take off the smoldering jeans. In the frenzy of trying not to burn what will soon be a very important part of my anatomy, I feel a little pinch and then a feeling like a bolt of electricity went coursing through my arm to my head. This girl had just cut me again with her fingernails and put more pepper sauce in the cut.
One cut, two cut, three cuts, a dozen — fire in my loins, veins and luckily no longer my pants. The Scoville rating on this gal was definitely over 9000. But once we got past the jalapeños and habaneros, we stopped playing a Red Hot Chili Peppers sort of tune, and started playing something a lot milder. I'm not saying I expect every girl to be as graceful as a Russian ballerina, but calling her “clumsy and ungraceful” would be too kind. However, this didn't stop us from seeing if we could make our own brand of cock sauce. After all, anything that came out of me at this point was akin to pepper spray.
As our bodies started to capitulate to the capsaicin, she whispers to me “it’s a little too hot, you’re going to have to sleep on the floor.” That was my cue to gather up the charred remains of my pants and trek back upstairs. I didn't get a chance to see her again, but I know I definitely left that country with someone playing Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band on repeat.
So remember folks, the next time you’re at a loss for how to spice up your night, sometimes it helps to be literal.
Written under the pseudonym Jimothy Singh for the Cornell Daily Sun