The dog days of summer are well and truly here. The August heat is a real scorcher. This year in particular, the hot weather warning seems to be raised more often than ever. Under such extreme conditions, extreme attitudes prevail.
Nowhere is this polarisation more evident than with the Hong Kong women I know. Females here tend to all fall into two separate camps when it comes to the blistering hot sun - they either love it or they loathe it; there is no middle ground.
On one side, you have the sporty girls who will happily spend hours outdoors, playing volleyball, jogging on the beach and soaking up the rays. On the other side, there are the porcelain dolls who live in perpetual fear of exposing a single fleck of skin for more than two seconds. God forbid the hazards of skin cancer and radiation, not to mention the terrible risk of not being as white as one can be.
And never the twain shall meet.
You think politics is contentious in the city? Try negotiating a brunch where your California-schooled female friends want to sit al fresco while the local tai-tai-in-training princesses won't even leave their Hermès handbags in the sun - because the colour will fade.
I am frequently asked what my type is. Do I want to keep up with someone who needs to spend every weekend working on her tan and jogging on Bowen Road? Furthermore, can I really deal with the constant smell of coconut-scented skin screen ad nauseum?
As for those girly-girls who have a vampiric desperation to avoid sunlight, can I deal with such obsessive compulsiveness? Do I want to have a relationship with someone who is permanently ensconced beneath an umbrella? If so, at least birthday presents will be easy - every cosmetics brand has its own whitening lotion.
I have dated women from both pools. Those from one worry almost hysterically about freckles, wrinkles and cancer - and are often totally deficient in vitamin D. Those from the other wear me out with their outdoor activities. I am okay with joining her dragon boat team, but I draw the line at training for Trailwalker in August weather.
I am a simple guy. I just want to find a girl who is as happy to soak up the sun in a tank top and pair of shorts as she is to spend a weekend inside watching Netflix in the air conditioning. Maybe that's why I'm still single.
ILLUSTRATION: MAXIM SAVVA / ILLUSTRATIONROOM.COM.AU
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