Getting In With The Wong Crowd

Posted: February 1, 2014 in As If I Actually Ended Up Going To Uni, One More For Love


I am at a table. And this is good news. Because it is not Christmas. Which is not normally good news. It is not Christmas, and I am at the dinner table. The Christmas dinner table. I smile, and let my stuffing do its’ job, as to dozens of new people (or ‘newple’) invited to have a free Christmas dinner put on by the Christian Union. But that is not the only reason I’m smiling. I’m smiling because…


It’s Christmas!


By which I mean I’m sitting next to a girl. A definite girl. And sitting next to her is another girl in a sweet christmas jumper. I decide to engage them both in conversation, and see if I can beat my personal best.


Christmas Jumper responds.




I cough, and begin to say something.


“Yeah it’s really cool this, hey?”


“Oh yeah. I love Christmas…”


Personal information. I can use that. I could buy her a Christmas.


“…And it’s really nice how there’s loads of foreign students here.”


Ah yes. The foreign students. Tonight’s full of them. Bringing all the globo-politan flair of earth’s disparate best to this Wolverhampton basement for a selection of hot meats. Totally like the avengers. I am sat next to a group of Chinese lads, and Christmas Jumper will probably be impressed at my ability to sit next to a group of Chinese lads whilst being Samuel L Jackson. I decide to exploit the advantage. I dive in.


“Alright, mate. How are you doing?”


“Uhh… OK. Yeah.”


The Chinese fella sat on my right is smiling and nodding, and seems more like a Chinese stereotype than an actual Chinese man. I decide to delve a little further, and show Christmas Jumper just how long I can spend investigating potential Chinese impostors.


“I’m Dan. What’s your name?”








Ben nods and smiles.




Ben looks a little uncomfortable all of a sudden.
“Uhh… no. Not really.”


“Oh right. Because I have a Malaysian mate named Jon but his real name is something a bit less…. Jon.”


“Yeah… my name is ….”


I smile. And nod. As Ben says a long list of unintelligible sounds.


“Umm… so… Ben.”


He smiles.




“No, go on. I want to try and use your real name. Try me again. Slowly.”


Ben chuckles.




I smile. Classic.


“Right. Wong…”




More white noise.


I smile.


“I can pronounce Wong!”


I turn to Christmas Jumper, and introduce Wong. She’s obviously not that interested in Wong. And Wong is obviously not that interested in her. He’s obviously clocked that I’m here. And let’s face it, there’s always a pecking order. Wong turns back to chat with his Chinese chum-erie, and suddenly I am alone, so decide to re-stock up on apple sauce. I plate it up, and quietly reference the most quotable Matt Damon movie never made before returning to my seat where Wong carries on conversation, and I stare longingly at my apple sauce, wishing he’d shut up and let me eat it.




It is the end of the night, and I have not really had a chance to speak to Christmas Jumper. Because of Wong. My lovely new Chinese friend.


That flipping rat.


Wong pulls his phone out, and asks to swap numbers. I smile, and decide to oblige. He’s a student – which is lonely. And he’s a foreigner – which is lonelier. I decide to swap numbers and deep down know that this is a facade.


I will never text Wong.




It is a few months later, and I am scrolling through the names in my address book. And I have stumbled across a name.




I sigh, and feel something. An inclin. The same inclin I get when I think that God might be prodding me to do something. I picture Wong. Sitting alone. For the third month in a row. And decide that this could be serious. Loneliness is horrible, and maybe, I need to text him right now. To stop him doing something very serious, very bad, and very final. I sigh, and text him.


“Hi Wong, it’s Dan. That guy from the Christmas meal. How’s your year going?”


I smile. I’ve saved a life, and without the painful little blood-screening finger prick that hurts way more than it should. Suddenly I hear two vibrations. It’s my phone. Already. Huh.


“Hi Handsome, I am fine. Enjoy the life here, How r u?!”




I…. don’t reply. And decide to get on with my day. Housemate Anders Limpar bursts into the room like a third year student trying to both do and not do his dissertation in unequal measure and announces that he is heading to Asda. I decide to dive in, and see if they have any apple sauce.




Fifteen minutes later we have arrived, and I have realised that I can’t afford apple sauce. We walk down the freezer aisle, and I freeze. And sheepishly walk past two Chinese men.


“You alright Dan?”


“Erm…. yeah.”


“What is it?”


I explain. How I talked to a random Chinese guy instead of Christmas Jumper, how that random Chinese guy called me handsome this morning, how I can’t actually remember what the random Chinese guy looked like. And How I just walked past two random Chinese guys who may or may not have been him. Terrified.


Anders laughs.


He really laughs.


“Well Dan… looks like you made the Wong decision there.”


I smile.


And hide from Chinese men for the rest of the year.


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