I was walking around with my cousin the other day in the main shopping district. School just let out for Chinese New Year and the pavements were flooded with high school and university kids. My cousin turns to me and says, "You are a very unhappy individual."
What the fuck, I thought.
"Why the hell did you say that," I said.
"You keep looking around at all the girls."
"You checked out every single girl that passed by."
"Oh," I said, "I am ususally pretty happy when I see pretty women."
"It's kind of disgusting and embarassing." My cousin is 19. He gets embarassed by everything.
"Whatever. I think it'd be insulting if I saw a pretty woman and I didn't check her out. How else would she know that I thought she was pretty? Besides, it is the will of nature."
My cousin kept on walking and didn't say anything.
We walked into the mall and round the escalator up to the second floor. The whole complex was overrunned by women in leggings and short shorts. Black locks of hair highlighted with burgundy. Berrets. Flashes of sliver necklaces under fluffy scarves. Faces applied with foundation and peach color blush and lips stained with pink lipstick.
My cousin look straight ahead through all the displays of carnality. Unprompted, he said to me, "My dream of an early marriage is ruined."
"I wanted to get married at 18. But I am already 19."
"With that girlfriend of yours?"
I teased him a little, "When do I get to meet this lucky little vixen?"
"Um, maybe you shouldn't."
"C'mon! It'd be fun."
We turned into store that sells anime-goth gear. I had difficulty telling apart women's age since I got back. I'd seen what look to me like a twenty year old women walk around with their nineteen year old daughter. Pre-teens (I think they are pre-teens) in black huddled around a pair of Doc Martens.
"So," I asked my cousin, "Is it normal for people to want to get married early?"
"No, usually they don't have the money."
"So it's an issue with money. If you had money, you would've gotten married last year?"
"Sort of. Not exactly."
I was getting hungry. For a lark, I asked him to take me to a McDonald's. The McD's in the SAR's have a Pork Burger. I had not had it in years.
There were even more girls of non-descript age here. Pretty, pretty women somehow all looking seventeen. My cousin watched me eat as he nibbled on some french fries. I was pretty, pretty distracted by all the pretty, pretty people.
"I gotta go see my girlfriend soon," my cousin said, almost nervously.
"OK, let's go together!"
"Um, let's not."
I desisted on this line of conversation and instead went to the bathroom.
By the time I got out, my cousin was waiting for me at the front door, holding my bag.
He leaned into me and whispered, "A really hot girl with a large handbag just went by."
I pretended not to hear him properly and yelled out, "What? Did you say the bag was hot or the girl was hot?"
"Fuck," mortified, my cousin said, "You are such a dick."
He got on the bus to see his girlfriend and I went off to do my own tourist-y crap.
In everyday talk in HK/Macau, unmarried women are refered to as "little women" which I translate as "girls."