Saturday, April 17, 2010

My Fantasy Girlfriend - Wang Bingyu

There haven't been too many Chinese girls vying for attention in this 'Fantasy Girlfriend' collection of mine, nor in my private life either. I seem to lack the propensity of many 'Western' men out here to develop an excessive, compulsive, exclusive interest in Asian ladies. Some I like, but most leave me rather cold. Instead, my genetic programming has given me a powerful predilection for pale-skinned redheads or dark-eyed, curly-haired brunettes.

However, every once in a while, a Chinese girl, despite her tiny stature and boringly black hair, will somehow insinuate her way into my thoughts, get under my skin, worm her way into my heart. And Betty Wang, captain of China's Women's Curling Team, is just so gosh-darned cute.

Naturally, I am impressed by exceptional prowess in any field of human endeavour, and Betty's achievements in her sport are quite remarkable: leading the national team while still in her early twenties, and winning both individual and team World Championships last year. (Having to settle for the bronze medal place in the recent Winter Olympics, and then failing to qualify for the final play-offs in the World Championships last month has been seen as something of a national disaster after the heightened expectations she and her team-mates have generated in the last year or two. So, now sympathy for her in a time of trouble is added to my admiration for her abilities.) Such success - particularly in an event requiring such sustained levels of concentration and elaborate tactical thinking - is suggestive of an unusual intelligence and strength of character.

What is it about curling? In many ways, it seems an extremely silly game (especially that business with the brooms, or mops, or swiffers, or whatever it is they use these days to buff the ice in the path of the stones) - but it is remarkably TV-friendly. There's something about the pace and rhythms of the play that is insidiously compelling, especially when you're watching late at night after a few beers (which always seems to be the way it is for me). There's a beguiling accessibility about it as well: the tactics, although fairly subtle and complex, are also quite readily comprehensible after just a few hours of study. [I'm not sure that it really gains anything, though, from being played on ice. I much prefer its non-icy precursor, Flat Green Bowling.] And, since it doesn't require any great strength or athleticism, its female exponents do not need to be muscle-bound or masculinized, and many of them are strikingly good-looking. I confess to having been at first rather more distracted by some of the Swedes and Germans when I found myself watching more and more of this event during the Vancouver Olympics, but amongst the Asian competitors Betty Wang is the real charmer. (I've said pish-tosh before to Dottie Parker's over-quoted line about men spurning the attractions of "girls who wear glasses", and I'll say it again now. The glasses are a key part of Betty's appeal. That, and the wonderfully calm intensity of her demeanour when she's playing her game.)


Amelita said...

Come, now: Ogden Nash.

Tony said...

I spent many weary days of my life watching (in the line of duty) expressionless Chinese female ping-pong players: your reference to the "calm intensity of her demeanour" brings back frightful memories.

Froog said...

I blame the Internet: I saw the line attributed to Dottie a couple of years ago and started to believe it. Then again, the Internet is usually right on this kind of thing. I think it sounds Nash-worthy or Nash-plausible but isn't in fact one of his.

Unless, of course, Dorothy Parker was merely Ogden Nash in drag (or vice versa).

Froog said...

Ping players are fierce and sweaty; their 'game face' is usually that of a feral dog staking its claim to the last bone. Betty's gaze is far more serene and Zen-like.

The Weeble said...

It's Dorothy Parker, from the piece "News Item."

Nash, on the other hand, was responsible for a bit of doggerel that was entirely true: "Parsley / Is gharsley."

The Weeble said...

On the other hand, Ogden Nash did write a response to "News Item," which is what Amelita may be thinking of:

A girl who is bespectacled
She may not get her nectacled
But safety pins and bassinets
Await the girl who fassinets.

Froog said...

I rather think that's the sum total of 'News Item', isn't it, Weebs? Thanks for the Nash.

Froog said...

Leave parsley alone. I liike parsley.