Studying in the library this evening, Benco leaned over and said, “Do you know it’s a holiday today?” Shocked that I had not heard anything about this before 7:30pm, I responded with a bit of astonishment: “NO! What’s the Holiday?”As it turns out, November 11th, is celebrated in China as Bachelor’s Day! The date for the holiday is 11/11, because it is written as four ones, or four singles. On this day, guys without girlfriends get together, go out to bars, drink and sing songs. What a great holiday! I’m pretty sure a group of us did that just this past Friday, not even knowing that this day was approaching.
Also referred to as Lonely Guys Day, Benco told me that there is even a special song that is sung by single guys when they go out to celebrate. What’s the song called: well, The Lonely Guy’s Song, of course. (The Chinese have always been known for their creativity.) I have not yet found the lyrics, but I shall seek them out until I can post the Chinese and English translation online.
What really shocked me was that I had not heard about this holiday before now. 7:30pm is not really the best time to alert the lost foreigner on a new holiday that they could be celebrating the same day: that’s 19.5 hours of potential celebration already lost to ignorance. While a majority of my classmates are not guys, a majority of the guys in my class are single. Ironically enough, the person who did tell me about this holiday has a girlfriend. (Remember Benco and his girlfriend from Escape from Hong Kong?) I had to investigate.
After running, I knocked on Bill and David’s door. Bill was in, so I asked about what he was doing for the holiday? “Holiday?” he asked. Had I been had? Is there not really some new exciting holiday for global merriment?
“Yea… November 11: one-one-one-one?”
“Oh! Yea! Bachelor Day: How do you know about that?” he responded. Replying with my standard missive of knowing everything there is to know about Chinese language and culture, I continued along my inquiry as to what the holiday was about. He confirmed the day for single guys to go out and drink and sing karaoke. He said sometimes it is a holiday when people feel shame, but that it is a time for optimism rather than pessimism. I asked him about the song, but he wasn’t familiar with it. As to why no one is doing anything for the event today: Bill tells me it is not a big event in Hong Kong, but in China people go all out for the festivities. Well, all out as in drinking and karaoke: no strippers or whores. “Massagie?” I asked: nope, but the laughter elicited dampens the disappointment.
I headed back to my room for further research. Fortunately Mao was in, so I posed the question of why he was not celebrating, but he shrugged off the holiday. He is of the “shame” rather than celebration mindset. By this time, however, I would have none of it: we’re celebrating. While allowing his dismissals to slide I jumped on msn to collect some classmates: Zhou Sinan, Qi Han, Bill, David, their friend Hu Zhongzhong, Mao and I would head out to the Uni-Bar and I’d buy us all a round of drinks.
Mao, determined not to come and celebrate what he sees as some sort of trite celebration, kept telling me he has a girlfriend now and couldn’t come.
“What’s her name?”
“Why do I need to give you here name?” he asked.
“Because if you can’t, she’s not real. Has anyone seen your girlfriend?”
“Why does someone need to see her?”
“Because if no one has seen her, then she’s invisible. And if she’s invisible, then she’s not real, and – consequently – you don’t have a girlfriend. You could have just asked those two girls who passed in the hallway to be your girlfriend, and then you could get out of coming with us: start knocking on hall doors if you want to get out of the festivities.”
When David returned from his TOEFL examination we were off. Mao remained behind: party-pooper. Unfortunately the Uni-Bar closes at 11pm on Sundays, so I couldn’t buy a beer for the group. We headed down to the sea-front restaurant on campus and sought out a close second to beer: ice-cream. Treating the group to ice-cream and ginger beers, we had a grant out or so of enjoying bachelordom, with Igor the Blue, aka Zhou Sinan, always throwing in some off-colored comment that would cause the group to erupt with laughter.
So today, on November 11th, all the single guys need to be out celebrating. Why have a day for single in China? For the same reason as we have a Mothers Day, a Father’s Day, but no day dedicated for kids : every day is Couples Day.