Way back in college, I had this guy classmate whom nobody would want to talk to, nor be seen with for the sole reason that he smells. He hardly showered nor brushed his teeth because he always thought it was okay--they had centralized housing, after all, and he could always have his teeth "fixed" if needed.
He was also quite a character. He was always seen walking around the campus garden, practicing martial arts on his own, sweating like a pig and smelling like one during class. He was brought up the traditional Chinese way, and he was expected to join the family business after school. Needless to say, his family is rich, and he always went to school with a driver.
He never owned a pair of jeans in his entire life, and his daily uniform consisted of a white shirt, tucked into baston trousers, usually black or brown, and white rubber shoes, and of course, his nylon belt bag. One day, he went to school with a huge nose strip across his face, and when I asked why he had that, he said "a huge acne burst right where my glasses tipped my nose".
Because he only spoke English (he was brought up by his nanny watching english TV shows and nothing but), and hardly the local dialect, this sort of alienated my classmates further, who preferred speaking the dialect. He was also quite complicated and very intelligent; his IQ was 183, and somehow, even professors were intimidated by him. He was known for his one-liners; his replies were short but they always made sense, in a philosophical way.
People laughed at him, of course, he didn't have any friends, nobody could relate to his Chinese philosophies and people were intimidated by him. The thing was, he was oblivious to it all and continued attending class, speaking to people politely and diplomatically as if he was well-liked.
Anyway, because I have a thing for eccentric characters, I befriended him, endured his dragon-breath only because I was in wanting of those deep, philosophical discussions (hey, I was a freshman, think Dead Poets Society days) and he always took me home. My classmates eventually got wind of our friendship and mercilessly teased me for acquiring a new "best friend" because shortly after that, he constantly followed me and wanted to be with me because "I was the only one who bothered" to talk to him.
I asked him one day if he considered me as a friend, and that I had something very important to tell him, and if I was a friend to him, I'm doing him a favor because real friends tell people what's wrong with them before others do so. Nodding, he asked me to say my piece.
"Well, Kirby, the truth is, have you ever considered buying deodorant?"
Eyes blinking through thick glasses, he casually answered No.
And, in one breath, I said, "Ever wondered why people don't talk to you and avoid you? It's because you smell. And your mouth smells. Please please, let me buy you a toothbrush. And while we're at the store, why don't we buy you some jeans too? They're very comfortable, you know. Don't dress like your dad; that's how GI's (Genuine Intsik) do. And what about a backpack or something? You don't sell fish, so get rid of that nylon beltbag. And yeah, you'd look more handsome without your glasses, let's go to your optometrist. Lastly, try to speak in the local language so you can relate people and have other friends aside from me because really, people are starting to wonder about us, and this, my friend, is social suicide for me! So, let me help you, I'm begging you, if you need me to drag you in the shower, I'll do that!"
"Okay. Let's go."
Just like that. I was amazed at how he didn't take things personally, and that nobody ever told him that he smelled! So, I took him shopping, and he complained how it's hard to get rid of his trousers because they were soooo comfortable. Duh. There were moth holes already! My dentist also went quiet for a few seconds before he annouced MAJOR cleaning to be done.
The next day, he went to school in his spanking new jeans, whiter (and cleaner) teeth, new haircut, got rid of his glasses and belt bag, and for once, during our entire first year, he looked normal. People started to talk to him, hesitant at first, but I assured them that he had his shower. My friends were impressed, never thinking that I brought some change into his life. No, I think it was more of the fact that he allowed ME to make some changes. Believe me, people, I was a proud momma that day. But of course, it only lasted a day. He went back to his old clothes, although he showered and brushed his teeth more frequently. But I still consider it to be such a great accomplishment during those times.
Shortly after that, I moved to another campus, and we lost touch, but saw each other again during our Christmas party that year. He wasn't expecting me to be around and for a couple of minutes, I was wondering where he run off to. Thirty minutes later, he came back, huffing and puffing, and pulled me aside to give me his shabbily wrapped gift. I was surprised and was really touched by the gesture. I opened it and it was a gold necklace with Chinese characters which meant Luck. And at that moment, my friends started to give me their teasing, mocking looks again. Although his personal hygiene got better, he was still regarded the same way, and they felt obliged to invite him to the party only because I forced them not to leave him out.
When I went home, I examined the necklace much closer only to find that he forgot to remove the price sticker at the back of the box. That is sooo typical of him! However, I was surprised it cost him that much. Knowing him to be such a thrifty, typical Chinese, I was slightly flattered that he blew some money on this one.
We didn't see each other for years, but we'd exchange one-liners on SMS every now and then, and I remember him calling long distance only to listen to me bawl how Chinese boyfriends never make good boyfriends (case in point: B, the spineless guy).
I went home three years ago and every now and then, he'd ask me out to movies. Nothing really special about it. They can't be considered dates either. There was nothing romantic about it, and although he started wearing jeans then, I still had to be on the lookout for my friends.
So, today, he texted me after 2 months since he last asked me out which I politely declined. I was having brunch when I read his message.
Kirby: Hi, TBG.
TBG: Hi there. Happy new year. What's up?
TBG: Hm. I just woke up. What do you have in mind?
Kirby: Movie. Motel. The usual. What time should I pick you up?
Seriously, I almost CHOKED. He was kidding, right?
TBG: Sounds good! Haha. Wow, I didn't know you're into that.
Kirby: Why not? Last I checked, I'm a guy.
TBG: Yeah, but I always thought of you as wholesome. And last time you confessed, you were a virgin. Has that changed?
Kirby: Find out personally :p I could be in your house in 10 minutes. Want me to prove it to you?
TBG: Uhhh, nooooo. I just woke up, I'm having brunch and I'm still feeling lazy. Seriously, what's on?
Kirby: A bunch of Tagalog movies. That Judy Ann-Ryan thing. Nothing I can stand. Seriously. I can prove it to you. Performance evaluation.
TBG: Okay, I guess I can't stand that either. So, what now?
Kirby: Let's go straight to the motel then. Should be fun. I want to do something fun. Or do someone fun.
TBG: Hahaha. I don't know if I should be taking you seriously.
Kirby: Take it as it is.
TBG: Should I? Take you seriously I mean.
Kirby: It's up to you.
Hmm, he was playing it safe. I was like a shocked momma who found some used, torn condom wrappers in his room. At that point, I was really confused, and in a way, in denial. I wanted to probe more. I was really curious now. I mean, who would want to sleep with him?!?! (hehe)
TBG: So, when was the last time you got laid? (I was kinda hoping he'd take it all back in his reply)Wow. He's on a roll. He really IS serious.
Kirby: Late last year.
TBG: Okaaay. How do you hook up with your ladies then?
Kirby: How do fishermen fish? Duh. Net. Friends. Bars. Clubs. Gym.
TBG: Wow. Good for you then. (ack) And I guess these are random girls?
Kirby: Yes. Beautiful ones, too.
TBG: You're into that? Random girls, I mean?
Kirby: Why not? Could be better. Better than nothing though.
TBG: Yeah, why not. You're young, you're rich, you're that typical Chinese guy with that hot car. Sure, girls should be all over you. I guess I've changed. It used to be like that for me before. But now, I can't stand to do it if I'm not in a relationship. Were you ever in one? For real.
Kirby: I'm gonna be busy in a couple of hours. Are we on or what?
Ignored my question, eh?
TBG: I'm not sure. I don't like what's on.
Kirby: Like I said, let's go straight to the motel then.
TBG: Haha. Right. Sure!
Kirby: Wow, I've always wanted you! I can't believe you said yes! I'm leaving now.
TBG: Whaaa? Hey, I was kidding! You told me it's up to me if I should take you seriously or not. I chose not to! You're that geeky, oily, smelly Kirby I know! You are not a stud! You are not horny! You are not this Kirby now!
Kirby: Get over it, TBG. I've changed. Oh well, some other time then.
And that's that. I still don't know what to make out of it. I've been laughing all day. But, deep down, I am rather disappointed at how he turned out. Just like the guys I used to date. He could've done better. He really could have.
Oh well, I *heart* geeks.
January 15, 2007 04:13 AM PST
'twas mind boggling. he might have really changed. was wondering what he's up to and what he become. (muy chismosa) hehehe
nice template TBG
January 8, 2007 01:16 AM PST
Regarding him dating outside your "circle", I think he once told me that his parents are fine with it, as long as he marries a Chinese girl.
Work your way up. :)
January 7, 2007 10:50 PM PST
I'm Fil Chinese myself but i find Kirby's antics to be annoying. He isn't a swan, he's a jerk. Women all over him? Heck, he'll be lucky to have a shirt on him once his parents found out he's been dating outside their circle.
All of these scions are all the same, just waiting for the inheritance. Me? I rather be a middle class guy from my own efforts.
January 7, 2007 07:00 PM PST
Wow! I was blown away by this post. Great story TBG!
January 7, 2007 12:39 AM PST
January 6, 2007 11:54 PM PST
Kirby? hmmm... u always pick the guys with teh korniest names...
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