Last year, when my boss
After I walked in, I sat down at the table with my boss and two other female colleagues. He got off his phone a few minutes later and something incredible happened. As soon as he started speaking, compliments about our beauty/femininity were thrown at us left, right and centre. These were half-ironic statements about how young my boss was for her age, how he was flustered being surrounded by beautiful women etc. etc. They ate it up. He even asked me why I didn't enter the Miss Chinese Melbourne beauty pageant, to which I internally grimaced and wanted to say: 'because pageants are stupid, sexist and embarrassing tools perpetuating the objectification of women for commercial and patriarchal value'. I obviously didn't say anything as scarily feminist as that, but I still said 'I think pageants are stupid', to which he presciently and again half-jokingly added 'ahhh yes, well that makes sense as I wouldn't expect an ambitious law student like yourself to enter something like that'. I grimaced again.
Apart from that thing about beauty pageants, he was saying a lot of very flattering bs that I admit, did make me feel good about myself. And I could see how much my boss and colleagues were enjoying having a handsome young man swathe them with witty, well-timed compliments. I thought to myself - wow. This guy is amazing. I mean, yeah, he's a stereotype, but that's what makes him so great at his job. He works with a lot of Asian businesses here, and with people who must be much older than him. I don't doubt for one minute that his Mad Men-esque charisma, where he can at any time switch on that rare old-timey gallantry and joke around with 'the boys', makes him a likeable character in a male-dominated industry where trust, connection and relationships can make or break a deal. And honestly, I didn't judge him too hard for the things he said because I knew he operated frequently if not completely within Asian business circles, and Asian business and networking culture is very different to what we young people would expect in more progressive western environments. So I understood completely if this was the sort of personality it took to win over his clients.
Anyway. So the second time we met, I still had no idea exactly how 'accomplished' he was, and faced with the existential throes of taking the bus home, I unashamedly asked him where he lived and whether it would be convenient for him to give me a ride home. 'Yes! That's fine!" he said eagerly. He said his car was parked close by. 'Maybe a 10 minute walk if that's alright?' He asked. That was definitely okay with me, since I would have had to walk 10 minutes home after taking the bus anyhow.
It was deception. Trickery. A trap.
Since he told me his car was 'parked' close by, I naturally assumed that he lived somewhere else. NUP. He took me to this newly built apartment complex a short walk away from my office. I was like 'uh...what?' And he's like, 'oh yeah, I'll take you down to the underground car park later. I'll just go up to my apartment and get some stuff.'
Apartment? He lives here? The fuck is happening?
I was slightly horrified that he was then making such a huge effort to drive me home. Horrified - not that I was uncomfortable, but because I didn't want him to be inconvenienced. He kept smiling and reassuring me that it was absolutely fine, and that I should just 'wait there', down on ground level. So I stood at the foyer for what felt like forever, until he came back down, and was like 'okay, let's go'.
We took the elevator down to the underground carpark, and before we stepped out, he's like 'so I drive an Aston Martin' or something. I'm like 'yeah ok haha'. And he went 'No, I really do.' And now I was like, LOL?!?!
We walked pass an unmissable yellow Ferrari. He said, 'that's my friend's car. Sometimes he goes overseas and gives me the keys. It's fun. We race a lot.'
Okay, so these weren't his exact words. After all, it's been a year since this happened. But for the sake of story-telling, that was essentially what he said.
Then finally, he led me to this obnoxiously shiny, conifer green Aston Martin DBS.
At this point I was still like no....
But then he pressed his keys and the lights lit up.
Then I was like oh...
Of course, he opened the door for me on my side. I crouched in, proceeded to fall with a thump into my seat (they're really low), for which he apologised for not warning me about, and then I'm like. Holy shit. I'm in an Aston Martin. Internally, I was like WOOOOOOOOOOO! But externally, I was like, 'um yeah this is cool lol thanks.'
I vowed to myself not to be one of those girls. Because that was OBVIOUSLY what he expected.
We're sitting in his two hundred thousand dollar supercar, and he started scrolling through music. He settled on some super loud RnB track with heavy as fuck bass, and asked me 'do you like this music?' I almost burst out laughing, how ridiculous this shit was, but I'm like 'yeah, this is fine', playing it ice cool.
As we made our first turn out of the carpark, he gave the car a few good hard revs. And it's extremely, ostentatiously, hilariously loud for a semi-suburban street. It also felt fucking good. You can feel your entire body vibrating. It's that sensation when you're out a club or concert, the music is just blasting so loud the entire floor quakes beneath you, and this heavy narcotic sensation envelops your entire physical and spiritual being. Yeah. For like five seconds, that's what it was like.
Then he's like, very very unsubtly, 'You like that?'
I'm like 'What's not to like about this?'
And he goes 'Girls love this stuff, don't they? The fast cars... the noise... the music'
Inside, I was fucking dying. Dying of laughter. I couldn't believe how cheesy and contrived this entire dialogue was. Obviously, he didn't know me well enough to understand that I'm way too sophisticated and hyper-aware to be swayed by this sort of fuccboi flirting (unless of course, I was actually into it). I tried not to smile so hard.
Even funnier, after we turn out of the carpark, he completely and illegally speeds down the entire 300 metre or so stretch of the street, revving like Jamie Whincup in a V8 Rally, but not really because this was actually a part of Australian suburbia lined with Asian groceries and inhabited by lots of old Chinese women with shopping trolleys. I said nothing. We kept going.
We had a relatively tame conversation about work, saving money and financial success. The whole time, I tried not to show any sign that I was even remotely impressed by his wealth or being in an Aston Martin, which just made everything about this really funny to me. I was just like, yeah cool, I'm just a person having this totally mature discussion with you i.e. ain't gonna fawn over yo shit.
At one point, he was implying that if you work young, start saving early, you too can be like me. And I was like, but I just spend all my money on food. And he tells me to stop having brunch and dining at expensive restaurants, which he just totally assumed I was doing. Inside, I was like - um, I literally never do brunch and when I mean 'buying food', I mean spending all my money on Hungry Jack's 6 chicken nuggets for $3.00 and my favourite KFC original tenders box, with a special large potato and gravy upgrade cos I fucking love potato and gravy. I really should have said that, now that I think about it. It would have destroyed any fantasy he had of me being an easily susceptible, uber superficial, uber fit, Heston Blumenthal-crazy, Michael Kors-toting, pretty girl.
While I was being completely cold to his attempts to impress me, I did do this one thing that I couldn't help - I'd look at the people in the cars next to us and see whether they were looking back at us with envy/aspiration. Because if I were sitting next to a car as sexy as his, I'd want to see what the person driving it looks like. Usually, it'd be some fifty something year old white dude wearing a branded cap of whatever car he was driving. Ferrari? Ferrari cap. BMW? BMW cap. But here we were, two Asian kids - me, 21 wearing tank top and jeans, and him, suited up and looking barely over 27.
Anyway, for the rest of the trip, he had deliberately rolled down all windows, with music blasting pretty loudly. It was hard not to notice us. And then he dropped me back home. The thing is, at the time, I had been holding down a couple of jobs, and most of my bosses had expensive cars. They all drove some recent model of Porsche and Mercedes SUVs/sedans, and so for the last two months or so, I had been continually dropped off at my front door in these super expensive obsidian black, metallic blue, glossy automobiles. But an Aston Martin DBS was a major step up.
I wondered what my nosy as fuck Asian neighbours thought of this (they once dobbed me in to my parents after seeing me with my Sri Lankan (ex) boyfriend).
Outside my house, I said 'thanks for the ride', keeping the effusiveness on the down-low (usually I'm extremely grateful for a ride home from anyone), and he was like 'no worries' etc. Then I went in, and he left, visibly disappointed by my down-to-earth attitude.