July 4, 2019

"It is a sure sign that summer has arrived in China when men start rolling up their shirts, ideally resting them on the natural ledge of their beer belly."

"The theory, based in traditional Chinese medicine, is that exposing one’s midriff helps air out the warm 'chi' energy around the internal organs. So in parks and on street corners, on motorbikes and at open restaurants, men think nothing of pulling up their shirts and letting it all hang out. But now authorities in cities around the country have declared that the broader practice of exposing body parts that should be covered — including chests, bellies and feet — is unseemly...  Many commenters on Weibo, China’s answer to Twitter, supported the various governments’ efforts. The most popular response was the one that recommended promoting this effort nationwide. Another supporter said: 'I can’t stand it. They make public places their own home. It’s as if they are taking the sky as their quilt and the earth their bed.'... 'It’s not a big deal. It’s just our habit. We have to do this when it’s hot,' said a man... sitting in a deck chair outside his building supplies store in a Beijing alley... his blue shirt entirely open. 'We are shirtless because we need to cool down,' he said, while his wife yelled from inside the store: 'It’s not civilized.'...  'It’s a personal style, said one [man]. 'If women reveal their belly it’s beautiful, but when we do it, it’s ugly?'

From "A mainstay of the Chinese summer, the ‘Beijing bikini,’ is under threat" (WaPo). Top-rated comment:
"It’s as if they are taking the sky as their quilt and the earth their bed." — Beautiful language, but the ancient wisdom is captured in this story: "What are you doing meditating in your hut with no pants on?" "The whole world is my hut. This small room is my pants. What I want to know is, what are you doing in my pants?"
I tried to track down that "ancient wisdom." I'm always dubious about references to "ancient Chinese wisdom." It's here, in one book at least... at most? I'm skeptical, but also, it's not an apt joke — that's all it is, a joke, not wisdom, even if it is ancient — because it's one thing to be naked in your home, another thing to inflict it on others in public. But as we say in American free speech analysis: Avert your eyes.

51 comments:

robother said...

Too late (to avert your eyes)! Some things can't be unseen.

GatorNavy said...

Saw this behavior a million times in the Philippines.

mccullough said...

Charlie Chan Takes a Holiday

walter said...

No shorts!

Roughcoat said...

Are they still spitting on the sidewalks?

gspencer said...

"But now authorities in cities around the country have declared that the broader practice of exposing body parts that should be covered — including chests, bellies and feet — is unseemly."

Accurate description of the American mall.

Wilbur said...

Ancient Chinese secret, huh?

Yancey Ward said...

Walter beat me to it!

Ice Nine said...

My wife loathes spitting but when we were in China this "Beijing bikini" came to supersede even spitting on her disgust scale.

Neither particularly bothered me. Though there was that one time while watching a parade in Chengdu that the sweet, petite, well-groomed little old lady standing next to me laid a loogie right at my feet...

Yancey Ward said...

As Confucius wrote, "Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it, such as a bare beer belly."

walter said...

Free the navel!

Chris N said...

Trump will probably use this opportunity to raise tarrifs and have the rubes look the other way. I know things.

At least he's not sucking up to the Kims on the 4th. Maroons!

-Fake Chuck

Chris N said...

Go ahead, attack the messenger.

-Fake Chuck (realer than real)

walter said...

I worked on a shoot at an LGBTQ event in Chicago last week. The exposed midriff ensemble was quite prevalent among the men.

Roughcoat said...

Out of population of 1.4 billion c. 400 million Chinese are middle and upper class -- more than the entire population of the U.S.

Which means that 1 billion Chinese are lower class. And, generally speaking, they act the part.

China has the planet's largest rube/hick population.

rhhardin said...

It's probably cooler. I know my 5" inseam trail shorts, my perpetual choice for everyday wear, are.

You get a lot more skin working at evaporation, rather than just face and hands.

walter said...

Oh..also mesh tops...for the skin evaporation quotient, of course.

buwaya said...

When Adam delved and Eve span, they wore no pants.

Nichevo said...

But as we say in American free speech analysis: Avert your eyes.

Like with shorts. What a flibbertigibbet you are.

buwaya said...

The loin cloth is due for a comeback.
I still have the legs for it I think.

Guildofcannonballs said...

LOL. Women hamster-braining away what Muslims know: cover that shit otherwise we aren't liable for our conduct. lol

Whether you want to cover the Euro-tits, the male legs, the Muslim female, the Chinaman's belly: It's all the same thing.

Wisdom is knowing you can't control yourself around the sex you are attracted to unless they cover themselves top to bottom. lol

traditionalguy said...

Meanwhile in Hong Kong their parade for Independence is no laughing matter. And Huawei develops a belly button recognition computer.

LTC Ted said...

My US-born Chinese grandpa passed on the idea: Cover your navel in winter; let it breathe in summer. He must have heard it from his older relatives. That takes it back to about 1860, or so.

Narr said...

I'm with Won Hong Lo (12th C.) on this one--

Let a hundred man-boobs droop,
May a thousand mats of hair contend.

Narr
Roughcoat, you say that about hicks and rubes like it's a bad thing

exiledonmainstreet, green-eyed devil said...

buwaya said...
The loin cloth is due for a comeback.
I still have the legs for it I think.

7/4/19, 12:31 PM

Well, Johnny Weissmuller looked pretty good in one, but if most Midwestern men started strolling around in loincloths, Althouse would soon be begging them to go back to shorts.

Jack Klompus said...

This delightful sight in Beijing is always accompanied by the melodious sound of everyone hocking up loogies. The subway system is awesome!

Fen said...

Patriarchy's got to patriarch.

Fen said...

I wish hats would come back in style. And women. Women would be nice.

ALP said...

Next time I am on a bus/train to Seattle, and someone is acting in a way that ruins the commute for all, I am screaming at them: "The sky is not your quilt".

buwaya said...

Downtown SF at lunchtime on a weekday is still full of pretty women in summer dresses. Personally I pay much more attention to them than the homeless.

Seeing Red said...

Beer belly?

They’ve come a long way since 1976.

Thank you Capitalism! God Bless America! Happy Independence Day!

There’s a lesson there, but it’ll go over the Progs’ head.

Tomcc said...

Isn't it great that they've got a government that can do something about it?
My fear is that we may not be far behind...
(My hope is that AOC and her supporters are true outliers)

Fen said...

Needs a manspreading tag.

Fen said...

You know what, fuck it. I've always been a loner and an outsider I got nothing to lose so I'm going to start bringing hats back. Even if I'm the only one. I'll be that weird guy on the Metro it looks like you stepped out of a 1950s film.

wholelottasplainin' said...

Jack Klompus said...
This delightful sight in Beijing is always accompanied by the melodious sound of everyone hocking up loogies. The subway system is awesome!
*******************

And let's not forget the "Hong Kong salute".

Technique:

* place your thumb and forefinger on both sides of you nose.
* blow said nose

Saves on kleenex!!

wholelottasplainin' said...

LTC Ted said...
My US-born Chinese grandpa passed on the idea: Cover your navel in winter; let it breathe in summer. He must have heard it from his older relatives. That takes it back to about 1860, or so.
*************

Rural Japanese men used to wear a cummerbund during the winter. Sounds like the same concept.

bagoh20 said...

6.4 earthquake just hit near Death Valley at 10:35am PT. Biggest quake since the 6.7 Northridge quake in 1994. I was sitting at a stoplight here in Vegas and felt my truck rolling side to side. We also just had a 3.3 aftershock a few minutes ago. Rocking and rollin' on the 4th of July!

buwaya said...

Daughter just flew in from LA, so missed the earthquake.

Howard said...

Fen is the pretentious snob who adjusts the cut of his trucker hat using two fingers on the nose bridge while leaving the brim parallel to the Deck.

Howard said...

Earfquake unrelated to the San Andreas. Besides, a 6.4 reliefs very little stress. Looks to be several miles North of the Garlock Fault

buwaya said...

Hmm.
I have a few Moro hats my sister sent me from the Muslim region of South Cotabato.
I might give them a try. They are a bit like the Nehru cap.
Since I am a descendant of the prophet I am entitled.

exiledonmainstreet, green-eyed devil said...

What, Althouse? You don't believe in ancient wisdom? What about ancient Chinese secrets?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mzixL7Ef-bI

Howard said...

Buwaya puti, what dividends does being a descendant of the profit (peas be upon him) pay out at?

buwaya said...

Howard,
I am still in the research process, to see if there is a way to monetize this.
All suggestions entertained. Hopefully these are also entertaining.

Fernandistein said...

"We tend to scoff at the beliefs of the ancients. But we can't scoff at them personally, to their faces, and this is what annoys me." - JH

Bilwick said...

Not fair if I can't air out my schlong.

D 2 said...

let the market decide. If some people are paid to take off their clothes, why can't the people who (most of) society want to keep clothed be paid?

Naked Beer Bellies of the World Unite!
Join Local 421360 now!

Nice landscape you got there. Nice scene, nice view of the lake.
Be a shame for someone to ruin it.
My it's warm. Belly's feeling hot. Well. Maybe just roll up the -
Oh wait, what? You want me to keep it covered?
How much is it worth?

Fen said...

Howard: Fen is the pretentious snob who adjusts the cut of his trucker hat using two fingers on the nose bridge while leaving the brim parallel to the Deck.

No. It's a cowboy hat.

Fen said...

But I do appreciate your creativity. All the other lefties here are bitter and dull.

Frank_D said...

'If women reveal their belly it’s beautiful, but when we do it, it’s ugly?'
YES ...

Banshee said...

Yup, Japanese flannel bellywarmers, worn as part of your long undies, are the same thing,for men and women. And they used to be a thing in the West, in many places.

Probably somebody needs to design a cheap shirt that is more flowy, and incorporate wicking material. I understand that Beijing has very muggy summer weather, and I am sure that rural.China is no better.