Oh, oh, oh! How could I have forgotten to tell you about the Gents toilets in the SOS Club?
The Gents toilets of the SOS Club are, as you would expect from somewhere so damned aspirational, of a shiny and glossy appearance. Unfortunately, this shininess and glossiness also extends to the tiled flooring. Not just because the tiles have been polished to within an inch of their lives, but also because the floor is, in fact, soaking wet.
With what, I do not care to speculate; all I know is that it takes a concentrated effort not to skid on my Pradas and fall arse over tit in front of the uniformed toilet attendant.
The toilet attendant who is now approaching me, even as I wee, with a beaming, servile smile upon his face.
The toilet attendant who is now standing directly behind me, and attempting to give me some sort of half-assed back massage. I repeat: as I wee.
This sort of behaviour is liable to put a chap off his stroke. It’s a good job I’m desperate. Er, for a wee, that is to say. Crumbs, what do you take me for?
I do my best to shrug off the ministrations of the toilet attendant. It’s a pity that there’s no easy catch-all Mandarin term for “No”, and I’ve temporarily forgotten its nearest equivalent, bu yao (“Don’t want.”) Also, effective shrugging is kind of difficult when you’re, you know, trying to have a wee in peace: an activity which, by definition, does rather anchor you in one fixed place.
Also, I don’t want to offend. I’m sure the back massage is kindly meant, and all part of the service sir, and probably factored into the astronomic 100 YMB entrance fee, and I’m aware that an outright display of irritation might not be duly sensitive to the different cultural… oh, f**k it, I need this guy to get off my back, now. Literally and figuratively.
I risk a harder shrug – a sort of sideways shimmy, hopefully not too coquettish in effect or else we’re opening up a whole new minefield of misunderstanding – and accompany it with a series of me-no-want grunts.
He gets the message, and backs off. I finish the job in hand, and teeter my way over to the sink, using tiny tippy-toe steps in order to stave off any further arse-over-tit opportunities. Ancient Chinese Ladies Of Yore, I feel your foot-bound pain.
The toilet attendant is waiting for me by the sink. In common with all annoying toilet attendants everywhere, he rescues me from the arduous and faintly demeaning task of actually turning the tap on for myself. That’s OK, we’re used to that.
Except that, instead of reaching for the hand towels as all good attendants should, he is now seizing this second opportunity to do manifestly non-therapeutic things to my back – this time by performing lame chopping motions with the side of his hands against my shoulder blades.
More shimmy-shimmy, more me-no-likey. Takes a bit longer this time, but we get there.
And then – and then! – he has the GALL to point at a couple of soaking wet 20 YMB notes beside the sink, and then back at me, expectantly and confidently.
Have I mentioned that tipping is not a part of Chinese culture, anywhere at all, and that leaving a tip can even cause offence?
Cheeky bugger. Maybe, if he spent a little less time fiddling ineffectively with his client base, and a little more time actually keeping the f**king floor dry, then such gross impudence might be justified. But, under the circumstances, how DARE he presume to…
I tip him 10 YMB, and meekly waddle off back to the dancefloor.