Shanghaiist just read a Shanghai Daily article about the new ladies only berths on sleeper trains, such as those that run between Shanghai and Beijing. In a nutshell, women, for whatever reason, can choose now to sleep in compartments surrounded by other women. The article offers some clues as to why they created this new service:
Ministry of Railway officials said in a terse news release that they simply wanted to improve service.
“I just can’t accept the idea of sleeping inside a cubical next to some guys I don’t know. It would feel so unsafe and uncomfortable,” said Ruan Chenji, a 25 year-old single woman from Shanghai.
They say the main rason for this change is not sexual harrassment, claiming that there have been very few cases of that — but what Shanghaiist thought was interesting was that this statement was made by a 25 year old woman, because it seems to us that anyone significantly older than this woman would probably not have a problem with it, because sleeping co-ed is just the way it’s been for ages. We’re glad that the reporters interviewed some of the more progressive voices out there as well:
“Some female passengers said they found it fun to make friends with the strange guys they met on the train. They said the long trip was a good chance to meet some interesting men,” said one railway station worker.
And some men foresee the possibility of other night-long combinations.
“Why not also offer carriages in which single men and women can travel together?” said Xie Ye, a 29-year-old Shanghai man who is a frequent train passenger. “I think that would be a blessing for single people like me.”
Mr. Xie, you and Shanghaiist are of one mind! Forget the mile-high club, we’re starting the four foot club! To spice things up we could also serve liquor — other than baijiu and cheap beer — have karaoke girls, and perhaps to really spice things up, the gay-lesbian-bisexual (and exploring) car, which would have to be made roomier, because, and let’s be honest here, who would want to confine themselves to the missionary position for twelve hours?
On a more serious note though, Shanghaiist finds it disturbing that men have no choice about these matters. Shanghaiist recalls being on one of these trains with a man who, awake, was pleasant enough, but when sleeping would snore like a jackhammer. Women snore too, but we aren’t afraid of making the generalization that women snore less, or at least less phlegmatically, than most men. Imagine spending a night on a train where all the nice low-decibel snorers are off in their own cars, while you’re left to toss and turn with Mr. Jackhammer and Mr. Lawnmower, who wake up the next morning refreshed while you wake up groggy and stewing with murderous rage. Reverse sexism in China — now who would have thought?
Also on Shanghaiist:
Now that is what we call a ‘soft seat’