July 31 was “Chinese Valentine’s Day” or qi xi, and in a calculuated attempt to subvert the hegemony of the Western version of the holiday, there were loads of public qi xi activities across China’s cities. For example, what better way to celebrate love than a kissing contest? We found mention of three, in Beijing, Wuhan, and Taipei (all of these come with pictures, it’s worth a look).
The Beijing and Taipei kissing contests were similar in that the duration of the kiss was the key to victory. One Beijing couple sucked face for 20 minutes. We didn’t read in depth about the Taiwan because the picture of the balding man with an old lady who had her legs wrapped around him kind of turned us off (Viagra 万岁!).
Though we’re not completely sure, it seems as if the Wuhan contest also aimed for originality of the kissing position, as you can see from the picture. Of course, it might also have to do with duration, because certain positions are more amenable to endurance kissing than others. We think it has to do with saliva flow, gravity, the weight of the two people, and their physical strength, but don’t have the formula worked out quite yet. On the other hand, if you can figure out how to have sex for 20 whole minutes, we’re all ears.
Another event was the condom balloon blowing event, though this was more of a show involving just two people rather than something you could participate in. A man and a woman (this happened in several cities) dressed in the traditional cowherd and weaver girl costumes of qi xi and instead of making out in public, blew up condoms on which were written slogans such as “planned parenting (meaning the one-child policy) is great!” In Beijing they were told to stop by some bao an guard and in other places, people found it offensive that they would sully the traditional characters of qi xi in this manner. Others supported it, saying that it was a creative and amusing way of spreading a good message. We certainly don’t agree — seems like a waste of a perfectly good condom.
The story of the cowherd (牛郎）and weaver girl (织女) is fascinating, especially when considering its relation to astronomy: the cowherd is the star Altair and the weaver girl is the star Vega. The “river” that separates them is the Milky Way … however, once a year, they cross magpie bridge (鹊桥）and … We’re not sure how the stars are aligned on qi xi — are the normally separated stars are closer together in the night sky than usual? We know that stars “move” in the night sky with the seasons but what would be great would be a “before” and “after” type photos. Of course, you can’t see stars from Shanghai anyway, so it’s probably better to just stay at home, get drunk, and screw. (Read about the history of qi xi here.)
Photo from mmboke.com.