2 hours of basketball at Lakeville after taking 2 months off and I’m sweating like an Eskimo in the safari. I had plans on meeting up with friends after a few games, but since the gym is a 45 minute drive from my home I had no time to change into proper outing attire. So I freshened up, put on a new t-shirt and packed my now damp hair into a ponytail underneath a cap that matched well with my Adidas sweat suit. I reside in Pudong which is an awesome place, but Puxi is where most of the Westerners reside, and it host a lot more tourist attractions surely when it comes to popular restaurants and bars. It was a Monday night so I didn’t have plans on clubbing or painting the city, but when in Shanghai there’s no telling where the night might take you.
The first stop was a very popular bar called Revolusion; I try not to go there too often because it’s usually packed from wall to wall, and to be honest I get a little uncomfortable in crowded spaces. On this first Monday night of my Chinese New Year holiday vacation, it was the exact opposite. There were probably no more than 10 people there and that included the 4 others that I arrived with. After a few drinks and good laughs we left Revo and congregated outside the bar to figure out our next move. In true Shanghai fashion our group of 5 (including myself) doubled; we left and took the whole bar with us. We were a fairly diverse bunch consisting of 2 guys from Germany, 2 women from China, 2 women from The Ukraine, a guy from England, 2 Chinese guys and myself an African-American woman. We called 2 DIDIs (Chinese equivalent to Uber) and made our way to the next destination only to arrive and see that they were about to close. After making a few phone calls to some local bars we quickly learned that many of them closed early in lieu of the Chinese New Year. That left us with one other option…hotel party!
While waiting for our cabs to take us to the hotel I found myself sparking up a chat with the guy I just met from England. After we introduced ourselves to one another he immediately reached for my hat in an attempt to take it off. I abruptly responded “do not touch my hat!”He looked at me with a look of wonder and confusion in his eyes then responded, “why not, what are you hiding?” At this point I was equally confused and I explained to him that I like to wear hats, and I just finished playing two hours of basketball and had no time to style my hair before coming out. The cab finally arrived and a group of 5 squeezed in, in route to the hotel for more drinks and socializing. While in route one of the guys from Germany looked over at me and asked “can you take your hat off for us?” I couldn’t help but to laugh out loud because this was only minutes after the first request and awkward encounter. It almost felt like a bit of a conspiracy, so much so that I accused the previous violator of putting him up to it. He assured me he didn’t, although I’m not sure if I believed him.
We arrived at the hotel to meet the other half of our group and naturally we began to engage in small talk. Within 30 minutes my 3rd hat removal request came; this time from one of the women from the Ukraine. At this point I was annoyed and as I looked around the room the group of 10 grew silent, as they all stared at me as if I were about to perform some sort of circus act. A room full of unique and interesting people and our topic of discussion revolves around the mystery underneath my cap? Why was this so important to them? I finally asked “why does everyone want me to take off my hat?” She responded “well maybe the guys think your hair is sexy”; the guy from England responded, “we want to see it go POOF”; one of the Chinese guys responded “I just want to see how it feels”; Lastly I responded “I WILL NOT REMOVE MY HAT!”.