On October 28 the Shanghai Daily ran what now stands as my favorite headline in the history of journalism:
The headline isn’t the best part, though. That honor is reserved for the story itself, which goes something like this: last year, the five individuals in the above photo began working as prostitutes in Shanghai. One day, one prostitute noticed that another was taking prescription sedatives for a sleeping disorder. A plot soon emerged: “let’s make some chocolate, lace it with those sedatives, and feed it to clients with the intention of robbing them after they collapse.” A winning concept, for sure (!), that succeeded on at least two occasions, and would have succeeded on a third had someone not been caught using a victim’s credit card at a cosmetics shop.
Now, I learned long ago not to be surprised by the lengths (and depths) that my fellow expatriate men will go in the pursuit of thrills that they wouldn’t dare seek back home. But I am surprised to learn that these same dimwits don’t have a certain primeval reserve of common sense that would – I dunno – keep them from accepting home-made chocolates proffered by (two) transvestite hookers in the back seat of a Shanghai taxi.
Shows what I know.
I meant to blog about this a month ago, but I just figured that somebody more clever/snarky than me would get to it, first [update: and they did: see comment #2, below, and here]. Didn’t happen, and I pretty much forgot about the whole matter until just a few days ago, when a helpful and trusty friend – one who knows how much joy I derived from the the Shanghai Daily story – forwarded the November issue of “Shanghai Consulate’s News for Americans” to me. The first four pages are rather staid US Consulate type news: H1N1 advisories, travel warnings, tips for consular visits, tax info. But then we get to page five, and this [click to enlarge]:
That’s right: “Four Arrested After Men Robbed in Honey Trap.” Or, in Shanghai Daily terms: two additional cases of transvestite doped chocolate sex heists. So what’s going on here? Let’s take a closer look.
- First, as I mentioned, we have an additional two – yes, two – instances of expatriate men accepting chocolates proffered by South Asian prostitutes in Shanghai. That means that expatriate men in Shanghai have accepted chocolates from prostitutes in Shanghai at least five times in the last calendar year (and does it really matter whether or not the chocolates were laced?). Those are the reported cases – reported in Shanghai Daily, at least. I have to think that there must be at least as many unreported cases. After all, it’s much easier to tell your wife that you left your wallet and credit cards in a taxi, than to admit to her that they were stolen after you passed out in the presence of two transvestite hookers. So, let’s say: maybe ten times more unreported cases.
- We have a gross mis-use of the term “honey trap” by someone – probably, several someones – at the US Consulate Shanghai. According to the Urban Dictionary and other lexicographic sources, a “honey trap” has nothing to do with prostitution, sedatives, or chocolate. Instead, it means this: “Where a woman pays another woman to flirt with her boyfriends to see if he flirts back, a way to check if her boyfriends is faithfull.” That noted, Shanghai Scrap is willing to let this consular mis-step go, if only because we really like it when bureaucrats try to act all cool and stuff. An ‘A’ for effort.
- Which brings us to our third point: Could we get a little appreciation for the poor soul at the US Consulate stuck with cleaning up after expat men ripped off by chocolate-wielding prostitutes? As noted, I don’t know the actual frequency of drug-laced chocolate sex heist type crimes against US citizens in Shanghai, but I bet it takes more than two or three incidents for a problem to get mentioned in “News for Americans.” Consider, for example, that the “honey trap” story ran above a story warning expats that Shanghai is cracking down on drunk driving. What’s the bigger problem? For safety’s sake, I hope it’s sedative-laced chocolates (wielded by prostitutes). But if anybody at the consulate would care to clarify, well, you know my number.