14 February, 2015

The Bro Code | ChinaFile

The Bro Code | ChinaFile: Guo (a pseudonym), a friend’s cousin, greeted me ebulliently this May when we met in a smoky restaurant in the outskirts of Beijing. He works as a salesman of industrial-sized air conditioners and purifiers, mostly to local governments at inflated prices. “You know until now,” he told me in enthusiastic English, “I want to do business, I take a guy [from the government] out, we have drinks, we go to somewhere good, we find girls, he thinks I’m cool guy, I know he’s a guy likes girls, we’re friends. Business!”

In part, the power of the experience comes from the mutual pleasure of shared transgression, the feeling of a shared secret. Like schoolboys’ playing hooky, being bad together moves a relationship along fast. As one saying that went rapidly around the Chinese Internet in 2011 put it, “It’s better to do one bad thing with your boss than a hundred good things for your boss.”