top of page
  • Writer's pictureJennifer Strube

Red Shanghai

If you ever turn 32, do it in Shanghai.

If you thought there was any other option, you were wrong.

And when there, even if it’s St. Patrick’s Day, wear copious amounts of red.

Sit in the back of gold rimmed bar, sipping topaz cognac that complements

the neon underglow lights of the swanky hotel, and listen to Amy Tan 

tell you why your life really is a joy luck club.

As she wears cherry lipstick.  

Why such fascination with this scarlet shade?

It’s everywhere here and in order to blend in (not that I ever will), red is the color to embrace.  

If Shanghai were to hand-deliver me a message, it would be this: 

Get your crimson on.

But why Red, Dear China?

Is it because it’s the longest wavelength discernable by the human eye? 

Certainly your answer cannot be that rudimentary.

After all, most websites block Wikipedia where I just learned that tidbit.

Even so, you bring it out for celebrations, new year, and monetary gifts.

For you, it’s the charm of good luck. 

It breeds courage, brings honor, and aids in success.

That’s great, but what about my personal life?

Surely a whole country can’t be fascinated with a color because of courage.

 I mean, courage is cool, but bravery is over-rated in your 30’s.

Trust me.

I’d trade fortitude for chocolate any day of the week.

After all, cacao at least changes my hormonal balance.

Well, if you want to get metaphysical about it, red is the color of fire.

It’s alchemical, the raging furnace that can drive all evil away.

Again, fascinating. 

I’ve seen my fair share of evil for sure. 

I just don’t really want to be reminded about it

every time I throw on a maroon sash. 

Surely, there has to be

a bit more to ruby madness than

 “Get back ye all you boogie men.”

I mean, I want happiness, good luck, auspiciousness, loyalty, freedom from evil, and all the other blessings from the gluten-free fortune cookie that red will bring me.

But there must be something more.

(After all, I’m 32 and living with a cat named after a dictator. I told you I need a revamp.)

And then, I found the lingo I’d been longing for.

Listed on another non-descript Asian website was the meaning I knew existed: 

“Red is vibrance, beauty, and life. 

Red is the pulse of this nation, the blaze of passion, glory, and hope. 

Things may come and go, but red is here to stay, 

so drench yourself in fire on every occasion.”

Well, well. Now we’re talking. Not only is red now a color, it has a personal ad.

As it should, because red is the color of the matchmaking moon God.

According to Chinese legend, the fatherly God-in-the-moonlight is all about string. Long before a couple “ties the knot,” this saucy lunar lingerer picks an unsuspecting boy and girl to marry each other. Once chosen, he ties a red string around each of their ankles. They may not know it at the time, which, is a far stretch even for legends. I mean, if God showed up with a bracelet, ankle-cuffed me to a hot boy, and whispered “Be fruitful and multiply,” I think I’d notice.  

Nevertheless, once linked, no matter how far away from each other, 

these two will eventually get married.

And on that day, guess what color the bride wears?

Say it isn’t so.

So thank you China.

You have begun my revamp.

The theme of this year is embrace the red.

Which means I’m now on the hunt for the seven lucky tips that this Redland can teach me about LOVE. 

Embrace the blaze of passion, glory, and hope.

Let the fire begin.

2 views0 comments


bottom of page