Bee’s guide to dating

An Nguyen (who prefers being called Bee), is a student from Vu Trong Phung High School in Hanoi, Vietnam. She plans to publish her first self-help book by the end of 2017. Bee has been contributing to Tuoi Hoa magazine since 2006.

Even though I have never dated anyone before, I’ve heard a lot of dating stories from my friends and helped them solve so many relationship problems. So that’s enough to say my knowledge about dating is pretty thorough and most important of all, updated.

1st rule of dating: Pretty boys are assholes.

This philosophy has been achieved from comprehensive analysis of several relationships I know. It’s simple. Pretty boys are desired by many, so it’s easy for them to be 1) a player or 2) a cheater. Don’t be blinded by their physical attractiveness. Stay away from them.

2nd rule of dating: Pretty girls are still nice

Because girls are better than boys.

3rd rule of dating: Ugly boys are a waste of time

Not nice to look at. And usually not interesting either. If an ugly guy asks you out, don’t bother considering his personalities or whatever. Say no as fast as you can.

4th rule of dating: Ugly girls are…Nope, there’s no ugly girl. 

Girls are always so soft and clean and their curves are mother nature’s blessing. If you don’t find a girl beautiful the first time you meet her, you will the second time.

And if you have met her so many times but still find her unattractive. Try asking her a complicated problem-solving question. Chances are she’s super brainy and what else can top that?

12:20 am 15/9/2017 – Huong P.







Untitled love story (part 1)

Charlie ruthlessly grabs his coat, which has been loosely hung in his chair since yesterday morning, and rushes to the cafe. His feet felt frozen the moment he stepped out of his house, but he couldn’t care less. He loves the feeling of the New York winter even, often marveling at the way the cold sneak inside him, reminding him that he is, indeed, alive. Head held high, nose reddened by the cold, he looks almost like he’s running. He has to get to the cafe before Erin does.

Since when have he developed the habit of being the first person to arrive, he cannot remember. What he knows is that on every date with Erin, he always sit there, at the corner of their favorite coffee shop, looking out of the window and waiting for her.

Perhaps he likes seeing her walking into the cafe, light and elegant, her eyes always looking directly towards his corner, her lips turning into a smile the moment she sees him there.

It rains seconds after he gets on his seat. Suddenly, he is reminded of the time they first went for a walk together, two years ago. She told him that she would never get sick of him, ever.

What she said didn’t assure him. He didn’t like it when she stated it like a fact. One day she’ll stare at his face and says “Please, leave me alone”. That is a possibility with a much too high chance of happening, considering the current stage of their relationship.

She lives in LA most of the time now, and he’s still stuck with unfinished business in NY. Cafe dates like this are monthly, and never last for more than two hours. Their “loose contract” doesn’t help either. He agreed with her proposal that he would stay with his wife, and she would date someone else, and they would still love each other as long as they still meet each other. But now, he regretted it.

She could be in a relationship with some guy right now. What’s worse is that he has no right to be jealous, or angry, or disappointed because technically, they’re just friends. But of course, parts of him can resist the somewhat cruel hope that she’s single and just spending days and nights thinking about them together.

The two of them has been so close, yet they never really defined their relationship. They do everything good friends do with each other, and things beyond the common definition of friendship.

They say “I love you” to each other, but he never knows what she really means with the word “love”.

But he knows exactly what he means.

The first time they met, Charlie offered a shy Erin, a bit arrogantly, “I’ve been here for a while, I can show you around”.


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Reading poetry

Poetry is hard to understand, even for the people who are familiar with the poem’s original language. It requires a “feel” of the nuances of the language. And so, it is quite a challenge for a foreigner to fully grasp the meanings of an English poem.

I fear of the day when my frustration with my inabilities would kill my desire to understand English literature altogether. I know that it takes a while for pieces of a new concept to connect inside a human brain. But that assurance is losing its power over me while my impatience finds its way to creep in.

I wonder whether the cause to the frustration is my overestimation of my own English skills. Now that I’m able to read modern prose with ease, the inability to understand old English or the strange language of poetry is like a tap of cold water to my face, reminding me that I’m not that good of a foreign reader.

Fortunately it’s getting cooler in Hanoi these days, which means I’m finally gaining some more willpower due to the fine whether. Here’s hoping a new online course from UPenn can help me become an okay poetry reader, eventually.

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Enjoyed a menstruation day, surprisingly

No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t open my eyes this morning. My period had made me so uneasy last night and kept me awake until 2:30. I crawled out of bed and walked around the room, still half asleep, to look for some food. Nothing left from last night, and then I discovered that I also ran out of vegetables. There were about 15 eggs left. If only I could make a spell so two eggs would turn into two cucumbers right away. Sometimes I spend hours dreaming of a world where things like this would happen everyday. Maybe that world does exist, and that’s why many people, including me and J.K Rowling, have similar versions of it.

Anyway, I actually considered staying at home all day, but then I changed my mind. I’m all the way supportive of self-love. But the truth is that you just can’t have too many self-loves in a short period of time. My period lasts for 5-6 days every month and I feel uncomfortable on every single one of them. If I just stay at home and stick my eyeballs into my laptop, I would become a lazy useless deplorable starving person, the exact kind of person that I condemn.

So, on days like this, when my stomach didn’t hurt like hell fire, I decided to get my ass up and go to my academic writing class, then go to work. How good life is to me – on a day when my hormones prevent me from having any ideas about anything, my task in class was to write a summary (even though I still don’t understand why our teacher made us write rhetorical analysis before teaching us how to write a summary – we USE summary in rhetorical analysis for Buddha’s sake!)

Of course my students, who are really pretty and who care a great deal about how they look like, noticed that their teacher didn’t give a damn about her physical appearance today, entering her class with brown lips, moms’ jeans and eye bags. One commented on it, but I had no more energy to care. Despite the undeniable urge to lie down anywhere, I managed to introduce them a new skill today. Didn’t screw up the rest, thankfully.

Unsurprisingly, I also struggled to stand up from my seat, get out of the air-conditioned room and ride my bike back home. But I got energized after the ride, and happy too, maybe because of the belief that I looked pretty cool riding a green bike on the street while the wind was blowing and there were so few people. Yep! The key is that the street must have few people. Whenever there are traffic jam, I feel exhausted, ugly and barbaric.

But what’s more important is that I felt happy at last. I decided to continue the happiness by shopping for dried sea weeds and make myself some gimbabs.



The King of Cats – part 1

Since the day I was able to walk with my mother along the lakeside, and sneak among the twisted twins and twigs of the trees nearby, I have always wished to be the king of cats, to have anything whenever I want it. I feel a sensation all over my body whenever I imagine that other cats have to hail me as king, and follow my every order.

Little did I know about the misfortune that would happen to me. One day, I woke up without my mother by my side. I yelled until my throat burned but she never came back. I searched for her everywhere but in vain. At that moment, I swore to myself that I would do anything to be the king of cats, so that I could force my army to find my mother and punish her for what she had done to me.

How I survived until this day is a matter of mystery. I could write my story into an epic poem, but I would not, because my energy has to be saved for planning – planning is something not to live without if someone really wants to achieve something big, like I do.

For a week after my mother left me, I was starved. My mother had always found food somewhere and brought into our cave for me. The only times she let me out was when she wanted me to stroll with her along the lakeside. I had no food finding skill whatsoever. There was one time I found a tiny dead fish near the lake. It smelled familiar so I tried, and it kept my stomach still for about three grummms – three-eighth of a day!

Humans always tell one another, “Lady Luck favors ones who try”. I didn’t even try once, but I guess Destiny just does anything to make me the king of all cats. One day, when looking for another dead fish, I was lost and found myself inside a strange garden. I was too hungry at the moment to try finding a way out, so I just lay down and slept.

But I was awaken by a very strong smell of fish. I couldn’t believe my eyes. A bowl full of tiny fish and something incredibly white and fluffy was right in front of me. I shoved my mouth into the bowl without even thinking.

Barely had I finished the food when I saw a creature so big – something that I now know as “human”. I was not terrified at all, but I still reminded myself to be vigilant. However, that creature just watched me, and then walked away.

The hunger was over, and I was able to find a small hole that allowed me to squeeze through and get out. But I couldn’t help but coming back into that garden the next day, and many days after that. Each time, the creature brought me a bowl full of food similar to what my mother had always fed me.