Lesson 2: All kinds of cars!

Why are there so many “cars” and “drivers” in Chinese BL novels?

 In internet slang, someone who is really good at something or has lots of resources can be referred to as a 老司机 (lǎo sī jī) which translates into an “experienced driver”. To help you remember this word, picture an old cabby driver who knows the city like the back of his/her hand and also has all the gossip you’ll ever want to hear on a cab ride.

Two related terms would be 开车 (kāi chē) and 翻车 (fān chē). 开车 means to drive and 翻车 means to flip the car over. Pretty easy to guess at what they refer to, right? 开车 would refer to sharing resources (or doing whatever is that the person is good at) and 翻车 would refer to the resources being removed or the action resulting in unwanted results. These two terms are often seen on streaming sites or on Chinese fanfiction websites. In the former, especially if the person is an experienced gamer, it could refer to them basically carrying their team (especially if they’re playing with fans).  

When it comes to writing, however, the term has taken on the connotation of R-18 content. (chē) by itself means car, any type of car. In the context of any romance novel, 开车 would refer to making sexual innuendos/references/suggestions and 老司机 is someone who is good at flirting and/or *cough cough* bedroom action.

The faster or more luxurious the car is in question (baby pram vs. Lamborghini), the more suggestive/explicit the phrase is. And yes, baby prams are a type of in Chinese – they’ve got wheels, right?  If the characters are saying things like “你开车好快”  – “you drive really fast” –  and it’s clear they’re not actually in the car, there is a high probability that they are referencing to how flirty the other person is.  

Though sometimes, they really are just talking about a car.