The other day I got in a taxi to discover that my driver was a pleasant middle-aged woman. Female taxi drivers are not exceedingly rare in Shanghai, but they’re not common, either. I was feeling gregarious, so I started chatting her up. (That’s one of the things I love about China barring language barriers or extreme psychological blocks, foreigners can talk to pretty much any Chinese person about anything, and that person will be happy to respond.)
First I asked her a linguistic question: “Can I call a female taxi driver Â∏àÂÇÖ?” (I was pretty sure I could, but I still get a very male feeling from the word, so I wanted to confirm.)
“Sure,” she said. “Why not?”
With that warm-up out of the way, I got right down to it: “As a woman taxi driver, what challanges or difficulties do you face on the job?” I imagined all kinds of responses getting ribbed (or mocked) by male taxi drivers, getting rejected by passengers who don’t want a woman driver, etc. It turns out my speculations were all a little silly, I guess.