“I Don’t Lend Out My Car or Wife” Is a Real Bumper Sticker in China

My husband always says that what’s popular in America will find its way to China, somehow. I see it all around me whenever we venture out. There’s a Wal-Mart across the street from us, a Starbucks Coffee at the closest mall, and lots of American car brands weaving through traffic. And when we’re at home, perusing the Chinese versions of Netflix, there’s a seemingly endless supply of Hollywood movies and TV shows.

So it was only a matter of time before rude bumper stickers made inroads into China.

Americans love their rude bumper stickers, and there are tons of them. Most say something rude about the driver behind them. Some insult groups of people according to ethnicity, gender, politics or sexual orientation. I’m convinced America gave birth to the idea of putting totally inappropriate phrases on your car’s bumper. And given that America elected Donald Trump as President, a man who spews rude comments every time he takes to Twitter, it’s not hard to believe this. So I expect this kind of rudeness displayed on someone’s bumper in America.

Wouldn’t you know it, rude bumper stickers are now making headways in China.

Like in the US, many of the bumper stickers I’ve seen are rude to the drivers behind them. But there’s one in particular that has caught my eye – one that’s actually rude to the driver’s wife:

老婆与车子不外借.(lǎopó yǔ chēzi bù wài jiè, I don’t lend out my car or wife).

There are different ways of writing it, including the following: 车与老婆,恕不外借/chē yǔ lǎopo,shù bù wài jiè; 老婆与车概不外借/lǎopo yǔ chē gài  bù wài jiè. But the meaning is still the same: I don’t lend out my car or wife.

What’s also interesting is that this bumper sticker usually comes with a sparsely drawn cartoon rabbit called Tuzki, usually leaning back in this cool, James Dean sort of way. As if to say, “Don’t f**k with my car.”

It’s meant to be a joke about the supposed lapse in judgment of letting friends borrow your wheels. A rude one, of course. And I have to say, this bumper sticker could go shoulder-to-shoulder with what I’ve seen in America. I’m not sure there’s anything more rude than comparing your wife to a car. Or even suggesting the idea of lending out a wife like a call girl.

I don’t know if the creators intended to one-up Americans on rudeness in a bumper sticker, but they just might have done it.

Have you ever seen this bumper sticker in China? What do you think of it?

Jocelyn Eikenburg
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