A saleswoman at a shoe store in China broke a man’s finger after he called her meinu, which translates to “beauty” in English.
The victim, identified only by his surname Yang, was reportedly at the store on Sunday to return a pair of shoes he purchased a few days earlier to have them replaced.
On duty at the counter that day was a saleswoman surnamed Wang, Fuzhou Evening News reported via SCMP.
“Hi beauty, this pair of shoes is uncomfortable,” Yang reportedly said as he placed the shoes on the counter. “Please change a pair for me.”
Irked by the man’s words, Wang allegedly grabbed his right hand and yelled: “Why are you calling me ‘beauty’?”
As Wang squeezed his hand, Yang felt a pain in his pinkie finger. After breaking away from her grip, he called the police. He later explained that he only called Wang “beauty” out of courtesy.
Wang, who considers herself to be of average appearance, believed Yang did so because he was flirting with her.
It is worth noting that calling strangers meinu (“beauty”) and shuaige (“handsome boy”) have become more common in Chinese vernacular in recent years. Under normal circumstances, addressing people using such terms would not necessarily be considered “flirting.”
The use of xiaojie (“miss”) and xiansheng (“mister”) was more common in the past, but xiaojie has slowly become a subtle term for a sex worker and has gradually been replaced with meinu instead.
Both Yang and Wang were brought to the police station for questioning.
According to Wang, she was in a bad mood that day due to personal problems when Yang arrived and set her off by calling her meinu.
The authorities would summon both of them again on Wednesday to reprimand Wang for her causing physical harm to Yang, whose pinkie was fractured from the altercation.
Following negotiations, Wang agreed to pay Yang 3,000 yuan ($446) for his medical expenses.
When news of the incident emerged on social media, netizens expressed varying takes on the issue.
“I stopped using the word ‘beauty’ and use ‘fairy’ now instead,” a user on Weibo wrote.
“‘Beauty’ is merely just a name, and even though I don’t like it when others call me that, it’s absurd the way she behaved,” commented another.