Newsletter Share this Article: Walk down any street or into any bar in China and you will see the oh-so familiar sight of foreign men with Chinese girls. Go on any internet forum and you will be able to access myriad conversations and threads extolling the trials and tribulations of Western men dating Chinese girls. But what if we flip it the other way round? Fe Ilya The sight of a western woman with a Chinese man is, although admittedly more and more commonplace, still a relative rarity, and the information and advice available to Western women who are seeking to date Chinese men is still comparatively scarce.
So scarce, in fact, that Jocelyn Eikenburg, an American who has been married to a Chinese man for several years, has written a successful blog , and even been interviewed by the BBC about this "phenomenon".
One of them could be the way in which Chinese men, all Asian men for that matter, are portrayed in Western culture. The emasculation of the Asian male is a well documented trope of Western cinema.
Asian men are either portrayed as celibate, pure, martial arts heroes or one dimensional token minorities. This undoubtedly has an effect on the way Western women view Chinese men.
Another reason is the relative conservatism of Chinese relationships; gender roles in Chinese relationships are so clearly defined that even lesbian couples frequently divide themselves in to masculine and feminine counterparts, T for tomboy , and P for princess. Whilst this also exists in the occidental world, deviation from this is much less common over in China. But all this aside, what are relationships actually like for Western women who take the plunge and date Chinese men?
In the West, dating is seen as something you can do casually at least in the beginning. Something that will only result in long term commitment or marriage if those feelings develop.
Comfort, reliability, getting on well with his parents and being family oriented will often take precedence over passion, common interests and sexual compatibility. Chinese men, especially those in their early twenties, may also be less sexually experienced than you, so you might want to take that into consideration before you pounce.
Differences in Communication When it comes to communication, sometimes less appears to be more in China. The Chinese are much less prone to expressing love directly , and confrontation generally avoided.
Chinese guys can sometimes be much less forthcoming with their feelings. When interrogating a friend of mine he had this to say: This can be confusing to Western women who may be used to more direct expressions of admiration. Several blogs by Western women who have come across this problem report that they had to eventually just ask directly whether the guy actually liked them or not.
One woman even had to ask her now-husband to kiss her when they were dating. Chinese guys are more likely to show their love in different ways, however - by taking care of you, for example. Many Western women have experienced confusion over Chinese guys carrying their bags for them, insisting on paying for everything and taking them shopping even if her income far outstrips his.
Texts and phone calls offering advice such as "wear more clothes" and "don't come home too late" are fairly routine. For the more independently minded woman, this could be construed as patronizing. To Sajiao or Not to Sajiao? Anyone who has been in China for more than a couple of weeks will have noticed that the gender dynamics of relationships are slightly different. Matching outfits abound, and for women, speaking in a whiny voice, stamping your feet, complaining and being incapable of carrying your own bag are seen as cute here as opposed to annoying or childish.
So where do Western women fit into this? An American girl I spoke to told me she essentially slipped into the role of a Chinese girlfriend and would sajiao at her boyfriend, originally as a joke. However, he responded well to it so she continued. But this backfired when she was genuinely angry with her man and wanted to have a serious talk about the relationship.
She would be told "bie bibi" stop nagging. Because she had feigned anger in the past in order to elicit a certain reaction from her boyfriend, any genuine issues she had were also interpreted as sajiao-ing. Not every Chinese man enjoys being sajiao-ed at however. Part of your appeal may be your independence and the different way you communicate with him. Family relationships in China are different to those in the West.
While families in the West obviously vary in terms of how traditional and conservative they are, when you get to a certain age, you and your parents are considered, if not equals, at least as a group of adults. In China the parent-child roles remain fairly rigid, and when you date a Chinese guy you will often need to fall into line. Be warned, your relationship with his mother can potentially make or break your pairing.
And when it came to breaking up with him, my friend ended up screening dozens of calls a day, not from her exe, from his mother. The concept of casual dating is still not very common in China. Fortunately, their ideas changed when they met me in person! Being part of a culture that puts huge importance on ritual, tradition and ceremony means you will be able to enjoy these traditions from a unique viewpoint, learn real Chinese cooking, and speak better Chinese.
The important thing to realise is that in a country of over 1 billion people, not everyone is going to be the same. The difficulties you may face because of these differences can be made up for in the many things you can learn from each other and the unique experiences you can have together. Stick to your principles, but be willing to make a few sacrifices - even if it means venturing out in public wearing couples' outfits.
Western women dating Chinese men dating Chinese men.