I was going to ask if you were going to make an entry on how chinese men propose, and maybe personal examples from you or others. Some thoughts ran around my head while I was listening to that cheesy but semi-adorable song by David Tao, Today you’re going to marry me (今天你要嫁给我). Although a lot of western guys come with a bunch of fun and neat ideas of proposing, there’s no lack of creativity from Chinese guys, shy as they may be.
Maybe I’m not the best person to write about creativity from Chinese guys in the proposal arena. John and I pretty much beat all of the mystery out of our impending marriage when I once brought up the subject of whether we would marry, at a little Greek restaurant in Shanghai. So much for surprises.
Still, John did surprise me almost a year later, when he called me in Taiwan (I was stationed there for a couple of months of work) with his Declaration of Love. I’m sure he’s going to lob some pickled garlic at me for posting some of this up here, but that’s okay — it’ll be all good after I buy him some barbequed ribs ;-). Here’s a little excerpt:
This is my declaration of love.
I want to tell the whole world that I love you!
You are the free love bird, following the call of your inner God, coming to me from far away.
You are the most precious gift that God had sent to me.
And I promise you I will accompany you to continue the journey.
We may have seen marriage miles ahead, but he still had a way of turning our impending engagement into something worth swooning over for hours (which I did after I hung up the phone. Sigh.).
But if this is the Olympics for best marriage proposal from a Chinese man, I’m not even close to being on that podium. And Tianjin Shannon reminded me why:
Tony showed up at my workplace somewhat dressed up (sure it was no Aladdin-style Arabic costume — thank goodness — but more of a rugged John Smith-type of look instead of the usual t-shirt and jeans).
We headed out to a fancy Thai restaurant (my favorite!) and dined in a private room. Tony still wouldn’t budge about giving away what I knew was to come but inside I could feel the excitement building. The next stop was the Renaissance Hotelâ€¦one of the nicest hotels in Tianjin. Okay, sure, it was no castle and I didn’t let him climb up my hair to get to the window but it was still a nice suite on the 40th floor. When I walked in the door the first thing I saw was a bouquet of 99 red roses. In Chinese language the word for 9 is “jiu”. This word also has another meaning, forever. So, 99 roses symbolizes “forever, forever.”
Ninety-nine roses! Wow! And John only bought me flowers once, a mixed bouquet for my birthday, years before we even talked marriage (I write this trying to shake off a slight sense of feeling jilted over my bouquet deprivation.)
Chinese men can spin verses of love, and even plan evenings with a big, red, floral climax — all in the name of marriage. So, there’s no doubt that the creativity can be there.
But I’m not the only foreign wife of a Chinese man, and neither is Shannon. So I wonder — what’s your marriage proposal story? Did your Chinese romeo whisk you away and woo you for life with words or actions?
Do you have a question about life, dating, marriage and family in China (or in Chinese culture)? Every Friday, I answer questions on my blog. Send me your question today.