Priscilla didn’t ask me anything. But after reading her February 12 opinion piece in the Global Times, titled “Chinese men: pull your weight”, I thought she needed some answers — especially when it comes to finding a good Chinese man. So I decided to pre-empt my scheduled Q&A this week, to help Priscilla.
Here’s an excerpt, where she discusses her interest in dating Chinese men — but lack of suitors:
One girl in a circle of friends decides to give a Chinese guy a chance and is shocked to discover, he’s pretty cool. The others also start testing the waters: flirting with that cute Chinese guy in a uniform, dancing with the tall one at the club, maybe even venturing to have a fling or two. And once the blinkers are lifted, ladies, you’ll discover that you are actually surrounded by attractive men.
But I am writing this as an enlightened foreign lady with several foreign lady friends and I can’t think of a single one who is dating a Chinese guy.
….one reason I can personally attest to is a lack of effort by Chinese men.
She ends the piece by exhorting all would-be Chinese suitors to “man-up” — be a real guy, and get the courage to ask Western women out.
Priscilla, sure — in some cases, Chinese men could try harder (with a caveat*). But how many will read your article? And of those, how many will change? Change comes slow, and I don’t know how long you’re willing to wait.
Really, though, you shouldn’t have to wait. There are things you can do, today, to improve your chances.
Look for love — in the right places
Are you looking for love in all the wrong places? Here’s a quote from this 2006 China Daily article, titled Foreign women label Beijing a dating wasteland:
“Most Chinese guys are really shy,” Patterson said. “They work really long hours and don’t come out to bars and parties, which is where you usually meet people.”
I’m assuming you have a job in China. If not, get one — in a company that employs lots of young, single Chinese. Many Chinese meet their future spouses at work. I did.
Spend time at local universities with a large graduate student population — including twentysomething Chinese men who are single, and open to the possibility of a woman like you. One way to meet them is by attending or participating in low-cost or no-cost university events open to the public, from lectures to concerts (if you cannot read Chinese, have a Chinese friend help you find out what’s happening). Sometimes, universities, such as Beijing Normal University (BNU), have great evening social scenes — which means you can show up on an evening, and find the place filled with people. For example, BNU’s outdoor athletic facilities, built for the Asian Games, are like a magnet for young Chinese to run, play sports and even (as I witnessed one evening last summer) do Tibetan dancing.
And speaking of sports, why not join a local badminton or ping-pong club? A lot of Chinese men play, and the clubs function as a social scene to meet people.
But, really, if you speak Chinese, or are learning, you could meet great Chinese men almost anywhere. More and more foreign women — such as Jessica at the Local Dialect — have found love with a man who doesn’t speak much English. Jessica even knows a foreign woman who used a dictionary to help her woo a Chinese security guard.
Use the power of the people
As Chairman Mao once said, more people, more power (人多力量大). And if you tap into the power of the people, you could meet your Chinese man.
It’s simple — just ask your close Chinese friends to introduce you to someone. Chinese often act as matchmakers to their friends, and they take it seriously, because it means their reputation too. Then, have your friend invite this Chinese man to a group dinner — or other activity — with several friends. It’s a great way to get to know the new man, but it takes the pressure off if you’re not interested.
Understanding goes a long way in relationships — especially when it comes to China.
Your interest in China and Chinese culture — from studying Mandarin to learning the history — could make you even more attractive (unless you’re dating a really unconventional Chinese guy). Plus, it’s valuable as the relationship progresses. After all, if things get serious, you’ll probably be knee-deep in a lot of cultural conundrums that many Western women might not understand (the need to care for his parents, the necessity of having children to continue the family line, etc.).
Couples of Western women and Chinese men may be rare, but we’re out there. And we’d love to have you join us. Good luck!
Readers, what do you think? What else could Priscilla do to meet Chinese men? I’d love to hear from you!
* Even if the obstacles you mention aren’t there (no family pressure, not that traditional, not intimidated by your independence/socioeconomic status), language stops many Chinese men from making that move. Even if he finds you attractive or intriguing, he may worry his English isn’t good enough. Or, even worse, he may not speak English at all — or know that you speak Chinese (if that’s true).
** Remember, also — all Chinese men are not the same. Keep the cultural tendencies in mind, but meet every Chinese man as an individual. He might just be the exception (or simply exceptional, as my husband is. ).
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.