Fenshou: When Mary Met Yao | Speaking of China

29 Responses

  1. Bruce
    Bruce May 24, 2013 at 8:42 am | | Reply

    I’m back again finally after a long while. You know once a Chinese man leaves usually he won’t come back.

  2. askdsk
    askdsk May 24, 2013 at 9:06 am | | Reply

    There are certainly different expectations from the relationship. But I feel Mary seems to be more mature in handling the whole thing. I don’t think the guy’s behavior is common either. Hope it is good news. I think a lot of guys don’t keep in touch with their ex because their partners have issues with it. This guy certainly did not understand you were not ready to settle down. Too bad he can’t accept it and give the relationship or friendship more time.

    Why are there so many people talking about themselves having social anxiety?

  3. Bruce
    Bruce May 24, 2013 at 9:34 am | | Reply

    Chinese men take rejection differently from western men. Depending on my mood, I didn’t take rejection that great either. Giving me another chance wouldn’t heal the rejection no matter how beautiful that woman was so we moved on .

  4. David
    David May 24, 2013 at 10:52 am | | Reply


    For many Asians it is not the pain…but loss of face. Whites are put on a pedestal…and people talk tha he went for a white woman and got figuratively punched on the nose.

  5. Naomi
    Naomi May 24, 2013 at 11:44 am | | Reply

    It sounds like Yao may have been much more serious about the relationship than Mary realized. From what she describes, it seems like he arranged the dinner for her to meet his friends as his official (serious) girlfriend, but then she declined, making him lose face.

    Also, I know so many friends, students, and coworkers here in Beijing who have been in long-distance relationships for years, with the intentions of eventually marrying when “the time is right.” I’m guessing Yao thought they were moving on this track (since they had been spending a lot of time together for a long time) and felt extremely hurt that Mary wanted to end things because of the distance.

  6. Someone
    Someone May 24, 2013 at 1:05 pm | | Reply

    I don’t see when they started being in a relationship. The author keeps talking about them hanging out as friends a couple times of a month, and even rejecting him when he advanced on her.

    And to echo the previous commentator, interesting how it’s been two stories in a row here now of socially anxious people.

  7. Blossom
    Blossom May 24, 2013 at 6:26 pm | | Reply

    Wow, that is a heartbreaking story. I hope Mary can find someone soon, and overcome the social anxiety. Social anxiety ruins a lot of great opportunities to meet wonderful people. She missed out on meeting all of his friends!!! 🙁 … Life is too short for regrets. Stand confidently and move forward.

  8. Sveta
    Sveta May 24, 2013 at 9:55 pm | | Reply

    Good luck with life Mary

  9. Bruce
    Bruce May 25, 2013 at 7:07 am | | Reply

    At least, he has 20 + friends. I don’t even have 20 friends. There are two types of rejections. Type #1 won’t hurt your heart that much like when you walk toward a woman and ask her out then she rejects you. Type #2 is the example of above story. You get to know a person gradually and you know her inside out then she rejects you. You can go into depression with this situation. I think this guy had good intention for a relationship. I also think that both man and woman should learn something from this.

  10. David
    David May 25, 2013 at 9:53 am | | Reply

    In a well to do East Asian country three years ago, a young woman from Tennessee was set up with a local Asian guy, a heir to a million dollar fortune. They did not tell her that he is Asian. At a ritzy revolving restaurant atop a tall building housing a hotel, she created a scence and fled when she saw that the guy was not a white expat as she had expected but a local Chinese. She basically got off and fled like she was being chased by a ghost….she was as pale as a ghost with that anxious terrified look on her face. The guy lost face in front of a lot of people. People started saying that he was thinking his wealth would buy him a white female. Needless to say, the woman lost her job the next day because the government wanted to send her home…and they sent her home back to Tennessee. She lost a job but probably gained a lot back home among the bigots in eastern Tennessee. But, he lost something big..his face and he has not dated since..or despite his wealth cannot get a reasonable date even among the Asian women. Now that is loosing face!

  11. Mike
    Mike May 25, 2013 at 3:19 pm | | Reply

    Do you have a link to that story about the Tennessee woman?

  12. David
    David May 25, 2013 at 9:08 pm | | Reply

    No. I actually saw it.

  13. forest
    forest May 26, 2013 at 10:22 pm | | Reply

    @Mary – It sounds so familiar … bad timing, subtle dialog, mixed signals, and burning pains. I guess we all have to learn through life experience. The hope is not to repeat the same mistake.

    @David – Did not know losing face has such a profound impact.

  14. Allen
    Allen May 27, 2013 at 4:56 am | | Reply


    I’m assuming the guy is Chinese? Unfortunately people with racist attitudes seek to embarass or humiliate their victim. So having the cultural concept of “face/losing face” makes one extremely vulnerable.

    Its very liberating for me not to be burdened by that concept, since people like “Ms. Tennesee” (not necessarily dating situations) are quite plentiful where I’m based.

  15. Allen
    Allen May 27, 2013 at 4:58 am | | Reply

    ^Oops! You did mention he’s local Chinese. Pardon me.

  16. Blossom
    Blossom May 27, 2013 at 6:36 am | | Reply

    @ David and @ Allen: what you describe deeply disturbs me. As a western female I cannot begin to comprehend the mindset of such a woman, whether dating or otherwise. Sorry you have to be so thick skinned Allen! :/

  17. Allen
    Allen May 27, 2013 at 7:11 am | | Reply

    ^Not necessarily female. Please don’t feel bad. 🙂

    My worst experiences were as a youth. Nowadays, most of the time, I simply just have a good laugh about it.

    I do think Chinese who move to the West, or at least here in the U.S., probably need to ditch the fear of “losing face”, and when necessary, be confrontational. “Harmony” is overrated if you’re the one being mistreated.

    At least that’s how I see it.

    Regarding this post entry,

  18. Allen
    Allen May 27, 2013 at 7:20 am | | Reply

    ^I was about to say, seems cultural differences made it a much bigger situation than it needed to be. If I was “rejected” that way, I would have remained friends with the girl, no problems.

  19. David
    David May 27, 2013 at 10:57 am | | Reply

    I suggest read the latest post by Jocelyn. Plenty of people like that in this country even those who profess liberalism and voted for Obama. Have any of you ever been to the South side of Boston. They were complaining about Rep Kennedy marrying someone of Ulster descent. So, I asked them whether they are going to vote for Romney…they were ready to kill me….they may all be bigoted, but they voted for Obama..Southies went for Obama 95%!

  20. David
    David May 27, 2013 at 11:04 am | | Reply

    @Blossom…plenty of expats with that racist (if you want to call that, some people will call it preference) mindset. Actually, an international organization is measuring the level of bigotry in each country. Many South Asians used to think that the Indian Brahmins were most bigoted..however, when you adjust for per capita income, white South African women used to be the most bigoted…you can guess now who is the most bigoted.

  21. David
    David May 27, 2013 at 11:07 am | | Reply

    I am in my mid 50s now. Used to happen all the time when I was at a famous midwestern university back in the 1980s. I think racism there peaked in 1984-85..after that the Japanese began to invest heavily in the area and became the number 2 employer after the University and the rest is history! I dont find the same kind of racism I found when visit these days.

  22. Blossom
    Blossom May 27, 2013 at 3:41 pm | | Reply

    @ Allen: ““Harmony” is overrated if you’re the one being mistreated.”…. How true!!!!
    @ David: Do you happen to know the name of the organisation attempting to measure levels of bigotry?

  23. David
    David May 27, 2013 at 8:37 pm | | Reply

    The International Bank for Reconstruction and Develoment better known to the world as the World Bank.

  24. David
    David May 27, 2013 at 8:41 pm | | Reply

    @Allen..dont know whether rejection can be construed as mistreatment. However, if it is done solely due to race, it is racism.

  25. Blossom
    Blossom May 28, 2013 at 2:29 am | | Reply

    Thanks David!

  26. SBC
    SBC May 28, 2013 at 11:46 am | | Reply

    Thanks for sharing your story. It takes a lot of courage to talk about relationships that dont go down as you hoped.

    Regarding the loss of face, I still struggle with this concept. Maybe because I come from a country that has a similar concept and people care more about appearances. But it seems to me that “loss of face” is overrated and over debated. Yes its scary loosing face and awesome gaining face. But most independent thinkers (no matter what culture) will understand that people judge no matter what, and you just have to be yourself. Also, while face itself isnt present in the US, my experience there is that most individuals indulge in ridiculous amounts of impression management.

    So really, you just change some rules but at the end of the day its individuals faking all sorts of stuff to get some sort of social capital/ benefit. Then there isnt a big reason to judge an american who engages in this sort of impression management and a chinese who engages in “face saving” tactics any differently.

    If he was more worried about loosing face than his other half’s comfort then I wonder about the future of the relationship.

  27. askdsk
    askdsk May 28, 2013 at 1:29 pm | | Reply

    About the face thing, I want to point out it serves self interests. You save your own face or someone else’ to return for your own face. As a cultural phenomenon, it is tiring and counter productive.
    If you travel to some Nordic countries (Germany or Netherlands), you’ll learn how a culture operating on the opposite. Then you have this problem of being too honest.
    It is about tolerance. If you or your partner has trouble to compromise, the relationship is in trouble.

  28. David
    David June 8, 2013 at 3:07 am | | Reply

    I am visiting South East Asia now. The young man three years after his encounter with Ms. Tennessee has not recovered yet. People still talk…they say that he went for a white woman and fell flat on his face and broke his nose.

  29. Allen
    Allen June 10, 2013 at 12:11 am | | Reply

    ^Do you know the guy personally?

    As far as I’m concerned the people gossiping/talking behind his back have more to be ashamed about than the poor sap himself.

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