From the Archives: The Basics on Dating Chinese Men, Our Perceptions, And Stereotypes

(image from angryasianman dot com)

Deadlines, long days, and not much sleep. That’s been my week, and that’s why I’ve decided to pull a few stories from the archives to share with you this Friday.

These posts all come from 2010, and are definitely worth a read. So if you’ve just started reading in the past two years, they might just be new to you.

What Western Women Think of Chinese Men. This translation of a Chinese news article covers a sociology survey done in Shanghai that sheds some light on the perception of Chinese men, in the eyes of Western women.

Stereotypes About Couples of Chinese Men-Western Women. Chinese men and Western women aren’t such a common couple — but that hasn’t stopped people from forming opinions about us. I cover some of the common stereotypes in this post.

Western Wives, Chinese Husbands. While this article actually ended up on another site, I still point to it as a sort of “everything you ever wanted to know about dating Chinese men, but were afraid to ask.”

13 Replies to “From the Archives: The Basics on Dating Chinese Men, Our Perceptions, And Stereotypes”

  1. Stereotypes and general images are not big issues. It might be a problem for a general population in China.
    The discussions about cultural expectations are more interesting. I don’t think you can realize how Chinese or American (western) you are unless in a long term relationship. Isn’t there a theory about taking four generations to be far removed from Chinese roots?
    For someone to reach maximum potential, I think he/she will resort to deep held culture values or practices. Personality and culture difference is not the same thing. Unless someone you are with have a good understanding of your culture, the relationship won’t survive too long, or you will end up having to give up your part of the deal, which is not in your best interests. No right or wrong in this sort of thing. Different expectations do have different results. Your own culture values will help to meet those expectations. The question is if you will need to give up more than you gain eventually. I would be interested to know what others might think.

  2. one of the worst stereotypes is the opposite of one that is in your articles, there it says that western women who date chinese arent hot enough to get a western man … well here I’ve heard the other way around, that a chinese dating a western girls is because he cannot get a chinese girl, the reasoning behind this statement was ” who would date a western woman of you can have a chinese one” and that came of several chinese men… not nice at all 🙁

    @askdsk I totally agree with your post, having issues in your relationship because of personality conflicts is one thing , but a completely different one is having issues because of different culture, in my opinion and experience is because both parts think they are right… for example(a simple one), all my life I’ve seen people kissing in public,for me thats right, thats normal,if someone thinks thats inappropriate or wrong I can understand that way of thinking,accept it and respect it but for me kissing in public will never be wrong so I will always have the desire of doing it, I will give up something I want for the sake of the relationship… the same thing for the other part, someone who has been told that kissing in public is wrong all his/her life will really think that kissing in public is wrong. here both are correct in their own way, but they will need to make a decision of who will give up ….
    In inter-cultural relationships is always about communication, understanding and agreements.

  3. Some those cultural norms are easy to overcome. I don’t care kissing in public as example. Some of the cultural traditions can be overlooked too if you don’t really be strict yourself (holidays, religion). It seems to me it gets easier when your partner is more educated because he or she is more likely to overlook differences on surfaces and find commonalities underneath. Naturally you will probably give up more when you are in a dominate culture of your partner. I think some of your life inspirations could be different. Chinese are often being put on defense regarding family duties. Western society values freedom and independence. This type of deeper level conflicts will come out in bigger decisions.
    Other than, this type of relationship is no different than most of other relationships.

    In China (Asia), marrying a foreign woman can earn you some faces. Naturally the ones that are more experienced in dating would become more “rational” when it comes to choose someone. If someone is considered to be attractive in one culture, he/she will likely have better luck in dating anywhere.

  4. yeah I said “simple” example …
    but again agree … the family topic in China vs Freedom and Independence indeed is a delicate matter and a reason of serious conflicts
    @askdsk r u in a intercultural relationship? u seem familiar with the topic

  5. @Pamela
    I was in such relationships.
    It is the bigger themes that dictate. Some areas in China, old Manchuria as an example, Confucius had never made a huge impact. Manchurian women never bound their feet, and many were in charge of the households. The local economy did not depended on agriculture (growing rice). I found many as headstrong and tall women there. These superficial cultural differences are not so relevant. The general outlook and life goals set you apart.
    I guess western society has been through different historical circumstances. People are more enlightened and free to be an individual. Interestingly, talking about many topics are easy to an European. They seem to get it so much easier where history and social classes well established. I think we are not as different as it seems after all.

  6. Frankly to say, I used to be Chinese student (a guy) in overseas, and my gf is an American (German Irish decent) now we are experiencing the difficulty of being long distance, due to I am working in China. She is part-time working and studying in sates… twice a year she would fly to me since, my visa to US has been refused once in last year, the reason is that US embassy staff didn’t think I was qualified to apply B1/B2 visa to make a business trip to Florida, since I just got the job for two month, by people’s suggestion I shouldn’t keep applying US visa anymore in 2 or 3 years, because it is more likely, I will be refused again.. Which make our relationship even harder, but she was tough and strong inside since we loved each other, every year she would make trip twice for me. Now she is going to fly to me during the Christmas time… I am happy for that. Here I want to address couple things about Chinesemales/westernfemales relationships from my own experiences:
    1. There is nothing to do with the differences between race, cultural background, or life style. All about its your both personalities whether or not fit for each others. for example, many younger boys who have better family supports and living conditions in China, choosing to study overseas, many of them originally want to experience the exotic non-Chinese style of everything, just like me, however there was a shield that we have to put down, which meant that we shall be more adopting our surrounding non-Chinese ways/ environments, get comfortable with it, eventually like it, for most of Chinese boys around 18-20s who were stucked at above situation, because they don’t know how to approach or appropriately react to the western people (including girls) whom are from local culture environments , its pretty hard to communicate or understanding each others, since we are outsiders and only child in our families, we like more comfortable way just like homes, people go our ways, plus there is always language barriers. To most non-Chinese locals, no one would like to take times and patients for just spending time with us, since more and more Chinese come to the world, Chinese takeover theories are portrayed as a threat in some countries, especially in North America, so environments can be little hostile. This set back most these students from China. That’s why they had to choose hangout with their own groups. But once it comes to natural ways about love and relationship, from east to west, besides those western Chinese born second or third generation of Chinese, who naturally has languages and cultural similarities , and those advantages than us (native mainlanders), I , myself, am pretty sure about Chinese man/western woman relationship is like many common relationships, goes in a natural way, because there was a chance for us to get to know each other, to get comfortable with, to become a friend, a good friend… then is the moment of a butterfly flying in your stomach, then goes into relationship. For many people who have too much dating experiences always complain, maybe you never truly spend time for your dating partners, to get know each other, its still stopping at first level, and never goes deep down.. so there was nothing about all those excuses you made, its all about whether you are sure the person you are dating, is the one you love and the one you are commitment for rest of your life. Rather than this, nothing means more, that’s maybe why many people who are seeking, AM/WF relationship, should realize that this type of interracial dating is not a blind dating, its not some J drama or K drama, also its not a fashion trend, because you like some of their foods, because all these reasons are superficial, couldn’t last any longer, the true reason behind all its nothing about this special one is from China or other country, its about whether you find someone who loves you and want to be with you in rest of your life, in Chinese words we say : 一个萝卜一个坑, which can directly translate into one carrot is from one ground of hole, sounds little weird but its pretty true.
    2. But cultural, customs, lifestyle, even the racial differences sometimes are matter for those small tiny pieces of your daily life.
    I saw the difficulty once I was being a student among many who studied overseas, meanwhile I also can see the difficulty about many foreign young people come to China, study, work or make living, its hard for them to find right approach for locals, here I don’t want to mention the topic about some of Chinese women trying hard to date whatever white men, since its quite out, although its still happening in Beijing here, I would say as long as there was true loves I would respect that, once it comes taking advantage of. Or used to each other for playing around, I have no comments about it. I am witnessing some awkward moments about some white women or girls have difficulty communicate with locals, they seem as the new version of old Asian stereotypes in North America, because they were quite lonely and left out, I saw many western younger women walked alone, sorrowful eyes with some desires.. meanwhile some western well dressed guys are surrounding many Chinese ladies/gentlemen, they seem got better treatment than western ladies. I guess maybe the same difficulty I talked about from point 1, those western ladies haven’t really adopt the local way, or totally accepting the life in China yet, they are still living their own safer cages. Apart from outside. I suggest they should step out making some local friends, not only improve their Chinese language, but also Borden their life cycle, there was an example, in Beijing there was another popular coffee brand from UK, besides star bucks, it called Costa coffee, one day I was sitting in to enjoy their free internet, I heard a girl’s talking from behind, from the way she is sounding, I can definitely tell she is an American, since most western girls in Beijing, either Russians or European, so its pretty surprising me, to heard such American sounding English, I turned back seeing she is talking to two white guys, she said, “you know, Asian cultures are pretty hard to get around with, so how was the life in Russia?” I don’t think two Russian guys are really understanding her well, they replied “ I am doing um… a ….an international business, trading limbers” then its awkward moment, because the conversation stopped, the girl was asking those guys to show her around… then they left. These cases I witness a lot, on the bus, walking down the street, mall, or subways, maybe many white girls coming to China without really clear goal or purposes, some of them trying to seek loves, and once they didn’t get comfortable with all difficulties, langue, cultural difference, people, and polluting airs, even some foods not clean, some poor Chinese migrant workers or farmers with bad smells, and bad manners like spitting, or smoking, even all those cars, buses, even cyclists are breaking the traffic rules all the time…. You just felt so much overwhelming and so much crazy or wacky moments, that keep reminding you are in Beijing the capital of China. A most crowded place in the world, you have to ask yourself did you get ready and did you make the right decision to come here? By all these difficulties, many of western girls choose to stick their own groups just like us in overseas…. Unless you break through.

  7. @cheng yong
    I enjoyed reading your story and think there is much truth to what you said. Having lived in both places, I can add living in China for an American is a lot harder in longer term. Westerners complain much more than Chinese in general. To complain is not always a bad trait either. You can call it cultural difference. To understand those differences will help nurture your relationship. When people observe what you’ve taken for granted with their own perspectives, you get many comments not pleasing to the ears. Cultural difference is too important to be ignored from my experiences. But I also think your life is a lot more rewarding from the conflicts at times. Good news is that your American girlfriend might not be too bothered with arguments.

  8. askdsk said

    “Some areas in China, old Manchuria as an example, Confucius had never made a huge impact. Manchurian women never bound their feet, and many were in charge of the households.”

    Confucius never advocated footbinding (hint: he died 1,500 years before it came into practice). No noted Confucian philosopher has ever advocated it. Please educate yourself.

  9. You just replied, genius…

    And what I said was completely true. You can’t respond in an intelligent way because you have been caught BSing.

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