[This is an excerpt from a series of e-mails from a Chinese man. He met a British woman, who he ended up having dinner with, and later spending an afternoon with her and her friends.]
For a while, I have gone crazy with western girls [in the past]. It’s like I blindly go after any western girls that are pretty, and forget what a relationship is really meant to be. So I calm down and thought for a while. Actually I don’t know this girl Tracy enough yet, so going too fast might actually hurt our future possibility, unless I just want something like fast sex or what. I think I have watched too much US drama [or got that impression from the bars and clubs]…
I found out that I just have a better understanding about Tracy, and I now know that she’s the kind of person who doesn’t like things go too fast. (For example, she mentioned to me that she met a girl yesterday the first time, and then the girl kept asking her to hangout to this place, that place, and then Tracy said she doesn’t like that, as it’s the first time, she doesn’t even know her yet, so she doesn’t feel comfortable, she said she prefers to take some time and get to know the person) When I heard that, I thought, Äre you telling me as well? :)….
I am a bit worried that I will fall into the friend zone, is there any particular precautions you would like to give me?
Too many US dramas? Perhaps. 😉
But first of all, let’s get one thing clear. Despite how much you’ve seen, say, Sex and the City’s Samantha in the sack with a different guy, or wondered over how fast women get in bed in Hollywood movies — Western women are NOT all sluts.
In fact, a 2008 study, titled ‘‘Can Women Have Sex Like a Man?’’: Sexual Scripts in Sex and the City, couldn’t explain it any better:
Just how realistic is [Sex and the City]? Tables 2 and 3 show selected data from an extensive survey of sexual practices in the United States (Laumann et al. 2000). Table 2 shows the average number of sexual partners men and women have had since the age of 18. Less than 10% of American women have had over ten partners. However, in one episode (‘‘Are We Sluts?’’ 3:6) Miranda’s list of lifetime sexual partners amounts to 42. In each season, Carrie, Miranda, Charlotte, and Samantha each have more than five sexual partners, a feat allegedly matched by only 2.5% of women and 7.5% of men as shown in Table 3. The researchers also found that only 3.4% of women the same age as the characters found using a vibrator very appealing, 0.8% found watching others have sex very appealing, and 0.7% found having sex with a stranger very appealing (Laumann et al. 2000). Clearly the characters of Sex and the City are having a lot more sex than these researchers’ respondents.
Movies and TV aren’t called “entertainment” for nothing — and when you entertain, you go for drama, not necessarily realism. Which means, despite what you’ve seen on the screen, chances are, we’re not going to be sleeping with — or even calling “boyfriend” — a guy we’ve just met.
The reality is, the majority of Western women are just looking for that ONE guy we can settle down with. A soulmate. That best friend we can fall in love with. Or, to borrow from Jerry Maguire, someone to whom we can say “you complete me.” And that takes time — as in, getting to know someone as a friend first, and then upgrading to “dating” that person. But sorry, that usually doesn’t happen in one date, or even one week.
After all, it took me almost a month of getting to know my now Chinese husband before we finally crossed over into that dating phase. During that time, yes, he was just a friend. But at some point, I started imagining the possibility of us as a couple — and gradually, we built up to that in our relationship. We learned more about each other and became more comfortable together, which helped us take the next step.
Now, the question you asked is, will you be stuck in the friend zone? I can’t say with certainty, because it ultimately depends on whether she really likes you, and whether you have chemistry. But you can improve your chances.
First, always have personality, as I mentioned above.
Second, try testing the waters by flirting with her — which is also a way to let her know you’re not some asexual Chinese guy, and see if there’s chemistry (I’ll never forget the way my Chinese husband once eyed me in the hallway when I was on the phone — it was a flirtatious/longing look, and that pretty much clinched my suspicions that he had feelings for me.) Here’s a great article explaining the difference between flirting with Asian women versus Western women.
Remember, you may never get out of the “friend zone” with this girl if she decides you’re not the one for her. Maybe she’s looking for a guy with a different personality, or different interests. Maybe the chemistry just isn’t there. And that’s okay — it doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with you. After all, I passed up more than a few really nice guys in my life, just because the connection wasn’t strong enough.
But whatever happens, you can always chalk it up to experience, and be that much more prepared, next time you meet a Western woman in your neighborhood…
Who, I’ll bet, isn’t a slut either. 😉
UPDATE: Made a few edits to the letter up top, to help better conceal the letter writer’s identity and clarify a few things.
Do you have a question about life, dating, marriage and family in China/Chinese culture (or Western culture)? Every Friday, I answer questions on my blog. Send me your question today.