Matchmaker, Informal Matchmaker

Double Happiness Matches
if my experience means anything, many Chinese still turn to someone to play matchmaker -- even if that someone is just your coworker. (photo by DHSAM from

Last summer, I attended the Hangzhou wedding of my good friend Lao Da at the end of May. But it wasn’t until two weeks later — when we met over Dragonwell tea and snacks at a local teahouse — that I learned exactly how he met his new wife.

“We met through a colleague. He happened to be going out to dinner with a group of women who worked at the bank across the street from our office and didn’t want to go alone. So he asked me to come with him.”

“So, it was love at first sight?”

He shook his head. “No. I didn’t actually contact her until a few weeks later.”

“You didn’t have any special feeling for her then?”

“I had some. But later, my colleague said she had mentioned me, and he wondered if maybe we should date. You know me, I am not so outgoing. So I said I would meet her.”

Of course, Lao Da’s how-we-met story remained uniquely his — just like his geek-chic glasses, ocean-blue Chuck Taylors and funky stonewashed jeans. But I couldn’t help but notice that their story came down to the actions of one person: his colleague. Continue reading “Matchmaker, Informal Matchmaker”

Ask the Yangxifu: Showing Chinese Men You’re “Not Interested”

A woman holds her hand up, as if to say "no thanks"
How do you show a Chinese man you're just not that into him? Jocelyn offers some ideas to show, not tell, that you're nothing more than friends.

No Chance asks:

There’s a Chinese guy at my work who I’ve hung out with, but I never considered us more than just friends.  I was about 60% sure that he liked me, but for various reasons I had my doubts.

One night, a seemingly casual dinner ended up being (apparently) a date.  After reading some of this site, I realize that apparently I’ve been pretty ignorant of Chinese culture and how he probably has seen all of this as dating.  (I’m an American woman.)  He did later confess his feelings for me, and told him that I wasn’t interested in anything more than friendship.  I’ve been pretty upfront with him about how I feel, and he claims that he doesn’t feel led on, but I think he thinks that I’m suppressing feelings for him.  Because I still have a lot of respect for him, I want to be sensitive to his confession, but how do I show him that there really is no chance?  I feel like he is not listening to me or doesn’t believe me. Continue reading “Ask the Yangxifu: Showing Chinese Men You’re “Not Interested””

Chapter 2: My Chinese Matchmaker, Caroline

Caroline’s mother doesn’t believe me when I say I’m full. She is a typical Chinese hostess, deciding that I am being polite, even as I’m being truthful every time I tell her chibaole — I’ve eaten enough. “Eat, eat, eat” is her mantra as we sit around the dinner table at this home in Yiwu, feasting on eggplant, fried pumpkin, and — for Caroline and John — chicken feet and shrimp.

I think Caroline takes after her mother, because she doesn’t believe me either — about love, that is. You need to be careful who you date. Continue reading “Chapter 2: My Chinese Matchmaker, Caroline”