Justifying Cross-Cultural Love By Hating On Others?

(photo by Sebastien Wiertz via Flickr.com)

The other day, I was reading an article on chinaSMACK about Men in China taking Vietnamese wives, and noticed one of the translated comments:

My wife is German, blonde hair blue eyed, but I think I’m very ordinary and it was just fate. Actually, I think Western women apart from being a bit more independent-minded, they’re [also] much more virtuous/chaste than Chinese women, are kind-hearted, aren’t vain, are frugal, emphasize love and family on a spiritual level, and these alone totally blow modern Chinese young women away. I’m currently constantly introducing German girlfriends to my brothers [fellow male friends], exhorting them to not seek Chinese women. Oh yeah, Western women don’t demand that you have a house.

While this comment was written by a Chinese man, it echoed the sentiments of certain white Western men I encountered online — men who also justified their decision to date/marry Chinese women (or other Asian women) in a somewhat similar way:

Chinese women on the other hand are beautiful, intelligent, happy, and just plain pleasant to be with. They don’t have the associated  emotional fluctuations Western women have and they are not demanding. They are serious about love and marriage and use common sense…. Single western women cannot compete with Chinese women and you can see it in their faces when you walk happily by with your Chinese girlfriend while they grimace and pretend to not notice.

(NOTE — that’s just one commenter in a thread that overwhelmingly criticizes Western women while commending the virtues of Chinese women. Read at your own risk.)

Honestly, I don’t get it. Continue reading “Justifying Cross-Cultural Love By Hating On Others?”

Highlights from study into mixed relationships/marriages with a Chinese partner

Small porcelain dolls showing a Chinese husband and wife in traditional red clothing
(photo from rickz Flickr)

Many of you might remember about a year ago, when I posted an ad: UK Chinese Studies Student Seeks Chinese/Non-Chinese Couples for Dissertation Survey. Some of you participated in her survey, including myself. Ultimately, she surveyed 33 couples in her research, 18 with a Chinese female partner and 15 with a Chinese male partner.

Laura Banks just successfully defended her dissertation a few weeks ago and sent me a copy. I’m excerpting the abstract and quoting some of her findings, which you can scroll down to read.

In addition, some of you who participated asked Laura for a copy of the dissertation. I’ll be glad to send a copy to anyone who e-mails me (jocelyn (at) speakingofchina.com), with the understanding that the dissertation is meant for your personal use only and not to be posted publicly online.

And now, onto the highlights… Continue reading “Highlights from study into mixed relationships/marriages with a Chinese partner”

Foreigners Who Think They’re Entitled To Date The Hottest Chinese?

If you couldn’t get a “Brad Pitt” to date you in your home country, why do you think you somehow deserve nothing less than his standard of men because you’re in China? (photo by Juanky Pamies Alcubilla via Flickr)

Recently, a reader wrote the following to me:

I remember when I was back in [city in China] I was with a large group of Westerners for our orientation and a lot of us got to talking about potentially starting relationships in China. There was one American girl, who was very pleasant but kind of heavyset and nothing special to look at, who said she wouldn’t settle for anything less than Jay Chou or a local Chinese rapper we knew who was modelesque stunning. Another man on our orientation, who is fifty years old though not bad looking, also said he would only go for girls between the ages of 25-30 who were “drop dead gorgeous.” Continue reading “Foreigners Who Think They’re Entitled To Date The Hottest Chinese?”

Ask the Yangxifu: On Wealth/Income for Chinese Men + Western Women Couples

(photo by 401kcalculator.org)

Do couples of Chinese men and Western women struggle with wealth or income? That’s the question a friend posed to me by e-mail.

In the past, I’ve written about obstacles that couples of Chinese men and Western women will face in employment and earning power:

Even with a favorable visa (for example, a permanent resident card), [Chinese men] will face discrimination in hiring for jobs [in English-speaking countries] if he doesn’t: 1) know how to “perform” in job interviews; 2) have a degree from your country (remember, news about China has primed them to be suspicious about China, including Chinese credentials), or; 3) speak good English. As Jessica explains, “my husband has no marketable skills—he’s a career musician—and speaks no English. Guess where we’ll be living for the foreseeable future?”

….If your Chinese husband is not very highly educated or highly paid, you’ll almost always earn more than your husband if you live in China because of the discrepancies between expat and local salaries. A lot of Chinese men cannot handle a foreign wife as the primary breadwinner. Even Jessica’s husband, who is pretty accepting, still has trouble with the reality: “My husband is extremely unconventional and doesn’t mind being a stay-at-home dad for now. But, even for him, it gets to be a bit of a bummer that I make in a month what he used to make in a year and that he can’t contribute meaningfully to our family income at this point.”

But do these obstacles necessarily translate into financial setbacks for the rest of your life?  Continue reading “Ask the Yangxifu: On Wealth/Income for Chinese Men + Western Women Couples”

“Spoils of a Chinese Marriage?” More Like, Spoiled a Chinese Marriage.

Screenshot of Global Times Op-Ed on "Enjoying the Spoils of a Chinese Marriage"
File this one under “things that make you go, ‘WTF?!?'”(screenshot from globaltimes.cn)

Enjoying the spoils of a Chinese marriage? With this Op-Ed in the Global Times, I think it should read as “Spoiled a Chinese marriage” instead.

The illustration said it all. There’s a white foreign man lounging emperor-like in a gigantic bowl of noodles, with a morning-after “I’m high on carbs” smirk on his face. Beside him is a Chinese woman who looks like every guy’s teenage wet dream, dressed in a qipao that leaves nothing to the imagination. She leans on the bowl and stares at him as if to say, “What else can I get you, honey? More noodles? Me?” Continue reading ““Spoils of a Chinese Marriage?” More Like, Spoiled a Chinese Marriage.”

UK Chinese Studies Student Seeks Chinese/Non-Chinese Couples for Dissertation Survey

Small porcelain dolls showing a Chinese husband and wife in traditional red clothing
(photo from rickz Flickr)

UPDATE: Participants are still needed until January 2013! Please read this message and contact bankslaura (at) hotmail.co.uk.

Want to help scholars with research into Chinese/non-Chinese interracial relationships — in just 30 minutes?

A UK student in Chinese studies is doing her dissertation on Chinese/non-Chinese interracial relationships, and she needs to find couples — both married and non-married — who are willing to complete a survey, which should take about 30 minutes. That includes Chinese men and non-Chinese women, as well as non-Chinese men and Chinese women. See the details below in this letter: Continue reading “UK Chinese Studies Student Seeks Chinese/Non-Chinese Couples for Dissertation Survey”

Ask the Yangxifu: Marriage Pressure From 5-Year Chinese Girlfriend

Close-up photo of an Asian girl with shoulder-length hair and a butterfly clip
(photo by Adia Novary)

Alex asks:

I’ve been going out with my Chinese girlfriend for the last five years, on and off, mostly on though. Yes, that’s a bit of time, but since the last couple years her mother, whom I have met for a two week stay in China before, has been insisting that we get married. I know part of it is that her mother is traditional, my girlfriend is their only child, I’m her first boyfriend (big one), and now she only has a few months left still to find a job here in the US, or she has to go back to China. As for me, I’m still looking for a job and housing, and I feel like I’m only 26 years old and not ready yet, especially under these circumstances.

I know she and her mom love me to death, but I know there is an undercurrent of me having to “help” or “do her a favor” so she doesn’t have to go back. Honestly, I’ll say, as an American I do feel like her mom is kind of using me, and furthermore my girlfriend has also put this in terms of “doing a favor for each other”, or “an “engagement”, meaning the marriage certificate. Then the plan would be whenever we get things set up we would go over to China to have a big wedding. Now this does sound really great but I am confused and I do feel like I’m kind of being pressured into this. I don’t want to have my girlfriend go back to China, but at the same time I hate to be the one who “holds the key” to us staying together, and to her future. Continue reading “Ask the Yangxifu: Marriage Pressure From 5-Year Chinese Girlfriend”

Ask the Yangxifu: Holiday Gift Roundup for Chinese Friends & Loved Ones

To make your holiday to-do list a little easier, I’m rounding up all of my gift-giving advice in one easy post. Includes ideas for your Chinese friends and family, as well as hosts and even business associates. (photo by Christy Thompson)

(UPDATED February 3, 2018)

“What gift should I give?” It’s the number one question in my mailbag — and chances are, with the holidays coming, the number one thing on the minds of many readers.

To make your holiday to-do list a little easier, I’m rounding up all of my gift-giving advice in one easy post.

7 Great Chinese New Year Gifts Sure to Impress Friends, Family and Coworkers. While the focus is Chinese New Year, this latest post is an excellent guide for great gifts you could give all year long.

Giving Gifts to Your Chinese Family – A Modest Guide remains one of the top 10 posts for this site. It’s not exactly my favorite post of the bunch — which I guess is bound to happen when it’s your first stab on the subject.

Still, I feel this one does help on several counts. It’s not bad as an overview, and it offers great ideas for anyone doing their holiday gift shopping in China. So there you go. Read it, but remember it’s not my last word on gifts.

4 Tips for Giving Gift Baskets in ChinaWhat should I give to my loved ones/family in China? I’ve received hundreds of e-mails from people around the world, asking me for advice on this. Over the years I’ve discovered there can be a very simple answer to this question – the fruit basket, or even a well-chosen gift-basket.

Gifts to Buy Abroad for Chinese Family and Relatives. This post isn’t just for people with Chinese spouses/significant others and/or extended family on their list. It could be helpful for almost anyone doing their holiday shopping outside of China. When in doubt, stick with the more general suggestions such as chocolate or coffee (or see my final advice below).

Birthday Gifts for Chinese Men. What? Birthdays? Okay, the title sticks out — but the content fits right in. We could even rename this post “Christmas/Holiday gifts for Chinese boyfriends, husbands and other special men in your life.” In addition, some of the suggestions — such as the business card cases, briefcases/messenger bags, and unique electronic devices — could be great gifts for Chinese men and women who happen to be your China business associates.

P.S.: If you’re shopping this holiday season on Amazon.com, you can actually support Speaking of China — at no additional cost to you — by making a purchase through one of my affiliate links. Thanks!


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.

Finding Friends With Married Chinese Women

A Chinese girl sitting next to a Western girl
A birthday dinner in August reminded me of the value of friendships with Chinese women. (photo by ophelia cherry)

In early August, my Chinese husband and I invited five of our closest Chinese friends to celebrate my birthday a week late. We met at a Thai restaurant in Hangzhou. And while I longed for the piquant curries, I never realized I longed for something else even more until that evening.We happened to discuss the wedding between Min and Lao Da, who just married at the end of May. I really wanted to know about what they did to plan their ceremony. I had asked Lao Da about this almost two months earlier, but he dismissed the subject by saying his wife handled most of this.

When I approached Min about the process, she started dressing down Lao Da before she even got to the topic of dresses.“He did almost nothing to help!” she moaned, her eyebrows furrowed behind her geek-chic black frames. “I kept on trying to get him involved, but he didn’t. He always told me not to worry, that it wasn’t a problem. But we had all of these details to take care of and it was hard not to worry!” Continue reading “Finding Friends With Married Chinese Women”

My Chinese Husband, Almost Switched at Birth

Some old dolls packed together
When my Chinese husband was born, the neighbors wanted to swap him for their baby daughter (photo by Onclebob)

When someone gives birth to a baby boy, you wouldn’t say “can we switch babies?” Unless, of course, you happened to be neighbors to my Chinese husband’s family.

As the third son in the family, John dashed his mother’s hopes of finally giving birth to a girl. Their neighbors had the opposite problem — they had just birthed another girl, the third in their family. So the neighbors came to John’s parents, with a different kind of indecent proposal.

The way my mother-in-law and father-in-law tell it, there was no question what they would do. “He’s our son, we could never give him away,” my mother-in-law declared emphatically at lunch one day, as my father-in-law nodded his head, adding how the neighbors “had a crazy idea.”

But what about the neighbors themselves? Continue reading “My Chinese Husband, Almost Switched at Birth”