Chinese Student in Germany Gives Dating Advice to Fellow Countrymen

I recently found this answer on Zhihu from a Chinese student in Germany, who offers dating advice to his fellow countrymen who are studying or living abroad, and translated it into English.
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It’s my first time to answer a question, so please be gentle with me.

I studied abroad in Germany — it was a small place and Europeans made up most of the population there. Also the international students came from different European countries. My roommate M was one of these super-beautiful Nordic girls. Recently she went out on a date with a Vietnamese guy (this fellow was not as tall as she was), and she and I had a deep conversation about this issue.

Your average ABC (American Born Chinese) studs don’t have this kind of trouble. So my answer is regarding those foreign students who left China after they became adults, and my examples are based on personal experiences among European students.

My response is, sorry, it’s really hard to date European or American girls.

Let’s first start by talking about the requirements for man to date these women:

  • To begin with, you have to pay attention to personal appearance and posture. First you need to be in good shape. That doesn’t mean you have to be tall — you have to have the features (women think) you should have, such as biceps, and you should not have the features (women think) you shouldn’t have, such as a beer belly. These are things that can be acquired through hard exercise. People still look at muscles. It’s not a problem if you’re not tall, but being healthy and strong are characteristics a guy must have. Europeans/Americans really do have many short (shorter than 165 cm) but beautiful, buxom girls. Their boyfriends are not all tall. Looks are even less of a problem. People don’t know much about Asian features. Again, I say personal appearance, this is something I really need to mention. What is up with the few Asian guys on campus, with their hair so greasy it reflected light and the shiny collars and cuffs on their jackets? I think these guys, from when they were young in China, just didn’t have this habit of washing their own clothes or tidying themselves up. After I came here, I went to a friend’s house for fun, the way German guys were so neat and orderly threw me several blocks behind even the standards of neatness of Chinese girls. Clean yourself up, and then buy a bottle of fresh-scented men’s cologne. Don’t feel emasculated by it, this is about showing respect to others and it also reflects the quality of your life.
  • Your language must be good, at a minimum you should be able to have small talk with Europeans/Americans without any pressure. It’s not a problem if you have an accent. But you must be able to freely joke around, make fun of yourself, and flirt with girls. Being humorous and funny is a very important standard. Who doesn’t like to make friends with someone who is interesting? Most of the Asian foreign students I know are not good at talking. Never mind European/American girls — even the Asian girls all think they’re dull. If you’re free just take a look at all the clever postings on Zhihu [a Q&A site in China] and learn from them. Humor requires intelligence, and it is something that reflects wisdom. It would be a plus if you have character, opinions, independent values, confidence, and can intelligently communicate with girls. This is easy. With China’s 5,000 years of history, you can just choose a few amusing anecdotes from history to talk about. And if you can tell a girl about some European/American history or anecdote even she doesn’t know about, great – you will immediately look even more impressive.

Meeting those requirements would enable you at least to ask a girl out. At least the girls in my dormitory would go out with you (Can you take me with you?). This is enough. If people aren’t interested, why would  they go walk the streets with you, right? Whether it develops into some kind of relationship, that’s a matter of destiny, right?

To conclude, in general the reason guys cannot get a date isn’t a matter of their Asian looks (there are some who think we look exotic), and it’s not about biology. It’s that Asian men who typically leave the country to go to school are studious. They don’t have these basic features mentioned above that attract foreign girls, and they don’t know how to improve themselves. Most of them only carry a backpack and immerse themselves in the library. To put it cruelly, these Asian men would have a hard time attracting Asian girls, let alone European/American girls. But, for some Asian men who meet the above requirements, what kind of girls  couldn’t they find in Asia? They can find light-skinned, gorgeous, buxom, long-legged, well-educated girls who share the same cultural background. These men are not going to look for a foreign girl who is more independent, can’t make Chinese food and probably cannot communicate with your parents. (Of course, dating [foreign girls] is still very cool!) So the buyer’s market and the seller’s market are seriously not matched, and this has always been a difficult thing!

At last, please search for Lorde’s boyfriend [James Lowe]. Ah, this is probably the best answer.

What do you think?

“I Awoke to Find a Girl Lying by My Side”: Chinese Men Open up About Dating Foreign Women on Vice.cn

“One evening, I drank heavily and the next morning I awoke to find a girl lying by my side. At the time I was incredibly embarrassed, and she was very shocked, because the night before she had also drank a lot. We couldn’t even remember who checked us into the room.”

This is the final installment of my English translation of a Chinese-language article on Vice.cn featuring interviews with four Chinese men who dated foreign women. Today’s interview is with a journalist and writer in Beijing who had many foreign girlfriends when he lived in southern Europe, including one he met the morning after a night of revelry under surprising circumstances.

If you missed the other three installments, have a look at “She Liked Having Threesomes”: Chinese Men Open up About Dating Foreign Women on Vice.cn, “The Moment Our Eyes Met, I Froze”: Chinese Men Open up About Dating Foreign Women on Vice.cn and “It Was Her First Time to Sleep With a Chinese Man”: Chinese Men Open up About Dating Foreign Women on Vice.cn.


28 years old, journalist/writer, living in Beijing

VICE: I heard you’ve had many foreign girlfriends.

I’ve had some. That’s because in my former media work, I would often get sent out of the country. So I would contact with many people, mainly in southern Europe. Spain, Portugal, Italy, Greece — I’ve lived for at least half a year or longer in all of them, and got to know many women.

Could you share some impressive stories?

Ha ha, there are quite many. The countries I went to are relatively laid-back. The economies are not that developed, but the flavor of life is very strong and the people are very warm. I remember the first time I went out with a foreigner was with a Portuguese girl. At that time I was really young, just 24 and it was my first time to live independently overseas. One evening, I drank heavily and the next morning I awoke to find a girl lying by my side. At the time I was incredibly embarrassed, and she was very shocked, because the night before she had also drank a lot. We couldn’t even remember who checked us into the room. Later we went downstairs to the reception desk to find someone to ask about this, and then went to a bar looking for friends to inquire about what happened the previous night. The whole process was really quite ridiculous, but also very romantic. That evening we were once again having dinner together, and then continued to reserve a hotel room. Everything just happened naturally.

Have you had a long-term relationship with any of them?

Yes, she was French. But I don’t really want to share this story, it’s a little painful and I haven’t yet gotten over it.

With so many foreign girlfriends, do you feel like you’ve brought honor to your country?

No. Because my work was often overseas, my circle of friends included people of all different nationalities. To me, the individual means more than the nation.

As a Chinese guy, it’s rare to date so many foreign girls, right?

Before, I had never really thought about it, because this kind of situation is really uncommon. But after the first time I did, I realized that even thinking about this was a way of underestimating myself. Even though Chinese men in the eyes of foreigners are mostly thought of as martial arts experts or bespectacled geeks, Westerners have a really narrow understanding of us. But when it comes to actual relationships, Western women are willing to get to know me well.

A view of Lisbon, Portugal, at sunset.

So Western stereotypes about Chinese men haven’t affected your relations with foreign women?

After I got to know that first Portuguese girl, they affected me less and less. The individual differences between women are really not that big. Every person’s needs are very similar, especially emotional ones. Everyone needs to be loved, cared for, acknowledged. But because of culture, these might manifest themselves in different ways. Individual differences are much greater than differences because of country, culture or race. Once I no longer paid attention to the sense of inferiority brought by these stereotypes, I was more confident and smooth in my encounters with foreign girls. It’s like a guy from Henan chasing a girl from Jiangsu – what stereotypes would he consider?

Are there a lot of Chinese men around you together with foreign women?

Very many, and it has always been their Chinese character that attracts the girls. One friend went to university in Argentina and he said, “Actually, foreigners have a much stronger curiosity about Easterners because we’re more mysterious, and who wouldn’t want to try something new?”So the point is that, for this person, at the appropriate time their particular traits are a plus.

Did these women gain any new impressions of Chinese men because of you?

Of course. When I was dating them, I would share some Chinese culture with them and prepare some Chinese dishes for them. Although some things are cultural differences brought about by history, having a new interpretation is always better than unilaterally listening to Western media.

But does it seem easier for Chinese girls to be together with foreigners?

Because in the eyes of foreigners, Asian men have a lower status than Asian women. The typical stereotype of Chinese, or say Asian men, among other countries is: high achievers at school, introverted. These are the qualities that we carry with us. Capitalist culture distorts this notion in books, movies and the media. So who would be willing go on a date with some guy who is not even a little cool?

But for women, although some were rather quietly intelligent when they were young, when they leave the country they can easily fit right in. On one hand it’s related to how women have a strong tolerance. On the other, it’s that Western culture is more accepting of Chinese women. And when you look closely at foreign men with Asian women, for the most part they are very close to each other’s cultural traits, and it’s hard to see Western men following the living habits of Eastern women. That’s because Western men, in today’s mainstream cognition, have an advantaged position in terms of skin color and gender, the symbolic meaning of the more “advanced” human existence. So naturally it will be easier for them to find people no matter where they are.

Do you have any advice for Chinese men who want to pursue foreign women?

You only need to remember this: you and her are both people.


This is the final installment of my English translation of a Chinese-language article on Vice.cn featuring interviews with four Chinese men who dated foreign women. If you missed the other three installments, have a look at “She Liked Having Threesomes”: Chinese Men Open up About Dating Foreign Women on Vice.cn, “The Moment Our Eyes Met, I Froze”: Chinese Men Open up About Dating Foreign Women on Vice.cn and “It Was Her First Time to Sleep With a Chinese Man”: Chinese Men Open up About Dating Foreign Women on Vice.cn.

“It Was Her First Time to Sleep With a Chinese Man”: Chinese Men Open up About Dating Foreign Women on Vice.cn

“Of course, the most tantalizing topic between men and women is sex. So she once asked me, ‘Do you want to try it with a foreign girl?’ Then somehow we went back to my dorm. It was her first time to sleep with a Chinese man.”

This is the third installment of my English translation of a Chinese-language article on Vice.cn featuring interviews with four Chinese men who dated foreign women. Today’s interview is with an ad professional in Shanghai who gets personal about his relationship with his white American girlfriend, including a few blushworthy details.

If you missed the first two installments, have a look at “She Liked Having Threesomes”: Chinese Men Open up About Dating Foreign Women on Vice.cn and “The Moment Our Eyes Met, I Froze”: Chinese Men Open up About Dating Foreign Women on Vice.cn. And stay tuned for the final post!


26 years old, advertising professional, living in Shanghai

VICE: How many foreign women have you dated?

Only one, who is my current girlfriend. She’s an American.

How did you two meet?

To talk about this makes me blush a little. We were at the same university in the US – she was studying ancient Chinese, and I was studying old English. We got together and became language partners. At first we would always study together. Once we became more familiar with one another we would talk about almost anything. Of course, the most tantalizing topic between men and women is sex. So she once asked me, “Do you want to try it with a foreign girl?” Then somehow we went back to my dorm. It was her first time to sleep with a Chinese man.

And afterwards you both decided to have a relationship?

Well, not exactly. Because of cultural differences, we were not accustomed to each other’s ways of living at first, and we went back and forth for a period of time before we settled things.

How does she understand your Chinese style of dating?

My girlfriend thinks that in Chinese or Asian culture, relations between men and women are either guided by patriarchy or strict management by wives, different from the gender equality and mutual respect that her culture values.

She often says that I am a typical Chinese guy. The more she says this, the more I want to shatter her stereotypes about Chinese men. Even though we have a good relationship and I’ve already changed some of her attitudes toward Chinese men, she will still inadvertently reveal that she doesn’t like Chinese men very much.

A view of the Pudong skyline in Shanghai, China.

Does this make you feel that there’s additional pressure in your relationship?

Yes, especially in relationships, as you will run into many more practical problems. If I was with a Chinese girl, if there were some living habits that I couldn’t accept I would just directly say so. For example, I really don’t like it when girlfriends are too close to their ex-boyfriends. But now I haven’t said it, because I have this pressure, which makes me consider whether or not to speak out. But in order to not let her think that Chinese men are petty, for now I won’t tell her.

Another burden brought about by ethnic pride?

Yeah, perhaps a little. There are times when I wonder, do I care too much about my Chinese identity and do I want to prove anything? And as a result I will not want to express my feelings. Perhaps it’s not really that necessary to abandon your feelings because of an ethnic burden.

Where do you think your sense of having an ethnic burden comes from?

I think this has something to do with the environment. The other Chinese men around me who have dated white women all seem to have a very similar situation. Perhaps from a young age we’ve all accepted this concept of the Chinese ethnicity, and how we have to bring honor to the country. We were always shouting slogans about how we shouldn’t make Chinese people lose face. Men in particular are especially this way, and in the end it becomes a habitual way of thinking.

Do you have a lot of friends around you who have dated foreigners?

Very few men have sought out foreign girls. But when I was at university in the US, there were quite a few Chinese women dating foreign men. Overseas, there are very few Asian men who pursue white women, and even Asian-Americans basically hang out with other Asians. Plus, Asian men are not as popular as white men in the eyes of foreigners. But women are different – there are always some women who can adapt well into Western life.

What is the biggest difference between dating foreign girls and dating Chinese girls?

The respect for personal space. Foreign girls are very independent and have this awareness of personal space. Even though she really loves you, that doesn’t mean she will do anything for you. This is something Chinese men are not aware of. Additionally, it’s a matter of destiny. Romantic relationships can’t be too deliberate.


This is the third installment of my English translation of a Chinese-language article on Vice.cn featuring interviews with four Chinese men who dated foreign women. If you missed the first two installments, have a look at “She Liked Having Threesomes”: Chinese Men Open up About Dating Foreign Women on Vice.cn and “The Moment Our Eyes Met, I Froze”: Chinese Men Open up About Dating Foreign Women on Vice.cn. And stay tuned for the final post!