Double Happiness: “Enter Zhao Ming…China’s Answer to Arnold Schwarzenegger”

Ming and Rosalie at their wedding in 2007 (Photo courtesy of Rosalie Zhao)

I love stories that challenge stereotypes about Chinese men. Well, you can’t get much better than this love story, where a white American woman goes to China and ends up falling for a guy she considers the Chinese version of Arnold Schwarzenegger. Thanks to Rosalie Zhao for sharing her amazing story, which just might inspire more Western women out there to give Chinese men a chance.

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Thanks to a relative’s cute Chinese neighbor, I went through a brief phase of yellow fever in high school. It came and went in the same fashion as most things (Josh Hartnett, Doc Martens) I pined after during my teenage years. I didn’t think my attraction to Asians would resurface, even as I packed my bags for my post-college teach in China stint. Just a week before I left, in February 2005, my cousin Nicky called it, “You’re gonna fall in love in China.” I couldn’t help but laugh.

Fast-forward a couple months later and you’d find me in China, sweating it out at the local gym. I’d never been much of a gym rat, but with a 12 hour per week teaching schedule, virtually no English-language television, and no home internet (remember—this was 2005 and I was in a small Chinese city) all that was left to do was hop on a treadmill.

Me exercising is no picture of grace and beauty, nor is it a time during which I enjoy critique or idle chit-chat. Enter Zhao Ming, seemingly China’s answer to Arnold Schwarzenegger. As I made my feeble attempts to use five pound free weights, Ming took it upon himself to criticize my form. While I understand now that Chinese people often offer unsolicited advice as a gesture of kindness, at the time I was thoroughly annoyed. Who did this meathead think he was? And he could hardly speak English!

Ming and Rosalie in June 2005 (Photo courtesy of Rosalie Zhao)

Though awkward, I was relieved by our failure to communicate. It meant Mr. Muscles would leave me alone. It wasn’t but a few days later, while I was on the treadmill jogging, thoroughly red-faced, that he made his second approach. I tried to politely ignore him, but as anyone living in China knows, you cannot politely ignore a Chinese person who really wants something. This guy was on a mission. In a tone that sounded a bit rehearsed, he asked, “Can I with you walk home?”

I decided it was best to stick with honesty. “Oh, sorry. I have to go home and take a shower,” I replied. His face was thrown into a state of utter confusion. He really didn’t understand English. Continuing my jog, I began to pantomime while yelling, “US, NO WALK. ME, GO HOME. SHOWER.” His face lit up; he understood. But a second later his expression collapsed, realizing I wasn’t willing to walk with him.

Over the course of the next two weeks we repeated the same song and dance—him asking to walk me home and me gesturing my refusals. It wasn’t until one night that he cornered me at the gym exit that I finally decided to give him a chance. What was the harm in letting him walk with me?

So we walked, with few words, just his bicycle and our foolish grins between us. He stopped and bought us each a yogurt, then carefully unwrapped the straw and stuck it in the drink, smiling at me widely. I felt my insides melt. When we reached my apartment I decided to run upstairs quickly to grab my Lonely Planet phrasebook. Somehow we fuddled through an hour’s worth of “conversation” before it started to rain lightly. We quickly ran into the building’s stairwell, laughing. Then he kissed me. In that moment I somehow knew that I could, in fact, find love in China. And here we are, eight years later, five years married, and still very much in love.

Rosalie with Ming and his family in December 2011 (Photo courtesy of Rosalie Zhao)

Ming later revealed to me that his approach at the gym exit was going to be his final attempt to ask me out. I’m so glad I didn’t turn him down. Looking back, I’m not sure why I found the thought of finding love in China so humorous and inconceivable. In a country of 1.3 billion people, the majority of them male, why did finding a boyfriend seem so implausible? My closed-mindedness and arrogance nearly cost me the love of my life. A cautionary tale? Maybe. But more importantly, just a reminder—anything is possible, even love for the single foreign female in China!

Rosalie Zhao resides with her husband in Hebei, China, where she writes a blog in Chinese and English called An American Woman in China.

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We’re looking for a few good stories from Chinese men and Western women in love — or out of love — to share on Fridays. Submit your original story or a published blog post today.

Fenshou: Dreams of a Romantic Fairy Tale Kiss

(photo by ♥ L i l a c ♥ via Flickr.com)

Longtime readers will recognize the name Sveta, who is one of the most active commenters on this site. She also blogs about her latest reads on her book review blog (where she reviews a variety of books , including titles featuring with Asian men and Western women in love).

She shared with me this story of how she met a young Chinese PhD student via myspace, which eventually led to one extraordinary kiss — and, later, a sudden end to their month-long courtship. Thank you for submitting your story, Sveta! Continue reading “Fenshou: Dreams of a Romantic Fairy Tale Kiss”

AMWF Books vs. AFWM Books: The “Good Reads” Question

(photo by Christine Tan)

A few months ago, Christine Tan — who writes the fabulous Shanghai Shiok — Facebooked me with this photo and a message:

Hey Jocelyn, quick look at my…bookshelf shows I have more explicitly WF/AM [White Female/Asian Male — also referred to as AMWF] books (yes, I include Anna and the King!) than the opposite, AF/WM [Asian Female/White Male]  (and yes, I include Amy Chua in that one). Wonder why I enjoy the former more even though I’m part of the latter. Maybe I just haven’t come across really good/insightful/not based on creepy stereotypes AF/WM writing. I mean, are there any AF/WM books you like and could recommend?

I chimed in with some suggestions of good AF/WM books, as did others, but her post lingered with me. Of course, there’s no “law” saying we MUST enjoy more those books that best reflect our own relationships and realities. Still, it was fascinating to me that Christine — who is in a AFWM marriage — still enjoyed more AMWF books over AFWM books.

And the thing is, I feel the same way. Continue reading “AMWF Books vs. AFWM Books: The “Good Reads” Question”

Why Aren’t We Talking More About The Rarity of AMWF?

(Screenshot from http://theyreallsobeautiful.com/)

Last month, commentator Eugene Tsui posed this fascinating question in a post on They’re All So Beautiful (the companion website to the documentary Seeking Asian Female):

I don’t see the question posed, of why there are so few Chinese men, with “white” women? This is left out?

What do the Chinese women have to say about that? And what do “white” men, who are married to Chinese women, have to say about that? I don’t hear their opinions about Chinese men with white women?

Of course, when he says “This is left out?” he’s referring to the fact that the documentary — and its companion website — don’t really address the disparity he mentions. But I think that could easily apply to most situations when people discuss yellow fever. Continue reading “Why Aren’t We Talking More About The Rarity of AMWF?”

Love or Fetish? On “Yellow Fever” and Creepy/Sketchy Attractions

In the past few weeks, I’ve discovered They’re All So Beautiful, an online forum about race and dating that’s features a five-part online series and is also a companion to the documentary Seeking Asian Female.

Yes, it’s a conversation in part about “yellow fever” — but one with more intelligence, one that seeks to transcend the usual boundaries and assumptions.

The site really got me thinking when I discovered Jeff Yang’s blog post. For those of you who don’t know him, he’s an Asian-American journalist for the Wall Street Journal — and one who has written some of my favorite articles exploring why you see so few Asian men with non-Asian women (such as this piece).

He points out that the white guys interviewed in Episode one of the online series seem to embody the worst possible stereotypes about white men who pursue Asian women: Continue reading “Love or Fetish? On “Yellow Fever” and Creepy/Sketchy Attractions”

Double Happiness: Setting Up His Chinese Nephew With American Women

(photo by Doug Wheller via Flickr.com)

In late 2011, Fred graciously shared his own inspiring story of how he fell in love with — and eventually married — a woman from Brazil. 

Then last year, he started filling me in via e-mail on a new and completely different story. He decided to try and set up his Hong Kong nephew, who was in his late 30s and still single, with some American women he knew. As Fred wrote below, “I thought with 100 percent certainty that any man would leap to his death to be able to date not just one or two but three ladies!”

The story developed over the summer and just recently he updated me on what finally happened. Will Fred’s nephew find love in another country, just as Fred did? Read on.

Fred refers to that hugely popular post on the rarity of couples of Chinese men and Western women. I was speaking primarily about the situation in China, so what I wrote doesn’t necessarily apply to Chinese men who were mainly raised overseas.

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I remembered how Jocelyn once wrote that many Chinese men hesitate to date Western women for a variety of reasons. Was this really true? I decided to find out on my own. Continue reading “Double Happiness: Setting Up His Chinese Nephew With American Women”

Asian Women “Too Tempting” To Husbands/Boyfriends? Please.

An Asian woman who looks unhappy or depressed
(photo by Sodanie Chea)

“I’m so glad he’s not going over to China anymore. It’s too tempting.”

My friend Susan Blumberg-Kason overhead this snippet of conversation one afternoon while attending a reading. The woman speaking was white, and referring to the fact that her white husband — who she followed to China — would no longer be working over there. It was in the context of a discussion about men who have affairs in China — with Chinese women, of course.

Guess what she meant by “tempting”?

Continue reading “Asian Women “Too Tempting” To Husbands/Boyfriends? Please.”

Ask the Yangxifu: Review of Exposing the Myth Behind Why Asian Men Can’t Date White Women

Chinese husband, Western wife, singing karaoke
My review of the CD "Exposing The Myth Behind Why Asian Men Can't Date White Women" (and the accompanying e-Book)

This week, I’m pre-empting the usual Q&A, to give you a review of the free audio dating CD, “Exposing the Myth Behind Why Asian Men Can’t Date Western Women,” and free e-book, “Enter the Pickup Artist Preview,” by JT Tran, the Asian Playboy.

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Over the past year, I’ve gotten a lot of e-mails from Chinese men, who are desperate to know one thing — how to date Western women.

And so I’ve answered, from advice on how to meet Western women in China or America, to how to approach Western women in China, to even dishing out my suggestions for a Chinese student pursuing a brunette here in the US.

But the truth is, as good as my answers are, there’s much more to getting in a relationship with a Western woman than being in the right place, and having the right approach. That’s because you can fail for so many other reasons — because you don’t have the confidence, or you lack personality, or you don’t know how to hold a conversation, or you have the wrong body language.

Fortunately, there’s an Asian brother out there who understands. JT Tran was once, as he puts it, a “textbook nerd” who studied engineering in college here in the US, and had absolutely no clue on how to get American women. He was even rejected by eHarmony for being “too analytical and cerebral.” That was the wake-up call that jumpstarted his own transformation into the guy now known as “the Asian Playboy” — the number one dating coach for Asian men.

Asian Playboy? Continue reading “Ask the Yangxifu: Review of Exposing the Myth Behind Why Asian Men Can’t Date White Women”