The Great Divide: Dating Differences of Chinese & Western Men
Most western girls in China have at some point met a Chinese guy who rattled her cage, got her heart racing, and made her question everything she thought she knew about her preferences and types.
Pre-China, 99.9% of my non-Chinese female friends never expected to find themselves entangled in a love affair with a Chinese man. But somewhere along the way, there have been dalliances and romances with the locals, and I'd be lying if I said that many of them ended happily ever after.
Having 3 failed relationships with Chinese men under my belt, I'm ready to return to the security I'll find in the big hairy arms of a western man.
But having only dated Chinese men (and one wretched Korean) over the past 5 years, I'm feeling quite out of touch.
As many of you ladies will know by now, dating Chinese men and dating western men require two very different game plans, strategies, and, let's say, styles. And here are just a few of them...
Phase 1: Getting to know you
The Western Man:
Good old Sherry Argov, the author of 'Why Men Love Bitches' wrote;
"If you start out dependent, it turns him off. But if it is something he can't have, it becomes more of a challenge for him to get it." Wise, wise words. And a principle that is sure to work on the man of your choice, so long as he is a western man that is. In case you hadn't noticed, western men are highly competitive, and value things much more when they feel they have 'earned' them. In western society, boys from a young age are encouraged to involve themselves in competitive sports, are praised for their triumphs over other boys, and taught that to get anything worth having, you have to work hard for it. So, Mr. Competitive will enjoy nothing more than a game of cat-and-mouse with you, so long as he knows a worthwhile prize awaits him at the end.
The Chinese Man
Chinese men, on the other hand, are somewhat peculiarly different. Although they too love competition, they are slightly less aggressive when it comes to getting what they want from a girl. Many of them seek a woman's reassurance, and have little concept of the term 'hard to get'. Act aloof around a Chinese man, and he'll rarely read into it and realize that you may be awaiting his pursuit. Many Chinese men will jump in with two feet from the words 'I like you', which some may consider romantic, but others may deem naïve. This does not mean that you should reciprocate. Once you have fallen for his romantic declaration of love, he will be eagerly awaiting your reply. If you tell him exactly what he wants to hear, he gets the confidence boost he was looking for, and you lose all your power. Take note from the Chinese girls; "treat 'em mean, and keep 'em keen". Before you know it, he'll be lugging around your pleather Chanel handbag and buying you matching t-shirts.
Phase 2: The Dating Game
The Western Man:
After meeting a guy you like who seems to like you too, the dating part can be the best part of the relationship. You get to dress up nice and delve into your date's psyche all in the comforting knowledge that you can walk away at the end of the night, unscathed and heart intact, and hopefully having bagged a free meal. Many ladies I spoke to would be willing to make a mutual decision with their date about where to go and what to do, but we all know that deep down we girlies want the guy to make the plans. Not because we're lazy and unimaginative, but because wherever he decides to take us says so much about how much he likes us. Allow me to elaborate;
Date scenario #1: Drinks = He wants to keep things casual.
Date scenario #2: Watching a football game = He doesn't care whether you're there or not.
Date scenario #3: A romantic dinner = He respects you, and wants more than a fling.
Date scenario #4: Shopping = You're his girlfriend.
Western men tend to have a decent insight into the unspoken 'rules' of dating. They know that we've watched Pretty Woman like a gazillion times, and although we may not be prostitutes, we still want to be taken to the opera and to sup champagne while we nibble strawberries. They really do bring out the flavour...
The Chinese Man:
A Chinese man's concept of romance is all or nothing. If he's not brandishing a bunch of roses, a ridiculously oversized teddy bear, while singing a version of 'More than Words', then its not considered to be remotely romantic. For some girls, this is can be like all their Valentines Days came at once, but for others, this is sheer overkill. Chinese men are courteous and respectful when it comes to making decisions, which means that it'll be left to you to decide where to go for your date, what to eat for your brunch, and what to buy for his mother's birthday. Control freaks will be in their element.
Phase 3. Getting 'Locked Down'
The Western Man
The old saying teaches us that the key to a man's heart is through his stomach. However, there's a spare key, and when it comes to a western man, that key is held by his best friends. If his friends don't like you, I'm afraid you don't stand much of a chance of creating anything stable or long term with this man. The western man wants to observe how you fit into his life. He values the opinions of his friends, and wants to find out whether they think you're awesome too. Ultimately, what he is looking for is a girlfriend who will not only be his soul mate, but also his best ever friend.
The Chinese Man
For a Chinese man, his best friends are his parents. And his number one best friend is most likely his mother. What a Chinese man is looking for is a woman who will be able to fill the shoes of his dearest mummykins. And trust me, even for a tiny Chinese woman, these shoes are huge. Take note of how his mother calls him 15 times a day to ask him the oddest of questions, such as "have you eaten?", or "did you take an umbrella with you today?" To the ignorant eyes of a westerner, this may appear borderline psycho, or extreme coddling for a fully grown man. But take note, my friends, this shows how much she cares. And if you want to be his girlfriend, you also have to show you care. Appearing similar to his mother in any of the following ways; checking up on him; telling him to drink some warm water; asking him to check in with you, or being overly doting, may leave you feeling sick to your stomach, but it will surely cement your place as the girlfriend in his life.
Warning: Using any of the recommended techniques on the wrong group may seriously limit your chances of success.