Hello, and welcome to another article about Chinese girls. This one is specifically about what it’s like dating Chinese girls, which I touched on in part 1.
Today, I will go into more depth about Chinese dating, including the challenges you may face in a relationship with a Chinese girl, and the qualities that Chinese girls like in blokes.
So, what are you waiting for? Let’s get cracking!
Face saving in China
Eating humble pie is a big thing in China.
The core idea behind ‘saving face’ is to maintain the integrity and reputation of both yourself and the person you’re communicating with.
Time for an anecdote: When I first arrived in China, I met a guy who worked in banking. Long story short, I realized why nobody likes politicians, real-estate agents or bankers, because he was a total (insert profanity of choice here).
Anyway, he had promised to introduce me to parts of the city, and to some astounding babes.
One evening, I called to arrange a night out, and he replied “I’m sick.” Later that evening however, he posted images of himself out at a nightclub. Apparently, he wasn’t that ill.
But, saying he was sick did three things:
- It saved him having to reveal he A) had other plans and/or B) did not want to see me, protecting himself from offering up bad news.
- It garnered understanding from me, nullifying any potential arguments that might come from him honestly saying ‘nah!’
- And it kept the possibility open to go out again in the future, leaving all bridges unburnt.
What he didn’t understand was, if he’d been honest, I would have understood him anyway.
I guess you might be wondering what the %!&# this has to do with dating in China.
Well, respect is an equally important facet in relationships, as it is in everyday life.
Your Chinese girlfriend will stick up for you
It is perfectly normal for a Chinese girl to defend her man during a conversation.
In Australia, I think it’s fair to say we’re pretty comfortable in our own skin, and are happy to poke fun at ourselves.
Doing that in front of a Chinese girl, they will be quick to jump to your aid, reminding you how ‘good’ you are. Chinese are not comfortable talking down about themselves, unless of course, it is reverse psychology.
Chinese girls are happy to say they are not beautiful enough, they are too fat today, their skin is too tanned, they are not wearing enough make-up, their clothes are not fashionable.
The worst thing you can do in this situation, is agree.
This is a trick, but also, an opportunity. Other than gifts, Chinese girls are similar to everyone else.
Shower her with compliments
They love, and I do mean loooovvvvveeee compliments. It’s an easy way to impress your girl.
You are meant to save them from their self-criticism by telling them how great they look, thus, reminding them how much you care.
Furthermore, though Chinese girls today are more comfortable sharing blunt opinions (watching an episode of If You Are The One, prior to the seventh year, which made some shockingly awful decisions, will prove this), there are those who believe the opinions of their man are theirs too.
Don’t expect all girls to be submissive, in accepting your views as wholly their own. In fact, I’d go as far as to say don’t expect it at all, though this goes to show how much they will support you.
Tackling the language barrier
The first major challenge is language.
Ideally, you should be interested in a Chinese girl who can speak your mother tongue, though at the same time, you should be equally committed to learning hers.
One of my best friends is married to a Thai girl. I know, Thailand and China are two different places, but there is a point here.
She can speak 50% of the English language, and he can speak 50% of hers. Combined, they both know enough to understand each other well.
That is all you need, as communication is one of the most important aspects of a relationship.
In 2018, a story did gain traction over Weibo, about a South-African woman and a Chinese man who had fallen in love, neither of them speaking the other’s language. Instances like these are rare.
Communication will be one of the things that can come between you and your potential Chinese girlfriend. If a Chinese girl cannot speak English well, it will leave her feeling anxious, make her have less faith in you, and cause her to become confused.
Some girls will not date you, unless you can speak Chinese well enough.
This can come down to two reasons. The first; some girls I know have said English is too hard, and leaves them feeling tired. They would much rather be able to fall back onto their own language.
The second, is because of their parents. A Chinese girl will want you to be able to speak to their relatives, considering you and they are some of the most important people in her life, she will want you to understand each other. She doesn’t want to have to be a translator all day every day.
It is not strange for a Chinese man to enjoy drinking, particularly because business deals often include a sumptuous feast with alcohol and tobacco.
When a man is older, it is respectful for their son-in-law to be able to share a drink with them, to shoot the crap and stop them from being lonely.
(There’s a whole other blog on overcoming the language barrier if you want to read more about that.)
Understanding the girl’s family
The second challenge is a girl’s family.
Considering how closely knit Chinese families are, the worry that you will take their daughter away does rest on the minds of parents. The fear they will never see their child again, never be able to help her if she gets in trouble abroad, really affects them.
Not to mention all of the stereotypes that are applied to foreigners.
Chances are, you might be the very first foreigner the girl has introduced to her family, so all they know about people from other cultures is that they are, well, apparently corrupt and evil. Good luck proving otherwise!
At the same time, for every family who respects their child’s happiness, and allows them the freedom to make their own decisions, there is a family who wants to make every decision for them.
Chinese do wish to do right by their family, out of respect and love, which can mean sacrificing their own dreams for what is seen as ‘the greater good’.
For example, not pursuing that creative arts job, because it is not as financially viable as say, foreign trade, or being a doctor, which will bring honor.
Families wish for their children to do things that reflect well on them, parents often living vicariously through their children. You will see Chinese parents talking about their children’s successes as though they are their own.
Dating and marriage also connects with ‘face’.
This gives you a 50/50 chance of encountering a Chinese mother who is a saint, or one who is the queen from James Cameron’s Aliens, who wishes to rip you, limb from limb, like Lance Henriksen’s Bishop.
Money and the stars
Chinese parents can put a lot more emphasis on wealth and astrology than anything else.
It is not strange for a family to ask their daughter to date a man with a specific star sign, or who was born in a particular year. I have met girls who refused to date me because I am a goat. Baa!
As an example, a good Chinese friend of mine from Ningbo is Vivienne.
I was madly in love with a man from Ireland, she says. We had been together for over eight months, when he was forced to return home because of a family emergency.
I had never felt this way for anyone. We were so passionate and loyal and happy.
Sounds like the start of a beautiful, long-term relationship, right?
The day after he returned to Ireland, my mom demanded we break up. She said foreigners are unreliable. Foreigners are all liars.
We kept in contact every day. He was planning on returning the following month, but then he encountered problems with his Chinese visa, and was delayed. He promised he would return as soon as he was able, but my mom kept saying he could not be trusted.
While I waited for him, my mother began setting me up with blind dates. These were usually family friends. One man worked for my uncle. He came from a rich family and had a nice house and a good car.
He was a nice guy, but I did not love him. I called him The Toad. He was short, fat, and had big eyes and yellow skin. My mom said he was reliable and responsible. She said that money was the most important, and that love would come, one day.
I was forced to leave the man I love, and marry the man my mother wanted me to. I’m not unhappy, but I think a lot about what could have happened if I had stayed with the man from Ireland.
In instances like these, some Chinese will forego things conducive to their own happiness, for the sake of their parents. There’s not much you can do if you find yourself in this situation, and all I can say if you do is, I’m sorry mate.
It would be best to find a girl who, to put it frankly, doesn’t have mommy issues. I am not above flat out asking a girl ‘are your parents okay with you dating a foreigner?’ From there, I can make up my own mind if I want to pursue that relationship.
I once had a girl say ‘no’. Safe to say, that dating experience did not last long. Even if a girl says she does not care what her parents think, eventually, she will probably be required to bite the bullet.
Not to come off as rude, but guys are not the only ones who sow their wild oats, with more than one Chinese girl having said to me they wanted to date a foreigner to know what it was like, before settling down with a Chinese.
Overcoming cultural differences
The third potential challenge is cultural difference.
If I had a dollar for every girl who told me she thought there was a big cultural difference between Chinese and foreigners, I would never have to work another day in my life.
A good question to ask is, how much of a difference is ‘big’? To be frank, this probably comes from ignorance, or what they see in TV shows, like The Big Bang Theory, Friends and Two Broke Girls, all of which are insanely popular in China.
I think Chinese are tone deaf to the foreign equivalent of sensationalism, and perceive much of this as reality.
My first manager in China said she did not like foreigners because they were ‘too loud’ and ‘drank too much’. You can imagine what working for her was like. Again, these negative stereotypes can be a daily hindrance.
I personally focus less on differences, and more on the similarities. In some ways I pay less attention to culture and more on an individual’s personality. I said this once in an interview, and I was told that I was wrong.
Pushing through the differences, no matter how big or small they are, will be the only way forward. Showing you are willing to respect her culture, and are committed to learning more, will help relax her.
This can be asking questions about daily occurrences, or taking her to historical sites, like Buddhist temples, and asking her to share what she knows about the heritage.
Showing your wealth of cultural knowledge will also help – just don’t go overboard. Nobody, and I mean, nobody, likes a show-off. As an example, don’t do anything bizarre with your chopsticks.
The princess syndrome
The fourth challenge could be the girl herself.
Maybe that’s not the best way of phrasing it… what I mean is, princess syndrome. A lot of girls, especially from the city, are used to getting what they want, and like being spoiled.
This means they will expect you to shower them with presents. They will demand you celebrate anniversaries (even if it is, say the first week anniversary of your meeting, or the first month – you see where I’m going with this). And they will demand you include them in every facet of your life.
Girls who are princesses usually have very short tempers, and can go from room temperature to full blown volcanic in a matter of seconds, if they perceive you have wronged them. This can lead to very embarrassing, and even worse, very public outbursts.
(If you need to refresh yourself on how foreign men are perceived by Chinese girls, go back to part 2 of this guide.)
Not every princess can be a real challenge. A friend of mine, who wants to be known as Jack, dated a girl who was originally a very difficult princess. I think he met her when out climbing a beanstalk.
Her ex-boyfriends gave her everything she ever wanted, explains Jack.
Take the last guy – he bought her a car, an apartment in the city, and even gave her pocket money to splurge on Hong Kong shopping sprees. I am talking a month of my salary each time she went to Hong Kong.
I couldn’t compete with that. So, when she went out with me, and I, to this day, don’t know what she saw in a bum like me, she asked for Gucci. I said no.
She asked for Prada, and I said no again. I told her I’d be happy to buy something, but it would be a cold day in hell when I bought designer products.
I was the only man who ever said ‘no’ to her. She actually came to respect that. I think she realized that I loved her, and I didn’t need enormous quantities of clothes or goods to prove that.
That said, not every princess can be easily tamed. My only advice in that instance is to, well, probably not listen to me.
I would probably try to avoid a princess, from fear they are too high maintenance, but that’s just me.
Qualities to look for
Oh, did you think this section was going to be about Chinese girls? No – there are certain qualities you will need to have.
The strangest one you may not realize, is smoking.
No, I’m not telling you to pick it up. Quite the opposite.
Depending on the statistics you believe in, at least 70% of Chinese men smoke. That is, well, much higher than I can count.
Despite how systemic it is, despite most restaurants and bars allowing people to smoke without consequence, despite no one ever saying put that out for Chrissake, you’re killing me, many girls look down upon this habit, and think it’s disgusting.
Many girls don’t like the smell, and are particularly worried about health. Though tobacco is known to kill you, there are some outrageous wife’s tales when it comes to health in China.
Example: only drink hot water – cold water will kill you! Pregnant women should not criticize others, or else the child will be too critical. Squatting is the safest and most relaxing way to pass waste. Avoid the number four – it is even worse than cold water!
So, you can imagine how serious Chinese girls take their aversion to smoking. Many will accept it, though don’t be surprised if that deathly glare from your one-and-only eventually wins out.
Another interesting character that girls find appealing, is a man who knows when to stop drinking.
When answering the age-old question, how much is too much?, I’d say, when you topple off your chair, with your legs and arms pointed to Heaven, that you’ve passed it.
Though drinking is a part of the culture, with men and women required to drink at special dinners and over business deals happening at restaurants, I’m often surprised by how many girls don’t drink.
One of the major reasons is some girls are allergic. Imagine that? If I was allergic to alcohol, I’d be scouring the earth for a cure!
But it is true, that many girls start breaking out with something akin to hives after the hooch touches their lips.
Other girls never grew up with the stuff. One girl I know said she never had alcohol in her home because it was too expensive. Other girls get drunk very easily, and choose not to put themselves through that. Again, face.
I would say the ratio of girls I’ve met who drink or don’t drink, is pretty even, so you have a 50/50 chance of dating a girl who doesn’t like the booze. That doesn’t mean they won’t allow you to drink, though be prepared to have a stern lecturing if you go over the top.
Moving on, if you’re wondering whether Chinese girls relish every opportunity to cook, then I’ve some good news. It’s totally true – 500 years ago!
Considering how progressive society is, why cook when you can visit a Lawson? Or get delivery?
Or, better yet, have a man cook?
So, if you haven’t already, I’d recommend you invest in some culinary classes. Chinese girls from the country will more than likely have cooking experience. They would have been required to help prepare food for the family.
In the city however, there is less of an expectation for a girl to cook. In fact, more than a few of my Chinese friends come from families where the man does all the cooking. So, if you can rustle up a storm in the kitchen, it will certainly get you some extra brownie points.
Another quality Chinese girls like in a bloke, is activeness.
So many girls in China will tell you they like playing with their phone, or sleeping. These are notably indoor activities, and more than once I’ve met a girl who openly believed in what Paula Abdul once pushed; opposites attract.
If you are more active than they are, then you can help push them out of their comfort zones. They are growing as an individual. This doesn’t mean you have to take up a sport, though basketball is incredibly popular in China. Some Chinese could probably name every single famous player.
Travelling to parks, lakes or temples is always an idea, as is fruit-picking or going to the beach. Other sports you may want to try includes archery, table tennis and wall climbing, all of which are usually quite easy to find in the city.
The more you are open to experiencing, the more interesting you will appear. Turning every date into a different experience will make you appear not only versatile, but create the image that you have become one with the city you live in, demonstrating a commitment to staying there.
Another quality that is well liked by Chinese girls, is the ability to involve her in your life, even for the most mundane things.
If you are going out, call her. Chinese girls desire security, from fear their boyfriends will cheat. Again, stereotypes of foreigners. Sheesh!
That doesn’t mean you need to invite her to every event you go to, but let her know. Imagine you are on a tight leech. Don’t let her get surprised, example: Your photo was in a girl’s WeChat. You were at a club, weren’t you? Weren’t you!?
Also, if you plan on posting a moment on WeChat, share it with her first, so she is the first to see it, and therefore feels special.
On one hand, this may seem like common knowledge. On the other, it may seem over-the-top. I’m more inclined to think of it as the latter.
After dating girls in Australia, I’m used to more independence and freedom, where I don’t need to talk about every single thing that happened in my day, where they do not require such security. This is just one of the changes you’re going to have to get into the habit of making.
Marriage and children
Lastly, a topic covered in part 1 of my ultimate guide to Chinese girls – marriage and children.
A friend of mine hates the idea of both, and is none too shy about expressing that. You can imagine how many girlfriends he’s had in China.
It can be a bit of a surprise, to have such big topics come up so soon in a relationship, as though the girl is discussing the weather.
Oh, hi darling! How was your day? By the way, when do you want children?
You will need to be open to this. Chinese girls love a man with a plan. You are an investment to them. If you have a long-term plan (e.g. date her for a year, buy a home and move in together, get married at the end of the second year), it shows that you’re thinking about a future with her in it.
As girls get older – I use that term loosely, considering 26 is hardly old – they will begin to lose the desire to have fun, and will probably want to really start considering marriage.
It doesn’t mean you must get married the next day – probably – but they will find it selfish if you don’t commit.
On a side note, you will need to have two marriages. No joke, mate. One marriage in China, and another in your home country. I hope you’ve got a big wallet.
In my final article on Chinese girls, I’ll share some war stories about breaking up with a Chinese girlfriend, and what can happen after the breakup.
Check it out here.