So, you're interested in Chinese dating?
You’re single, and ready to mingle, as some might say.
Maybe you’re a ‘rice chaser’? Or, to put it another way, perhaps you have ‘yellow fever’?
You may have heard other expats say it’s so easy to get a Chinese girlfriend.
Maybe it is if you speak the lingo but let me give you the hard truth. It really isn’t.
In this article, I'll share some of the things that might happen to you when enter the world of Chinese dating.
Before continuing, please let me add – and I don’t mean to be sexist – I think this post will be of more interest to men. As a man myself, I can only speak to my experiences.
But the ladies might get a giggle too!
Chinese dating – you’re in it for the long haul
Love in China is not like love in Australia, where I'm from.
Sometimes you might be able to pick up a girl at a bar with a pick-up line, like you would back home.
Normally however, the experience is a lot longer. You usually begin as friends and go from there.
You gradually get to know each other. Throwing subtle (and sometimes not-so-subtle) hints her way will give you clues as to whether she is interested.
Dating Chinese girls can be difficult.
This process can become quite nerve-wracking, mainly because you might be putting in a lot of effort to win a Chinese girl's affections and have no idea if it is working.
It may even feel like you are just going round and round in circles.
The Chinese mentality is not like the Western one, and the same goes for dating.
What Chinese women want
Chinese girls like being pampered.
There's a tradition of men declaring their love with a wealth of presents and other romantic gestures. In short, some girls want the fairy-tale.
The problem is, much like in the Katy Perry song, some girls can be hot one moment, and cold the next.
One Chinese girl I went out with, Avril (not her real name), would go out on a date with me one night, and stand me up the following. It was like a game.
Chinese girls like being pampered.
As Marilyn Munroe said, “if you can’t handle me at my worst, you don’t deserve me at my best”.
Indeed, some Chinese girls like pushing you to see how far you will go, to make you really fight for their attention.
Some Chinese girls take this to the extreme and behave like spoilt princesses. I would urge you to try to avoid any woman like this. No woman, regardless of how beautiful or amazing they are, is worth you being disrespected over.
Where are the Chinese girls who want to go on dates?
I always remember Eddie Murphy asking the barber shop owner in the movie, Coming to America, “Where can I find nice girls?”
The frustrating thing about living in China as a foreign teacher, with almost zero language proficiency, is you can’t do what you would back home.
There are plenty of times when you will see a drop-dead gorgeous woman on the street.
You can only go up to a woman so many times and say "Ni hao, can you speak English?", and receive a hard stare and a shake of the head in response, before you begin feeling dejected.
Obviously the situation is different when it comes to Chinese dating in your own country.
Using technology to help with dating in China
Thanks to technology, dating in China as a foreigner isn't impossible.
For example, the Hello Talk app is really handy. It’s an online communication tool designed to help people learn another language.
Many Chinese, however, use it to find friends.
The Hello Talk app can be used to find friends in China.
You can run a search by province, city, age and gender. This will enable you to find girls in your city who you can chat with online.
I would avoid saying you want to date and copulate in the opening message!
Start by getting to know each other, and calmly slip into one conversation where you live, and ask her where she is.
You can mention early on you are happy to meet, when both of you are ready, or address it later when you have built up trust.
I would recommend you don’t use Hello Talk thinking it will help you get a relationship. But it will open up doors and allow you to meet and possibly date Chinese girls who can speak English.
The trouble with traditionalists
You may hear that pre-marital sex is becoming a much bigger concept in China than ever before.
There are still many Chinese girls who believe in no sex until after marriage. Given China's society and culture goes back centuries, this is fair enough.
It might be a good idea to find out what a woman’s views are on the subject.
Finding love in the workplace
I would strongly urge you to reconsider trying to romance someone in your office.
Though it happens, and I will talk about this later, if the woman you ask out says "no", just know, she probably has every other office worker’s WeChat details.
Chinese girls, like other women, love their gossip.
You do not want to get yourself a reputation among your colleagues for being a dirty flirt.
Chinese girls love to gossip, according to Teacher Nicholas.
Just like you don’t want to get a bad reputation, neither does the girl you're interested in. Remember, ‘face’ is extremely important in China, and most people would shy away from doing anything that might disparage their image.
This includes having an office relationship. Some businesses even completely forbid the concept of an office relationship.
Chinese girls are shy (it may not be your fault!)
Just like Asia is synonymous for its rice, Chinese girls are synonymous for being shy.
I’ve heard plenty of people tell me that many Chinese, especially the younger generations, know a little English.
But let me share what they don’t tell you.
Chinese women are shy.
Many Chinese lack the confidence to speak it. In school, many Chinese learn only how to write English.
Only recently have more schools begun teaching oral English.
Unless they have practiced spoken English, or work in foreign trade, their proficiency will be very weak.
My experience with two Chinese girls
There were two Chinese girls I knew. Before you ask, our relationship was purely friendly.
Neither could speak English well. Although one of the women, Eva (not her real name), could write and speak reasonably well on WeChat, in person…whoa!
We had to resort to texting each other and translating what we had written because she could not understand me. Even…when…I…spoke…this…slowly.
I have not heard from her since, despite our promise to meet again.
She felt embarrassed that she could not speak English as fluently as me, and instead would much rather communicate with foreigners who knew some Chinese.
If you are seeing a woman, and she suddenly begins avoiding you, unless you did something really vulgar, it could be because she lacks the confidence to speak to you.
Patience really is a virtue when it comes to Chinese dating.
Take me back to your country!
You might recall I said I met two Chinese girls whose English was not fantastic.
The second girl, Lucy (not her real name), took me out for dinner three times. We had agreed early on that our relationship would be strictly plutonic.
Fast forward to after our third meeting – she suddenly told me her dream was to get married.
But she didn’t want to marry just anyone…no…she wanted to marry a foreigner.
I was trying to figure out why she was telling me this, when she asked me if I liked her.
She wanted to study abroad and become a citizen in a foreign country. The only reason she was seeing me was not because she liked me; she liked what I represented.
Some Chinese girls may want you to bring them to your country.
According to people I have spoken to, foreigners and Chinese alike, this happens more often than you might think.
There are Chinese girls looking for foreign men to take them abroad because they believe they will have a better life overseas.
The issue is they may not actually love you. They’re just using you to get a permanent residency.
You need to be aware of this when dating in China as a foreigner.
You may be hunted down
Additionally, I don’t know what the equivalent is in China, but in Japan, there are women called Gaijin Hunters. ‘Gaijin’ means ‘foreigner’ in Japanese.
These are women who literally ‘hunt’ for foreigners with the intent of either learning English or getting a higher status amongst their friends by spending time with you.
In China, if a woman keeps sending you documents for you to edit, or asks you to help improve her English, and is giving you nothing else in return, there is a very good chance she is using you.
Make sure her intention to be with you is genuine before you commit yourself to anything. You might be thinking of a long-term partnership, but is she?
Don’t start something in China unless you’re serious
The thing is, thinking about a long-term relationship, it goes both ways.
Many foreigners I’ve met have admitted to dating their teaching assistants. They get into the habit of asking their assistant to help them with everything.
Next thing they know, they're in a relationship. Every foreigner I’ve met has warned me not to date my assistant.
Good thing is, I don’t have one!
The worst reason to date a woman is because you’re lonely. A relationship will not last if that is the only reason to have someone in your life.
When teaching in China, you will have moments of profound loneliness. This will only be exaggerated when communication difficulties arise.
To have a Chinese woman speak to you in English might seem like a dream come true after a while, but you really should wait until the feelings are there.
The backup boyfriend
The concept of the backup boyfriend was not something I was aware of when in Australia.
In China however, you really need to be careful not to fall into this trap.
There is one girl I met, Fiona (not her real name), who often called me out to spend time with her.
She loved travelling around Ningbo, a city in eastern China. Her boyfriend however, did not.
So, I accompanied her whenever she wanted to go somewhere, from a Buddhist temple, to a beautiful park.
If a girl only sees you sporadically, and does not commit to a relationship with you, it could mean she is interested, or in love, with another guy.
You could be the backup boyfriend for the girl you're interested in.
Be sure to always find out a girl’s relationship status.
Don’t just assume that because she’s going out with you and behaving like your girlfriend that she actually is.
You may have a different experience with Chinese dating
One thing that being in China has taught me is that no expat’s experience is the same.
There are similarities, sure, but what I talked about here, may never happen to you.
With any luck, if you’re single, and like I said earlier, ready to mingle, you will find the girl that’s right for you soon.
Good luck with your Chinese dating adventure!
Thanks for reading my article about Chinese dating. Have you experienced any Chinese dating hiccups? Please comment below.