Jocelyn Eikenburg over at Speaking of China has asked that some of her blogger readers speak about what it is like to date a Chinese man. Understanding that dating a Chinese man in China and dating a Chinese man in America are two completely different topics, I’d have to say that Chinese men are pretty much like all the other men out there. As I understand it, there is a different set of rules for dating in China, but since I have no firsthand experience on that topic, I’ll stick to what I know.
When it comes down to it, Chinese men are just men. Perhaps they say things differently, show love differently, but I would never try to put all Chinese men into one large category. My three Chinese romances were vastly different.
James was tall, rich, good looking and very full of himself. When he took me to the Valentine’s Banquet my sophomore year of high school, he wore his own tuxedo. I knew he was trouble, but I liked him. He professed undying affection for me and told me I was different from all the other girls. What 15 year old can’t like that? But I knew he was trouble, and so when he asked me to be his girlfriend, I said no.
Turns out, it was a good call. The next day I saw him holding hands with my best friend. Apparently, they’d been “talking” for quite some time and I was the only one who didn’t know. I suppose that was my first “Chinese romance.”
Joe was shy, which made sense because he spoke very little English. He understood more than he could speak, though. I could tell by how agitated he’d get when we all talked about Mr. Least-Favorite-Professor between classes. If a Mandarin speaking classmate were there, he would burst out a short stream of intense feeling to be translated to the rest of us. A conversation with Joe was slow, but always worthwhile, and I enjoyed being with him.
I’m afraid, however, that I frightened the poor guy. I was anything but shy, always willing to share my opinion or jump into a conversation. I tried to be subtle about my interest, but I’m afraid that anyone as shy as Joe would have been scared off by my forwardness. He remains a good friend, but nothing more.
It was almost four years until my next (and final) Chinese romance. In fact, I didn’t expect it to be a romance at all. A blind date with an older man I’d met online was already a bit sketchy. The fact that he was Chinese made him an even less likely candidate. By that time I had encountered a myriad of Asian men, and I found them to be reserved, formal, and a bit awkward. I braced myself for an uncomfortable evening.
The man I met that night completely obliterated my expectations. He put me so at ease that our date lasted well into the morning. After a few weeks of him taking me out to dinner, getting to know my friends, and telling me how beautiful I was without trying to get into my pants, I realized we were falling in love. Of course, the rest is history. I got pregnant (oops), we decided our love would last, and now we’re married with baby #2 on the way!
You can’t generalize about the men of one race. Each man is different. Sometimes I think it would be easier to explain why Mengyao is so wonderful by saying, “Well, he is Chinese,” but the fact is that he is just a guy. Sure, he happens to be Chinese, and that is a big part of who he is, but that’s not what makes him wonderful. He is wonderful because he is wonderful, a fact that would be true if he were Chinese, Taiwanese or Scandinavian.