dating in China

Before I moved to China, a friend of mine told me I’d have no trouble finding a Chinese girl to date.  He insisted that even very ugly Western guys have no trouble picking up Chinese girls in Beijing.

I’m not sure if that was meant as an insult to me or not.

Regardless, he was right.  The very first time I went out in downtown Beijing, I managed to get the phone number of a very nice, very attractive Chinese girl.  And not because I stole her phone out of her bag when she wasn’t looking.  Unfortunately, because I had a some unpleasant experiences with girls when I was in England, I wasn’t quite ready to start dating my second week in China.  I figured it was best to wait at least until my third week. But by that time I’d missed my chance, because when I sent her a text, she never responded.

This was probably for the best though, as I still had a lot to learn about dating in China.  Most of this learning came from my helpful friends at the Institute where I worked, and the knowledge I will describe here was imparted to me in bits and pieces over the course of about six months.

One thing that surprised me was my friend’s assessment of the girl who gave me her phone number.  My impression was that she was a pretty sweet, rather innocent girl.  According to my friend, he could tell from her makeup, the way she was dressed, and the way she acted with other Western guys when I wasn’t around that she was in fact an experienced predator and knew exactly what she was doing.

Now if your first thought is that a hot female Chinese predator is pretty damn awesome (well, that was my first thought, anyway), let me point out that they’re not actually looking for any kind of brief hook-up or fling.  No, apparently most of them are looking for a husband.  And while I’m not against marriage in general  (although having proposed to a girl once and having it blow up in my face has made me a bit wary), the fact that I only intended to stay in China for a year or two at most did make the prospect a bit more complicated.

The way my friends explained it, while the situation in China is rapidly improving, it’s still a struggle to have a good life here, and most girls really can’t afford to just date for fun. And while it may seem a little superficial to hear that a lot of girls won’t even consider a guy unless he has a car and owns his own apartment, it makes sense if your object is to secure a good life for yourself.

But of course what upset me the most was when my friend told me that most girls will not sleep with a guy unless they’re about 60% sure he’s going to marry them. Dammit.

Regardless, I must have been complaining too much about being single, because my friends decided to set me up with a girl.  Apparently I was intended to be the “birthday present” for this girl–and I’m not entirely sure what that was supposed to entail–but because they didn’t bother to tell me this beforehand, I ended up spending the whole night talking (and dancing) with the birthday girl’s friend.

We really hit it off.  I accused her of being a robot, she accused me of being gay.  It was something special.  So I did what any mature adult would do and asked my friend to ask his friend to ask her friend to ask the girl if she liked me.

And if this seems like something you should stop doing once you get out of junior high school, I’d just like to point out that it’s still better than my usual method of sending love letters to a girl until she threatens to go to the police if I ever speak to her again.

But as it turns out, she was indeed interested.  She gave me her phone number and her email address so I could chat with her online.  I figured I’d better make the most of it, so I asked her out.  She asked me what my plans were.  I told her I had lots of plans.  She told me to list the top three.  So I did:  1) take you to dinner.  2) take you out for drinks.  3) take you dancing.

All I can say is it’s a good thing she didn’t ask me for my top four plans, or else that probably would’ve been the end of it right there.

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