Ever since my trip to China, there has been overwhelming advice from Suzy’s Chinese friends and family to watch out for other women if I go back. And it’s not a subtle part of discussion that just happens to come up ... as soon as I indicated I may want to live in China for a while, it was the first thing that came up.
Mostly I’ve been thinking about going to Shanghai, but I’ve been told Shanghai women can be quite aggressive when it comes to trying to date someone. To put the local culture into perspective, I remember stopping by a local Christian Church in Shanghai as we were touring through the city. Suzy was eventually approached by two older women from the church where she was first asked whether I was a Christian. After replying yes to the women, they replied “Ahh ... foreigners are good. Where is he from?” Suzy replied “America”. “Ohhh ... American is good”. Suzy then began to be pummeled by a series of questions. “Does he pay for everything? When are you getting married? Will he be providing you a home? Will he be giving you a car?” Once Suzy translated this for me, I began to laugh a little and I debated having her translate back that my faith lies in the relationship, not in my material possessions. Needless to say, it provided a perspective of expectations from Shanghai mothers.
For the most part, I’ve been told that if a man in Shanghai doesn’t have a certain level of income, a car or a home, a woman in Shanghai will not even consider dating them. I’ve been told that there are much more single women in Shanghai than men, which is why they tend to be more aggressive on the dating front, but in reality I think it’s because many women in Shanghai automatically disqualify a large population of eligible men. Ultimately, this means that if you do have a home, a car, and the right income, you are highly sought after. Being a “Lao Wai” automatically gets you through most of those stereotypes as a lot of foreigners in Shanghai are expatriates on a work sponsored business visa. Foreigners also have a different salary bracket for a lot of companies as opposed to local contracts.
So taking this into perspective, I’ve been trying to figure out the best way to ease Suzy’s fears. If not married and I tell others that I’m already in a relationship, I'm told this has little effect. In fact, it might be perceived as a game to Chinese women where they think you might be leading them on. When asking some of her Chinese friends the best way to handle the situation, they gave me a few interesting suggestions.
- Tell them I have no money, no job, and no car. This automatically disqualifies me from their stereotypical search process.
- If they don’t believe I have no money, no job and no car, tell them they aren't good enough and / or insult them. A stereotypically beautiful woman in China is skinny and pale skinned. Tell them they are too dark or fat or imperfect.
- If all else fails, tell them I’m gay.
While I’m still debating how much this actually true when it comes to living in Shanghai, it was interesting to say the least that every Chinese female (friends, parents of friends, parents ... even random people) mentioned to watch out if I traveled abroad to China. Makes me curious as to whether or not others have experienced this??? It’d be good to hear some stories to put it into perspective.