How my Chinese husband defeats almost any stereotype (certain) people have about Chinese men

After reading an article listing 8 reasons why Western women rarely marry Chinese men on The World of Chinese, I have to wonder: Is my husband completely different from most other Chinese men (he sure is extraordinary) or is it just way too convenient for us to stereotype a whole group of people (a group that comprises a few hundred million people)?

001_800x512

I can’t talk about all Chinese guys, but I thought to offer a different perspective, taking my husband as an example.

1. Chinese men are shy

006

Even in Chinese colleges a lot of Chinese men do not talk to or chase girls–they are shy. Perhaps they need to get over themselves and man-up.

When you take me and my husband as an example, I’m the shy one. He was the one who actively started conversations with me, offered to accompany me to buy stuff for making handicrafts, offered to cook food for my friends when we weren’t together yet, asked me to go to lunch with him or a group of people. You might say he was only acting like that because he wanted to impress me, but even with other people, he’s not shy at all. And one thing’s for sure, he did get the girl.

2. Chinese boys are spoiled

The one child generation has been affected the worst, they are used to their parents getting everything for them.

When my husband was growing up, he never got any praise from his dad. Instead, anything he did was never good enough. So he needed to work even harder if he wanted to leave an impression. He’s an only child, so he probably got more spoiled than I did growing up with 7 brothers and sisters, but there were and are a lot of things he had to work hard for in his life.

005

He could have taken an easier path in life, using the guanxi (connections) his parents have in his hometown to get a job (it might not have been a job he would have wanted, but it would have been easy). But he took a different path. He studied law, but after realising that this was not what he wanted, he took on all different kinds of jobs. He eventually took the opportunity to learn graphic design. He’s one of the smartest guys I know (or even the smartest), and if he sets his mind on learning something, he will succeed. He did not learn to be a graphic designer because someone taught him these skills, he learned it because he set his mind on it and spent hours researching and practicing. And he’s not an average graphic designer either, he’s really good and versatile at his job.

FI_The-MSG-wars_800x512

After I became pregnant and when my in-laws who had helped us cook in my second trimester went back to Northeast China, he started to cook for me every single day. He didn’t have a lot of spare time to begin with, but he still thought it very important that I eat healthy (or eat at all, after all, I just couldn’t eat out anymore after getting pregnant).

Parents buy them a house and introduce wives to them–they can’t do much for themselves.  Foreign women are often independent are less likely to roll with a guy who is incapable of looking after himself like an adult.

His parents did help my husband find an apartment in his hometown, but he’s the one paying back the mortgage, not them. When my husband was single, maybe his parents did wish for him to find a woman he can marry, but he wouldn’t have accepted their meddling in his affairs. Lucky for me – or how else can you explain that in a country where marriage is seen as very important, a great guy like my husband is still available at the age of 31?

3. Chinese men are racially insecure, especially when compared to Caucasians

003_800x1204

It’s the same reason why foreigners are paid more for the same job in China; it’s why foreign guys get the girls and why Chinese men don’t dare go after the foreign ladies.

I haven’t encountered this problem with my husband, but maybe that’s because he’s 1,89 m tall and athletically built? Luckily, he wasn’t afraid to go after the foreign lady who writes this blog. Except for my husband, I have encountered quite a few Chinese guys who did go after me (albeit with less success than my husband). I don’t know if that’s just me, but I don’t have the feeling that Chinese guys in China don’t dare to go after foreign ladies. And even if there are guys who don’t dare to do so, with a male population of around 700 million (just a guess doing some maths) there are still plenty of guys who do.

4. Chinese men are traditional

001

Traditional people are less open-minded  and will cut-out romance, and public displays of affection, which is a shame as a good making-out session is an integral part of many a foreign woman’s fantasies.

My husband is traditional in the sense that he believes that you shouldn’t cheat on your wife, be a good father and that you should care for your parents. But he’s also open-minded, romantic (albeit not in a kitschy way I wouldn’t be comfortable with), and he doesn’t mind showing his affection in public. Okay, we don’t exchange wild kisses in public, but we do hold hands and he’s not afraid to touch my bump in public either. In our case, the good making-out sessions that are obviously an integral part of many a foreign woman’s fantasies are for the home, not for the public and I’m pretty much okay with that.

5. Chinese men cannot speak English well

FI_oh-my-god-im-going-to-be-a-father_800x512

Since my husband and I do communicate in Chinese most of the time and he doesn’t speak English in front of me (he does sometimes speak English with other people), I’m not able to comment on this one. Many of the Chinese guys that were chasing after me didn’t speak English, but then, I’m in China and if people here don’t understand me, I should consider taking up learning Chinese instead of wondering why Chinese guys’ don’t speak English well enough. Of course, if you’re talking about Chinese guys living in the US, that would be a different topic. Although my husband doesn’t speak English with me, we do have some German phrases we like to use and he’s fast to pick up new phrases if they come in handy.

The article links to a forum topic on China Daily where the list goes on:

6. Chinese men love to save money

FI_how-come-you-married-so-young_800x512

Chinese people are inclined to save to buy a house. Foreign guys will spend most of what they earn and will go for top clothing brands or eat at fancy restaurants. That difference is huge in terms of romance.

My husband has to pay back a mortgage, so naturally, he can’t spend all of his earnings. But he’s not frugal either. Whenever we go to a restaurant, he makes sure that we eat well. I have considered buying an iPad for a few months, in the end, he was the one who persuaded me to buy it. We share expenses and I don’t expect him to pay for everything, but if there’s something we need, we’ll spend money on it. Many times, I’m the one who’s more frugal than him. Like for example when buying fruits. Some of the fruits are really expensive, but he’ll just say: “If you want to eat it, we’ll buy it.” The price doesn’t matter. The quality does. I do have my pregnancy cravings, but in my opinion, it’s not like I do need to buy a small box of cherries for 300 CNY. He, on the other hand, would buy me these cherries if I really wanted to eat them. He’s not irresponsible in not considering the future and spending all of his money on posh clothes and on dates, but he’s not frugal either, especially not when it comes to me.

7. Chinese boys are too busy studying and men are too busy working

FI_you-have-to-be-nice-to-your-mama_800x512

I don’t know what my husband was like when he was studying, and if you work in one of China’s ever changing cities, chances are your boss will require you to work overtime a lot. My husband did have to work a lot when we met, but when he did have time, we made the most of it. Even though he was busy as hell, he’d still take the time to go out on dates, have a good conversation or just some alone time with me. He still showed me that he wanted to spend time with me, and spending time together is also what we did whenever it was somehow possible. After becoming pregnant, he has refrained from working overtime or worked overtime from home if he really needed to. Family time, being there for me and our baby is important to him, which is also why he’s taking off a few months for the time right before and after the birth of our baby.

8. Chinese guys are relatively less social and out-going

002

For a billion people, Chinese night clubs are too empty on average and since most foreign ladies hang out there, and Chinese men don’t go to them, they don’t get to meet the ladies.

In China, people often meet up with friends for dinner or Karaoke instead of going to night clubs. This doesn’t mean they are less social, rather, there are different ways of socialising in China. My husband isn’t much into Karaoke, and he prefers inviting friends home to have dinner together instead of socialising at bars, clubs or even restaurants. But if you’re a foreign women, night clubs aren’t the only places where you can meet Chinese guys. A much better idea would be to find some Chinese friends and have them introduce Chinese guys to you (or just meet them when socialising with your friends). I never had problems meeting Chinese guys, after all, they are all over the place in China. And yes, if night clubs really are the only place you go to for socialising, you’ll still find enough Chinese guys there.

The generalisations in the original article bother me, which is why I wrote a rather long article about this topic. I’d love to read your take on it!

Update: A few other women in AMXF relationships have voiced their views on the China daily article. Check out Sara Jaaksola’s post “My Chinese Husband is More Foreign Than The Foreigners Themselves”, Anna Zech’s article “My Stereotypical Chinese Husband” and Ember Swift’s take on the topic, “I am a Typical Chinese Man”.

Share the love and follow me on facebook, twitter or google+.

 

About

Hi, I'm Ruth, welcome to China Elevator Stories! I have been living in Kunming and Shenzhen in the past and am now staying in Northeast China with my Chinese husband and our baby and toddler son. Join us on our journey bridging worlds!

53 comments

    • Bigflirtcleanfreakchinois

      in a place like Hong Kong where there is minimum “free handouts”, any “wise” person would save as much as s/he can for rainy days. They have a say in HK: hands stop mouth stops. Hong Kong is bloody soul-less, at least during the time I spent there.

      Have happily been married for almost 3 decades to a French (Gallic) woman, who is raised catholic (now atheist), rather traditional, and sophisticated. While my Chinese Monkey zodiac sign makes me a more fun-loving, spontaneous, lively, and, last but not least, flirtatious man (and she’s aware of that), my western horoscope distinguish my manners, etiquette, appearance and good personal hygiene from the single vast majority of “my people”.

      Happy journey….and don’t stop to flirt….a flirt a day keeps your spirit high body fit. Use it or lose it!

    • chinaelevatorstories
      Author

      Thanks! I couldn’t wait for the domain transfer to be finished, I just had to publish it immediately. But it will be on the revamped blog too, albeit not as the first newly published post.

  1. I’m with you. My Chinese husband was nothing like the stereotypes in that article. He was far from shy and not spoiled at all. He was proud of being Chinese. Public displays of affection were not my husband’s style, but neither were they mine. He was extremely generous. Only after we married did we start saving money. (I encouraged it.) He worked fast not long, and he was very sociable and spoke good English.

    He has since passed away. And, yes, he was from another generation. But he was born in China, raised in China, later Taiwan and then Japan. Unless Chinese men have changed drastically, the author in that article might want to reconsider her stereotypes.l

    • chinaelevatorstories
      Author

      There are so many different kinds of Chinese guys and many who don’t fit these generalisations at all. Thanks for sharing your view.

  2. Laura

    Hi! That post did get some critics. It was a very lame post (NOT YOURS! the one mentioned, I saw it the other day and didn’t like it a little).
    1. Shy
    Regarding the article that relationship between shy and man-up is just weird.
    My husband is not shy either. Though some people would think so since he doesn’t talk a lot (but when he does..he does).
    I myself do not talk muuch or show who I am at the very beginning, takes some time, but I’m not shy.
    2. My husband spoiled? He spent days without eating, he was living in the school during the week and home during the weekends, he had only one trouser and a shirt, one pair of shoes that were so broken..and he only has two pictures from his childhood (both are the classroom pics from primary), he slept on the floor and sometimes chairs or desks.
    Showers every 10 days, food every 2-3 days. Water every day because it was only 5 mao.
    He had no toys and worked to help his family since he was a child…
    3. No racial concerns at all. He pays no attention to those details and couldn’t care less.
    4. Traditional in the good sense, like your husband.
    And I love the fact that he is traditional.
    5. His English is good
    6. He likes to but is difficult because of the income Shanghai offers and the cost here.
    7. Same as you, life in Shanghai, plenty of extra work, both of us.
    8. Nah

    • chinaelevatorstories
      Author

      Thanks for joining in the discussion and showing that these generalisations really don’t apply to every Chinese guy (I don’t even think they apply to most Chinese guys).

  3. I read the original post yesterday and was surprised… it seemed like a pretty racist and stereotyping article.

    People are more than their country (and, I guess, American guys could get a pretty bad rap too).

    This was a fun post, thanks!

    • chinaelevatorstories
      Author

      I agree, people are more than their country and these stereotypes are kind of weird. It seems like the author doesn’t know a lot of Chinese guys.

  4. Pingback: My Chinese husband is more foreign than the foreigners themselves | Living A Dream In China

  5. I agree with Ziqiao. You definitely met a modern Chinese guy, a guy who is not ashamed of his culture (speaks Chinese proudly) and not afraid to break out of the stereotype. Education and travel could have a lot to do with it. He must also have a lot of guts too, getting together with a lovely Caucasian person like you. I wouldn’t be too surprised if some of his Chinese friends and acquaintances have said something about this behind his back.

    Very happy for the both of you and your relationship. Good luck with starting a family 🙂

    • Thanks for joining in the discussion.

      I don’t think that education and travel are what make my husband the way he is. It’s just his character. I think the only foreign country he traveled to before meeting me was South Korea. He did move around a lot in China, though.

      For us, getting together wasn’t about being brave or anything. We fell in love with each other and just wanted to be together no matter what. People do sometimes talk behind our backs, but we really don’t care. People will talk no matter what.

      Thanks!

    • Sorry, but you are one of those Chinese who has succumbed to stereotyping themselves. First, you say that he is “Modern” just because he isn’t shy. No, he is a guy, he can be shy or not, he can be “modern” or not, they are two seperate things. To associate the two is weird.

      Second, “getting together with a lovely Caucasian person ” – are you saying that marrying a white person is marrying up? That to be white is lovely, but to be Chinese is not? You say you assume his friends “have been talking about this behind his back”…. why?

      Your opinion just reeks of inferiority, sad to say

    • I’ve also mentioned this before in a previous blog, the Chinese you meet in Europe isn’t anything like that because YOU choose to associate with certain types. Me for example, and all the Chinese I know (which is probably more than you), are nothing like the shy reserved types. Many are clever, but I suppose many people mistake that for geeky, then mistake that for reserved.

  6. Suigetsu

    I agree with Laura above. The article you’re responding to is just lame. I also want to point out that the author talks about being frugal like it’s a bad thing: it’s not. In fact, I think people would do well if they all tried to live within their means.

    But I think the author probably meant to say that Chinese men are stingy or cheap, in which case s/he is just wrong. If nothing else, you won’t see a Chinese man “go Dutch” with his date.

    • I agree, both with the article being lame and that people living within their means is actually a good thing. And yes, Chinese men going Dutch at the very beginning of a relationship would be really rare.

      • Suigetsu

        Maybe you could ask your husband to do a guest post sometime. It would be good to hear about the AMWF relationship from the man’s perspective.

        And the new site looks great!

  7. You sure are lucky. From all the few Chinese guys I know they fit some of the stereotypes and are at the same time more “modern” in other points. However I have never met so far a person who fits your husbands description 🙂
    Especially many Chinese I know in Europe are much more conservative then the ones I know in China (weird world that is) 🙂

  8. That post in The World of Chinese was quite unfortunate and people have rightfully complained about it… Stereotypes are just stupid. According to the stereotypes for Spanish people, I should be lazy, talkative, love dancing and partying… and I’m not like that. These stereotypes about Chinese guys are just wrong. They are not social? Not going to clubs doesn’t mean they’re not social, they just have other ways of socializing. Cheap and love saving? I still have to meet a Chinese guy that doesn’t spend lots of money inviting his friends to eat out or buying things for his gf/wife. Not romantic? If romantic means flowers, chocolates or just being considered the main priority for him, I have received more from Chinese guys than from Europeans, haha.
    Anyway. This was a great post and I liked your baby bump 😉

    • chinaelevatorstories
      Author

      I agree, thanks for offering your views on the topic!

      Thanks, that was my bump at around 5 months, it’s much bigger now 😀

  9. This was interesting. I’ve always thought of some of those traits as peculiar to my husband. (Mind you, he’s a wonderful husband, but he exhibits the majority of those traits from time to time.)

  10. I will admit that I had to remind myself that I was reading about a Chinese man in China. As an American, those characteristics (including being rather tall) are easier to find here. There are plenty others, of course, that fit the 1st generation immigration stereotype. It would seem that the difference would be how much Western culture resonates with that person. What a fantastic post and blog, in general! I am going to love being a fly on the wall by reading your posts!

  11. I’m really glad you wrote this up, Ruth. That article was just awful and like anything where people rely on stereotypes and generalizations, such ideas just don’t measure up when you apply them to the real world. Like your husband, who sounds awesome!

  12. Pingback: My Stereotypical Chinese Husband | The Mandarin Duck

  13. Mary

    Hi!! First time commenter but long time reader 😉

    Actually what bothers me a lot about articles like those is also the stereotypes that can come out about how Western woman and Western people in general are. “Western” includes such a large group of people that have vastly different cultures (I’m from central Europe). Also people are not the same even in the same cultural group and don’t look for the same things in their relationships. It gives a very bad and wrong image of Western women, their expectations and demands ; those kind of complaints are somewhat as stereotyped as the group it is throwing stereotypes to.

    • chinaelevatorstories
      Author

      Good point. I totally agree that the stereotypes in the article work into both directions, creating a very one-sided image of Western women, a group that is so varied.

  14. I would to refer you to this one article I found online few weeks ago http://www.crisscrossculture.net/?p=256
    Pretty much it debunks most of these lame stereotypes about Asian men.

    In my experience there are plenty of Chinese guys who do not fit in the stereotype, even though I have to say my bf tends to be a little too careful with money sometimes 😉 but hey, he speaks a native English so he debunks the stereotype anyway!

    • chinaelevatorstories
      Author

      Thanks for the link to the article and for joining in the discussion! I’m pretty sure you’d also be able to find plenty of Western guys who are careful with money. The difference with Chinese guys is that they often have to support their kids, wife, parents and/or grandparents and don’t have a social security system they can fall back on, so being careful with money is only understandable.

      • You are right, the need to support elders is a big financial burden for any Chinese man. Moreover, the lack of security system forces them to save enough money to be able to handle any financial problem at any time.

        Anyway I really really like your blog and especially your blog’s graphic design! I recently discovered it and I am slowly digging backwards to read all the previous posts. Keep up with that!

        • chinaelevatorstories
          Author

          I agree. I think it’s a good thing to think of the future ahead of the time (but it’s still good if there is some balance). Thanks!

  15. My SO is Japanese, so I have to deal with a lot of similar stereotypes.
    The one about Asian men (in general) being less confident cracks me up every time, as both my ex and current SO were definitely not shy about pressing their suit 🙂

  16. Pingback: Chinese Singaporean man seeks independent Western woman with "life in her" - and reminds us of diversity | Speaking of China

  17. Pingback: Good Chinese Wife - Susan Blumberg KasonChina Elevator Stories

  18. Hi there, hope there’s still time to join this conversation; slowly reading your blog 🙂

    Glad to hear that many of us are lucky enough to “slap back” at those stereotypes, and therefore I’d like to share my experience too.

    My bf is European Chinese, so probably this can make only a little difference…anyway, from what I have seen, nowadays, Asian man (at least eastern Asian men) don’t really fall in all those stereotypes (don’t know much about the past so apologise if this may sound like these stereotypes are applicable to older generations).

    So here is my experience (which not only applies to by bf but also to friends of mine who are Chinese or Japanese and so on)

    Chinese men are shy and not sociable: not when it comes to my bf; we met at a Japanese language exchange meetup (is a biweekly event with lots of “non white” people); he’s always up for going out with friends (clubs, pubs, restaurants and so on).

    Chinese boys are spoiled: my bf, being a European Chinese boy, having 3 siblings, and not really coming from a wealthy family, is surely not spoiled!

    Chinese men are racially insecure, especially when compared to Caucasians: err, nope, despite him being 1.71m, he’s really good at self defence and tai chi, he’s really proud of what he is, especially next to “Caucasians”…plus I am midget southern Italian woman, can’t really deal with big people lol lots of struggle.

    Chinese men are traditional: he does keep some traditions in the same way I do with my Italian ones…when it comes to family and certain morals we’re pretty much the same! he also doesn’t mind showing his affection in public, and we do kiss a lot in public 😀 😀 😀

    Chinese men cannot speak English well: he’s English, he’s learning Japanese and Italian…in our case I am the foreign one who doesn’t speak English…oh btw Italian, and many other European men, cannot speak English neither! the world is not made up only by English speaking people!

    Chinese men love to save money: you darn right! Italians are famous for saving money too, both men and women…we live in an uncertain economical era, a little back up is nice…btw, my bf is always up for a date out (especially when good food is on), he loves to buy things and reward both himself and me, as well as saving money. We’re both of the idea that if there’s some spare money then we spend them, if not then is better to save!

    Chinese boys are too busy studying and men are too busy working: again, this is valid for non Chinese men as well! My dad leaves the house at 8 am and comes back (discounting the 2 hours lunch break) any time between 8pm and 10pm…I leave my house at 7:00 am and come back at 7:30 pm, or later when I am busy with work, or I work extra hours from home (and weekends sometimes)…same applies to my bf…we both love spare time, so we try to have as much of this as possible.

    Hope more women come forward to share their positive feedback 😀

    • chinaelevatorstories
      Author

      Thanks for joining in the discussion (it’s never too late) and for sharing the experiences you’ve had with your European Chinese boyfriend with us.

      “The world is not made up only by English speaking people!” Well said.

  19. I had quite a few young guys come and hit on me when I was travelling on my own in China. Most of them asked for a picture with me and it seemed as if they wanted to show off to their mates that they were able to attract a blonde westerner. So shy definitely wasn’t something I experienced from them. As for language being an issue, one mans lack of English (and my Chinese being inadequate for the situation) certainly didn’t put him off as he spent a whole hour asking the girl next to him on the bus to translate his chat up lines!

    • chinaelevatorstories
      Author

      That sounds like a fun conversation.

      Like in any other country too, in China, there are shy and not so shy guys.

  20. Pingback: China Elevator Stories is 2 and a littleChina Elevator Stories

  21. We have plenty of stereotypes in the U.S. about our Asian population. Probably the most common after “Asians are good at math” is “Asian are slow drivers.” My Chinese-American guy is phenomenal at math (seriously, who refers to Calculus as “easy?”), but he runs over the slow driver stereotype with his far-too-fast car! I’m a fast and aggressive driver myself, but I spent the first year of our relationship hanging on the the handle of the passenger door and screaming, “We’re gonna die!”

    He thought I was kidding…until the road trip when I made him pull over because I felt sick. He dreams of traveling to Germany for the Autobahn. (And the beer. He says not to forget about the beer.)

    I am so far behind on your blog, since I just discovered it. Bear with all the late posts while I catch up. It is fascinating.

  22. Matt

    I enjoy your blog! Discovered it recently after reading the book Knocked Up Abroad 😉

    I have to comment on this: “Foreign guys will spend most of what they earn and will go for top clothing brands or eat at fancy restaurants.“

    I don’t think that’s accurate at all, I have completely the opposite impression from my years in China… there is a huge concern about one’s status and people will do silly things to maintain it. Things like 30+ RMB lattes at Starbucks, Gucci handbags, buying a house and car (the best one that one can afford between cash plus debt). So, I would have argued it the other way, that Chinese are far more materialistic.

    • Nice to hear you checked out my blog after reading my chapter in Knocked Up Abroad Again. Thanks for sharing your view, I agree that many Chinese certainly don’t seem to be as attached to the money they earn as many Westerners are (and enjoy the ” big brand experience”). But then there are also lots of thrifty Chinese, so it probably really comes down to individual differences.

    • Bigflirtcleanfreakchinois

      I agree with you Matt, Chinese – in general – are more materialistic than both white(s). Props are utmost important to the single vast majority of Chinese…..peasant class.

      However, when it comes to dining, it’s a very different story: Chinese dine out for their palette, whites dine out for the sole purpose of “to-be-seen”. Chinese are obsessed with food, whites with “look” – the grandiose ambience of the restaurant. Most whites in particular American whites, suffer stunted development of their palette – they’re brought up with food, not cuisine, mac n cheez, for instance. Americans claim they’re seasoned beef-eater, when in reality they don’t even know the difference between a prime and choice steak, let alone grass-fed vs grain-finished mid-western beef, dry-aged vs wet-aged. American whites lack taste all show no substance hahaha

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *