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)?
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
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.
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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”.