Chinese Women, Asian Women, Online Dating & Things Chinese and Asian
Gareth is an Australian who has lived in JiangSu, SuZhou (Heaven on Earth) for a few years - he is a keen observer of the Chinese people, Chinese culture and the changes that are occurring in China at break-neck speed. He can often be found on his a nightly 'perch' in front of his bar in the famous Bar Street in Suzhou, talking to the locals in his bad Mandarin, teaching the 'flower-selling girls' English, eating street food and smiling at the local chengguan (neighbourhood police). Gareth also has several other businesses in China around Business and English training. His experiences have been varied and interesting and his years in China have taught him to be wary of promises but excited about prospects, not a bad situation to be in!
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Post-wedding Blues    

By Garreth Humphris
2202 Views | 4 Comments | 11/19/2011 10:53:42 PM

Well, it happened! One of my in-China friends got married last weekend in a nice ceremony in a garden in SuZhou. He, and his lovely Chinese partner, managed to howl-down opposition from her parents, her older brother and the next-door neighbor and get married. Although Father seemed happy, Mother definitely wasn't, scouring 95% of the time. And so starts another chapter in the China Book of Life!

So after this event, you can imagine the ’lip’ I've been getting from staff, students I teach and others who know of the situation...if my friend can 'do it' then why can't I?

My responses to the constant heckling alternate between “he's a lucky man, finding a beautiful wife to fight for him!" and "no girl in China likes me!”.

I've concluded, after a discussion with another China-hardened associate that “I've been here too long, seen too many things and lost too many times!”, which all seems kind of morbid and morose, but in fact isn’t too bad!

The biggest trouble I find is that most Chinese people cannot seem to understand the western concept that you can be “happy” just being yourself! In whatever marital form that takes! Even the ones bitterly unhappy in marriage almost forcefully want you to be married, so you can be “happy”. And if you are even slightly reticent to the issue you are crazy and/or a playboy.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not opposed to marriage - if and when a suitable partner comes along then I would consider a future married life together. It's not out of the question, it just hasn’t happened yet...maybe it will, maybe it won’t”...but I am not going scampering around like a rabid dog looking for it!

But in China this appears unacceptable - I'm branded as being too fussy, of being selfish or worse. But here’s the thing...I’m not just looking for a person to satisfy my family or society, I’m looking for a partner - for better or worse, richer or poorer, sickness or health - and I haven't noticed that person yet!

In China, there is a traditional idea that a coupling is almost like a business transaction - and in many ways it is. The girl is “goods and chattel” to the family and in China’s close-knit families, the influence of mother, father and older male siblings is never far from the surface. The traditional idea is that the girl is being 'sold' to the new family (since she will travel there, cook and clean etc) and that the girl’s family need some recompense For bringing her up - to say that this does not still prevail is untrue.

These days, you want my daughter, she has to have a house (so if you divorce, she gets some of it!). So the boy’s family raises the 300K RMB deposit and he takes out a 30 year mortgage for the rest.

I have spoken to women who would not ever consider talking to a man who didn’t own a house, because 'getting married' would be impossible without one. (Let’s see how the “new ruling” on pre-wedding assets pans out to see if there is a change).

I ran through the scenario with one of my students last week - he's around 24 years old, just started working and takes home around RMB2500 per month, of which he can save about 500-800RMB after renting his room, eating and sending money home to the family. He has around 4-6 years to get his house organized and get married! How can he do it? Truth is, he can’t! Even through promotions and hard work, his salary may only double in the next few years! Hence the family loan and the albatross around his neck before he even finds a girlfriend!

I too am a little like this guy - I live and work in China, not as an expat (whose money comes from some other country at a higher exchange rate) and I too don't have ready cash to be buying houses, cars and the like! So I too am not as attractive financially as others! (and i'm certainly not as physically attractive as i would have hoped either).

You might argue (like some of my friends do) that I have 'more potential' or some other weird connotation - but in an environment where I don't speak the language, read the marks in the newspaper or understand the meaning of them, I don't have too much more than anyone else... seriously, my 'potential' is set at my current level unless some miracle in Chinese Learning hits me... or maybe, just maybe, love!!!

So getting back to the start... maybe a wedding might change a few things! Not sure if I'm actually ready for it to be mine just yet!

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#2011-11-19 23:03:12 by JohnAbbot @JohnAbbot

Hey Garreth, it's always good to hear from you again. My only comment here would be that I think you have some serious potential that the average Chinese guy doesn't have, because you are extremely knowledgeable about the differences between "us and them" and also extremely good at writing about it in a very clear and entertaining way. Personally, I see a book in your future - that speaks to some real potential. BTW, I am still trying to get to Suzhou :)

#2011-11-20 02:23:36 by tanshui @tanshui

I see a hidden gem in your posting for those western guys who want or need to get a Chinese woman to leave him alone:

Simply tell her that, not only do you not have any savings such as stocks or bond, but you also do not own a house back in your home town.

For the most part, in my experience, many Chinese women do not have any idea of the concept of investing in the potential of a western guy even if the prospects are good and not simply pie-in-the-sky.

Of course if they did invest themselves in him and his prospects go down the tube then they are stuck with supporting him.

Hmmmmm, maybe they have a good point of view. hahahaha

#2011-11-21 09:59:32 by abi513 @abi513

Good posting Garreth! Your experiences usually mirror mine. It's especially true about the quandry young Chinese face wanting to marry and live together, but having to battle the cultural norms expected you mentioned with limited future earning potential. It's so sad.

I hope you write more often, and PLEASE include some photos associated with your real-life experiences!

#2011-11-24 23:50:03 by randyteacher @randyteacher

Yo Garreth,
Even though I know you personally, I agree with the other guys, I enjoy your writing style and hope to see more of it. As to this particular trek in the wilds of China, I'm right there with you, I've been turned down by my potential mates because I don't own a house anywhere, neither here nor my native Canada, never mind that I have no desire to even own a car here, never mind having to drive one here. A bicycle or e-bike is good enough for me, but I've heard too many ladies lamenting that they need more. There are too many cars on the road now and I need to add another disaster in the making? Who made up these rules?
Anyway, thanks for being the voice of reason here, you're doing a good job, keep it up.

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