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John Abbot is co-owner of ChinaLoveMatch.net. Married to a lovely Chinese Lady and living in China, John knows and respects China, Chinese Women, Chinese People and Chinese Culture. His blog will include good stuff about Online Dating, Chinese Women, International Relationships and Things Chinese. Join John Abbot on Google+
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Sajiao: Is It Unbecoming of Chinese Women    

By John Abbot
14101 Views | 21 Comments | 9/30/2013 5:26:47 PM

The pouting aspect of sajiao can quickly wear thin when dating Chinese women.

In so many ways, Chinese women make perfect life partners not only for Chinese men, but for foreign ones, as well. The reasons why they are sought-after by countless foreign men go far beyond their physical beauty. At the same time, Chinese ladies are not all perfect. Some of them, especially the less educated and sophisticated such as those from smaller communities or rural areas, practise certain behaviors that men from their own country may be used to, and even find attractive, but which foreign men may find bewildering or downright unappealing.

One such type of behaviour is known in China as “Sajiao.” There is no direct translation in English, but it encompasses a set of characteristics that includes being cute, sweet, teasing, playful, demanding, childish, innocent, and/or bratty. At least, any combination of these is what most Chinese girls go for, and how their behavior is perceived is also dependent on the object of the sajiao.

As for the behavior itself, it often involves pouting, baby talk, eyelash-batting, foot stomping, and, well you probably already get the idea. Most Chinese men are already accustomed to sajiao and are very vulnerable to it; in fact, they even expect and, sometimes, look for it when they’re in a relationship.
Obviously, they tend to see sajiao in a “positive” light; perhaps it gives them the feeling of having butterflies in their stomach, or warmth and fuzziness?

What is the goal of such behavior? Chinese women often resort to sajiao when they want their man’s attention or when they want their boyfriend or husband to do something for them. They “sajiao” to pluck at their man’s heartstrings, so to speak, or make his heart melt, or make him putty in their hands even. Some Chinese ladies are better at it than others, and with those who are good at it, and don’t indulge in dramatically over-acting, it can be very cute and appealing, even to western men.

However, when performed by those girls who are “drama queens” and overact in everything they do, sajiao seems very manipulative and off-putting. Many foreign men actually see it as such and do not care for it. It is probably the one behavioral difference between western women and Chinese women that they find very hard to understand, much less tolerate.

In a lot of ways, sajiao is a strategy to get a man to do what his Chinese girlfriend or wife wants him to do; this is very similar to how some western women use sex to manipulate their mate. Actually, if a foreign man looks at it from that perspective, he may find the Chinese way more harmless, probably even adorable (unless, of course, the foreign man prefers a western vixen’s way.)

Given its nature, and the fact that Chinese women are used to sajiao rarely failing to achieve its purpose, the behavior, in the wrong woman, can have the natural tendency to turn into a full blown temper tantrum. Again, this can be likened, more or less, to a western woman being a diva, although a full-blown sajiao is closer to a spoiled brat throwing a fit. (Arguably, the line between the two is very thin.) Regardless of a western man’s possibly finding the “cute” aspect of sajiao to be endearing, if it is taken to the extreme of a full blown temper tantrum, it will be unbearable.

By way of examples, I had a brief Chinese dating relationship with one Chinese woman in Shenzhen. She had relocated from a small central China city, and resorted to Sajiao a lot. It was briefly endearing but that quickly wore off as she was almost constantly acting in a somewhat childish manner. She was in her late thirties, and I my early fifties at that time, and yet I felt like I was dating a child. For this and other reasons, our relationship never developed into something long term.

I also had a long term relationship with a Chinese woman who was very effective in her use of sajiao, only very occasionally adopting this character, and doing so in an subtle way. I found it attractive in such moderation. Unfortunately she was prone to the extreme temper tantrums and these were so fierce and damning that they were gut wrenching to the extreme. That relationship also didn't last, but mostly because she was not sincere and was basically taking me for a financial ride. The temper tantrums were just the icing on the cake.

My current Chinese wife rarely if every resorts to sajiao, or if she does it is so subtle that I haven't actually recognized it for what it is. For western men I think in the long run this is the way it should be.

From the western point of view, the childish nature of sajiao, when taken too far, can become very unattractive and character unbecoming of a woman who is in an adult relationship. Cross cultural issues in a relationship are already difficult enough as it is, and certainly leave no room for childishness from either the man or the woman. A foreign man who is seriously searching for a life partner and is invested in making a cross cultural relationship with his special Chinese woman work, most especially, may have very little patience for such behavior.

But for many Chinese women, sajiao is also their way of letting their man feel more dominant and that he’s the one in charge in the relationship. At least, that is how it is often understood between a Chinese man and a Chinese woman. For others sajiao simply is a tool of manipulation; but most of the time, the behavior is well intended and harmless enough, albeit potentially annoying for some foreign men.

When dating Chinese women, it is understandable if a foreign man feels that he cannot put up with a Chinese woman behaving in such a way; but he must also consider the fact that such a behavior can be unlearned and, if he’s committed to making the relationship work, then he must accept his woman for everything that she is; certainly, he also has traits that his partner will find annoying but which she will also be willing to learn to deal with appropriately. After all, they will have the rest of their lives to work through the childish stuff, and meanwhile the many great qualities of Chinese women should well override the issue of having to tolerate a bit of sajiao now and then.

Having written all of the above, I can't help wonder if I maybe I have misunderstood the purpose or reason for sajiao, or maybe the true nature of it, so I am very interested to see what our Chinese members have to say on the topic. Feel free to correct me if I have blundered.

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Comments
(Showing 1 to 10 of 21) 1 2 3 More...
#2013-09-30 20:13:07 by anonymous7481 @anonymous7481

呵呵,,撒娇, 卖萌,装天真,,,或许是女人对付男人的‘利器’,但如果不分场合,不分时侯的乱用撒娇,我看,那和‘犯贱’没啥两样,虽然也有曾有情感专家说,撒娇如何如何对男人好使,,当然我也同意,但我还是觉得,撒娇并不是万能的唯一对付男人好使的武器,女人如果滥用撒娇,反倒会让男人感觉很讨厌 很廉价 也很贱。

#2013-09-30 21:45:13 by yeranyi @yeranyi

I think " Sajiao" is a Chinese-style romantic love. Western men do not understand the style ,just as we Chinese women do not accept the Western- style ...haha

OK, maybe when chinese women " Sajiao" to you, just want to be love more ,and expect your attention,your care ...or maybe just shows her love .....

#2013-10-01 08:37:10 by anonymous7484 @anonymous7484

@John - I have to say in my own experience, you are absolutely spot on. This is how the Chinese woman acts to get the man's attention. It is actually quite refreshing, especially to those who have great familiarity dating western females. Sajiao is a type of communication between the woman and man which is easily recognizable and understandable. It is very logical. Compare that to the knife-wielding, glass-throwing, expletive-screaming, psycho-ranting you get with a western female. No logic. No communication. Just attacking the man. You never know where you stand with a western female. Every day and night is fright fest. With a Chinese woman life is logical and reasonable. So refreshing and so low stress! Go Sajiao!

#2013-10-01 09:11:37 by prana @prana

所有的女性都会撒娇,只是撒娇的对象、方式有所不同……

同事之间姊妹般的撒娇,是在她们希望帮助的时候。

我也和我的母亲撒娇,那是希望我的母亲肯定我……

撒娇的在汉语中,它是这样解释的:撒娇一般是对亲近的人使用的手法。比如子女对父母,恋人之间等等,也用于为人处事的时候一种可爱的表现。。

一些男性说话“娘娘腔”似的,中国人也会说是“撒娇”。

如果是亲密爱人的撒娇,你应该懂她的“亲昵”。

如果是其他人的撒娇,就笑一笑吧,不要放在心上。

人有各种性格,“包括可爱的,甜美的,戏弄的,好玩的,苛刻的,幼稚的,无辜的,和/或讨厌的。”所以你永远也不会知道他、她们的心思是什么。

你还记得我发表过一篇文章说:公司有一位新来的小MM,她家就在离市区十几公里远的小城镇里。

她看到我的办公室里有一张床,就对我说:她中午只要在这里休息一下,下午下班了就回家。

我同意了…………

就在最近的这几天,她又同样的“撒娇”地讨好我,让我同意她这样做:准备把两间办公室共用的一扇门,用砖头封闭起来,这样她就单独拥有了一间办公室,而我不再使用那间办公室工作。

“撒娇”有时候是很拒绝的。

只是这样一来,我的麻烦就来了:我的一台机器、还有其它的资料就在那间办公室里,我的工作怎么办?我的另外一间办公室已经不能再放置一台机器了,难道我要露天工作吗…………

我只能拒绝:太贪婪了:得陇望蜀!

所以,有些人的“撒娇”,还是不要理睬的好!

#2013-10-01 19:42:06 by melcyan @melcyan

My Chinese partner tells me we "sajiao" each other. It is only a problem when what is being sought is unreasonable. We don't seek unreasonable things from each other.

#2013-10-01 21:07:05 by destiny1 @destiny1

When a woman loves a man will often "Sajiao", no feelings session does not "Sajiao". I do not know Western men like it or not a woman "Sajiao"

#2013-10-01 23:35:51 by sandy339 @sandy339

It is an interesting observation.
Yes I think to some Chinese women, they might sajiao to get whatever they want from their parners on the condition that their parners like it, and maybe a lot of Chinese men buy it… and these women are smart enough to judge it…
But to some decent and independent Chinese women, if they sajiao to their parners, it would be a way to show love and intimacy to the ones they love, and by doing so, they don’t expect any other things from them. It is not that easy to do it, if they don’t feel love and intimacy to them.
So maybe we could judge whether it is unbecoming of Chinese women or not by the objective of these behavior? To the former ones, sajiao is a means to their end, but to the latter ones, sajiao is just a way to show love and intimacy, this is just my thinking on it.
It is interesting to know, most of western men might not like it? But I think some innner feelings transcend even among different races, and anyway up to now I think I could talk them over in most cases…

#2013-10-02 02:57:02 by anonymous7497 @anonymous7497

有时对待一个爱撒娇的人,最好的办法,就想对付一个顽皮不懂事的孩子,不必去理会,让他尽情的撒,撒到一定时侯,自己就会感到没趣了,以后这毛病自然就会有所收敛,说白了,撒娇,其实也是被人惯出来的毛病。

#2013-10-02 07:53:30 by RobertB @RobertB

I am sorry to say, sajiao to Aegyo of Korea.
Sorry, because it is Chinese site. Yet, I have had some Korean experience as I come from places where I met Koreans and for us it is hard to distinguish between Chinese and Koreans.
So, I remember when I met a lady, I greeted her in Chinese and she told me then that she only understands Korean. It was a lesson for me that not every Asian speaks Chinese.
Yet I want to add that I have come across sajiao,
as aegyo is concerned I saw only in movies..
Actually this type of behavior is not totally limited to Asia.
In Europe women do something like that, it looks differently and so on, yet it is as much bewildering as this. I would say, that normally in any country women will sometimes behave in a way that men may find strange.
Part of it is to make men stop thinking, it is kind of hypnotic attack.
I was attacked once by French American girl in Scotland.
We were working together in the same company.
Later we went out to town and she all of a sudden performed such antics that I ended up buying her roller skates. At first I wanted to oppose her, yet then the shop assistant saw this and I did not want to look stupid and bought her that. In fact, She was young, just about 20 and she could have been my daughter, I did not want to look like bad father.
Basically no defense. I mean, if she had tried to use some other means she would have failed but this.. Maybe because I never had a child of my own so when I saw that someone thought she was my daughter I had no choice.
Later I took her back home and she carried on doing whatever she was doing and there was no more talk about it.
The problem is that sometimes there might be hard to oppose in such situation, especially if she knows what she is doing and a guy is clueless or put in situation that he cannot defend, especially if he does not want to defend. I think this is the main way to achieve certain things.
Let us say, you want something from your man but you know he does not want it. So, you need to put him in a situation that to oppose you would mean that he would have to give on something else that is very important to him at that moment, even if this is highly psychological or maybe especially if this is of psychological value.
I think that women are not stupid and they adjust tactics to whatever situation. So, they choose the best strategy. Granted not always works but there are no perfect weapons.
There are hard and soft ways to achieve goals. Soft ways are often more effective and victim is left sometimes not knowing that he was attacked or even worse can even support the attack..
It only seems funny, it is not limited to sajiao again, we can see this everywhere in politics, commerce and religion, everywhere where people need others to either do something for them or convince them of something. Men do that too. It just looks different.

#2013-10-02 08:15:22 by RobertB @RobertB

I think that sajiao can be treated as a form of blackmail. I want to say again that it does happen in the West. It is just different. The difference is like between Japanese katana and Western longsword. Both deadly, yet in different way. Longsword is stronger in attack when hits the target, yet katana is much easier to use and in skilled hands can deliver blows that leave man standing and then he is gone. Goes through most armor anyway.
So, the lady basically is saying::: Look I am so soft and endearing, all for you. Now, do you agree that this is better than --- here she can demonstrate the opposite.... Also, by being childish she tries to tell you that she is highly unpredictable (Western women are sometimes unpredictable anyway, so they do not always have to prove it this way) and that you cannot blame her. So she intimidates you psychologically.
I do agree that using sajiao to the extreme shows that she does not treat her man too seriously.
On the other hand a little sajiao is good.
It is like with everything. You need variation in moderation.
Topic is good and interesting. As I tried to mention before, men can and do use it too, just they do it differently.
It is funny, maybe men do it in more subtle way?
It is most of the time when men are treated as if they had no sublime feelings and tastes. Yet they can have those too.
So, despite the fact that there are differences between cultures and genders I believe that certain characteristics can be found everywhere..
Aha, and yes, it can mean totally different things in different situations, performed by different women on different men.
It is like game of chess. By looks it seems that only there are few moves.
In reality there are many reasons and ways to play it.
As an aside I want to show this:
"There are 318,979,564,000 possible ways to play the first four moves of chess.
In addition, America's Foundation for Chess found that there were
169,518,829,100,544,000,000,000,000,00... ways to play the first ten moves of chess. " source Best Answer Asker's Choice Yahoo answers
The Green Bishop answered 4 years ago
http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20100306195331AAq9Zji
It is hard to believe , yet the source is there, it is not my calculation.
Yes, so how many reasons and combinations can be of sajiao??
Real life situations can be modeled mathematically.

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