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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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Sow and Ye shall Reap    

By Garreth Humphris
2374 Views | 7 Comments | 9/12/2012 11:15:16 AM

Buddha shaped pears

I have been thinking about how our sense of reality might have a big impact on the actual reality we create. Yes, I know I am not the first to pick up this idea - but I have been reading the forums a bit lately and couldn't help notice an interesting pattern - some of the female writers were writing with great passion about 'cheaters' and how they are again disappointed that all men were like this - but maybe the pre-conceived notion that ’all men are bastards’ may have given rise to a abnormally low tolerance point of acceptable behaviour.

What I mean by this - if you are a male and you are overly watchful for 'gold-digger women' then does this mean that you spot this tendancy a long time before it actually exists? Are you actually being unreasonable with the women you are writing to when 'money matters' arise? One necessity of any successful marriage is to try to build a stable financial situation, and thus, it might be a reasonable assumption to expect a lady may be interested in this important prerequisite...but just like one swallow does not a Spring make, is a few general queries about finance a significant sign of a gold-digger? I doubt it, but if you are searching for signs of untoward money-focussed activity, the mere mention of money may put you in Danger, Danger, Will Robinson mode!

As you saw from Peter's recent blog, the fairly honest appraisal of (paraphrased) if you are speaking to more than one lady on CLM, then they will not like/understand/tolerate it and you might have to tell a (white) lie.

For many Western males, the chance to come to China and meet just one lady is an expensive and possibly misguided trip if your one lady friend turns out to be not as expected!

As a Western Male, it appears to be a ’natural’ conclusion to increase your chances of success by having a number of options available - not that I think this makes me a 'bad person' because I know immediately I have found the 'right' lady, CLM and all it’s distractions will be out of my life! As well as looking at ladies walking by and all those other things I currently do now!

I can back this up with an anecdote (not proof, but a single feather in the wind) - a few years ago an older male associate of mine came to China and visited me here in my ’Chinese hometown’. He had been conversing with a number of Chinese ladies by email - and was particularly taken by a lady living nearby my city. He had focussed on her and emailed her for at least 6 months, had many video-chats and was planning a life with her and her daughter both in China and eventually back in Australia (once the daughter finished school!).
He excitedly went off to this meeting one morning, but called me later very perplexed - she was nothing like the lady he had conversed with, she lacked the spark on the video chats - I explained the “Chinese home-town disadvantage”, arranged to meet her again without the chaperone (well, I drank tea with the chaperone for 3 hours out of gaze and earshot- as a good wingman does!) as they tried to ’recover' from ’traditionalwoman-itus’ but to no avail.

A few days later, as he moped around the house, I encouraged him to contact another lady on his email list, one that he had chatted to a few times, and emailed generally, but not seriously (he hadn't connected to her in 3 months) - luckily she was travelling, and was in Shanghai, so we went there quickly by train - 12 months later, after he had returned home, they married. Had he been a 'one-option' man, maybe the outcome might have been different!

Maybe this just shows how 'fickle' Internet dating can be - western men are looking for attractive women, but deciding on something 'not possible to deduce by email' whereas some Chinese women are immediately deciding based on one or two 'promising' contacts! 
Is that something to do with Western skepticism of media, I wonder, or is it a deeper social source?

Do Chinese women “trust” immediately but scan for trouble, whereas western men “seek evidence” before committing? It would certainly appear to be this way!

So, getting back to the original idea, are the ladies complaining about 'cheaters' selling themselves short in this regard? Are they focussing so heavily on catching their friend in a dishonest or untruthful situation that they make this one - the first small hurdle of their relationship - that issue? And in doing so, are they not vindicating their initial assertion!

Of course, this is the human condition - we are always testing and validating our ’personal worth’ against others - and our whole social network is one endless round of measuring, ranging, rating, competing and classifying! Competition keeps us alive!

The issue is are we setting ourselves up to fail? Are we setting “win/lose” scenarios that the other person doesn’t know about...

Now, most Western men can identify with these 'rules';
Scenario 1:
If he buys me flowers, he loves me - if he doesn't buy me flowers, he doesn't love me. 
Scenario 2:
If he doesn't regularly buy me flowers and today he does, he must be guilty of something!

But what exactly are the 'rules' of Chinese Dating? How can we ’know the rules of the game’ if we have never played it before? Or more importantly, how can we teach the other person the limit of our flexibility on issues, so they don’t break our personal limits?

The key point here is not to look at what the other person has said or done, but what your response to that might actually be - and whether that response is understood in a culturally divergent circumstance!

Good luck on the journey!

Copyright owned jointly by Author and CyberCupid Co., Ltd. Breach of copyright will be prosecuted.
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(Showing 1 to 7 of 7) 1
#2012-09-12 12:14:32 by Indonesian79 @Indonesian79

Good article, I also feel the same with my experience.

I also think it has to do with these typical Chinese ladies who work longer and harder. They work at least 8-10 hours a day and a lot still work 6 days a week. This cause trouble for them to have time to invest on finding their special someone.

#2012-09-13 10:06:00 by woaizhongguo @woaizhongguo

Hey Garreth, glad to see you back and another great blog. You are certainly right about the expectations we bring to the table impacting how we view things. I think one competing set of expectations is that Chinese women are seeking for an acceptable mate while Westerners are seeking for the ideal mate. Many Chinese might think your friend was too picky, but if you have an ideal in mind, than one little thing can sabotage the whole situation, whereas if you are looking for a merely acceptable person, then the potential mate would have to have some major character flaw to cause things to fall apart. I truly think each side has to recognize these competing expectations and learn how to deal with them.

The story about your friend also reveals the absolute necessity of an in person meeting. You can tell more in the first two seconds of such a meeting than you can in dozens of letters and video chats. Which is why it simply makes sense if a Western man can only make one trip to have several women he can contact. But as you point out the likelihood that this strategy is going to be misinterpreted. I am not sure what the solution is.

#2012-09-13 17:11:52 by xin73 @xin73

Yes, I also read recent forum posts. I do not want too much comment, but I want to let all men understand "whether you are Oriental man or is a western man", Some women for money and marriage view, is not representative of all Chinese female perspective.

The foundation of marriage, in today's society on the surface is the only money is everything, not also, a person. Want to have a sincere heart. Good heart, and entrepreneur spirit . Only wisdom, to create wealth, and wealth to more happiness.
Marriage and money, with a philosophy to analyze,both are independent of each other, and not interfere with each other, but are closely linked. Each person's values are different, the selection of marriage is different. Some people think that as long as have feelings, what all don't want,some people feel that no money what all not line. not who is right and who is wrong, just everyone's point of view is just not the same.
In my opinion, the feelings are more important, marriage is a lifetime thing, you want a lifetime with a person to live together, the feelings of course is a foundation, followed by the money, no money can be earned, no feelings can only endure!
The concept of marriage and money, if the money-based and the high material premise consideration,unlikely have really feelings and not have true love!Marriage and money is the Chinese feudal stage comprador marriage social product. I think Chinese modern young women ask for man to rear his own,is the "feudal" thinking of the vestigital . Women need to work independently, economic independence, it is a kind of inevitable,men and women in love, the most precious is the common creation, common cherish a family. don't care who support who, after all, the family is composed of two people.
Some Chinese women for money and marriage of speech, and can't represent all Chinese women and their thoughts are consistent..
Gentlemen do not disappointed, excellent Chinese women are a lot of. wish you good luck!




#2012-09-14 08:26:47 by gravics @gravics

Hi Garreth, I really enjoy reading about your experiences in China. Your articles are well written and your insights are invaluable to me.

#2012-09-14 10:25:49 by jonno @jonno

Amen, aussie on that human condition. All of us want to trust as far as we can take it while avoiding disappointment. I'm not sure i am understanding what happened to your friend on his second date. Can u describe this hometown disadvantage?

It IS bad judgement for first timers not to have at least 3 women with whom you have conferred for several months (verify-verify) before you board the plane. Avoiding preconceived notions is good advice. Its them damn liars and cheaters who give dating a bad rap for both sides. )-:

Recently, over at a Filipino site i chatted 2 weeks with a woman who had posted extremely gorgeous pics. She raised no red flags, but she'd not turned on her cam. Friendship is more important than appearance, she argued, and claimed men wanted only cyber sex, and she was tired of wasting time. She had seen me, but i could not convince her that i was a serious guy. I argued that establishing physical attraction was just as important. I don't want to waste time either. We ended it. I will never know who she really was, nor her I.

Games need rules; love requires only a little cooperation and trust between the participants. I believe if you're serious about finding someone, lying can never lead u down the right path. Tolerance certainly has no place in this. If you are making her uncomfortable, then something is wrong with your approach. If you're straightforward and not veering and dodging, then you leave the woman with a clear choice. If she can't respect your situation than i contend she is not ready for a relationship with a foreigner.

All this skirting around, out-guessing our dates, or trying to redefine limits only add to the ambiguity. How about honesty as a necessity? Truth can't fail. That includes being truthful about ourselves. Truth cuts through all cultural differences. It crosses the great divide between men and women, no matter what the race. It defines character, and character is what every good woman really wants. Remember, if you remain abstinent in these dates, then about what can she accuse or complain? I suggest we grow some balls here, make our situation clear, and let the chips fall where they may.

#2012-09-14 12:10:35 by aussieghump @aussieghump

Jonno: "Hometown disadvantage" is that state whereby a person must conform to the 'rules' of the situation rather than maybe their 'natural unhindered exuberance'.

In this case, the lady had a chaperone, met in a 'neutral space' where neither was comfortable and would have been well aware of the local 'catcalls' of her seeing a 'foreigner' - even if the man was unaware of it.
This place was a smaller town and she was probably a customer of the nearby shops and businesses so she would have been quite self-conscious and quite 'proper' - to the point of appearing 'aloof'.

In business, you can often have 'deep and insightful discussion' with someone to have a 'poker face savant' when his boss is standing beside him.

So it is a 'double story' in that what my friend was expecting from emails and video chats was a vibrant person - and who he met was not!
It is his own problem for expecting too much - and also not understanding the situation his lady friend was in and, also a complication, with the lady wanting/needing/having to conform to coquetish social graces.

Agree with your '3 strikes rule' - before you outlay cash or jump in too deeply you want to test the water (but with reference to Peter's blog...isn't that 'lying'???)
It is important for a visitor to actually enjoy their trip to China - and see it's richness and diversity - and not just come for the express purpose of meeting ladies! Single-mindedness in all situations is not really a good situation (unless you are in danger!). So having an 'alternative plan' like travelling to another city, seeing some sights or having another distraction is a good option.

Agreed also with your summation that many Chinese women may not be 'ready' for a relationship with a foreigner in the respect that they may not see the 'relevance' of our questions, read our mood and body language or sense 'danger' in our comments and responses and body language and that they may apply 'known to Chinese' criteria in the actions of others. This is an interesting topic which we are trying to explore a little.

Truth cannot fail - well, it is not truth that is the problem. I feel it is the interpretation of the facts/truth for the person's perspective and what they intend to do with the 'truth'. This is a problem.
I suspect that maybe you are taking a 'my way or the highway' approach and if that personally fits for you, great! But laying all your cards on the table at the beginning hand is either a very boring game of cards, or a great way to get thoroughly whooped if the others are not doing the same!

i don't even think we are into the 'deliberate/calculated courting mindgames' yet - just getting to the social 'norming'!

#2012-09-14 12:16:20 by aussieghump @aussieghump

Gravics - thanks for the comments.

I have been accused by my friends - Chinese and foreign alike - 'that 'I think too much' about these things and 'just see what happens'.

While I agree in part with this summation, I do think that trying to understand the motivations and drivers of others helps you to better understand the person!

I am sure that - when the right person comes along - all 'analysis' will be out the window and I will be floundering around like the next person! But until then....

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