Any foreign man seriously seeking a Chinese wife who flies off to China without bothering to learn what behaviors are considered acceptable and which manners are deemed improper will, more than likely, find himself in some awkward situations, if not excruciatingly and regrettably embarrassing.
Even if a foreign man is completely ignorant of Chinese proper conduct and behavior, he should at least be ready to deal with the Chinese way of minding their p’s and q’s, with an open mind and an eagerness to adapt. After all, “When in China, do as the Chinese do,” especially if you want to earn points with your special Chinese lady.
Going on an actual date with a Chinese woman, be it for the first time or the fifth, can already be rife with difficulties. Being the center of attention of all the Chinese around you because you’re a white man out on a date with a Chinese woman can make it an even more stressful experience. Not being sure of how to properly conduct yourself is one thing; not knowing that you should be aware of how you should conduct yourself is another. In fact, it can be a deal-breaker for your object of affection right then and there.
When going out to dinner, for example, and you’re not used to spicy foods, your body will naturally react by increasing production of mucus in your upper respiratory tract, aka your nose. If your mother didn’t teach you that blowing your nose at the table is a disgusting habit, then you should know now that this is a universally frowned upon behavior. Even more so in China, public display of nose-blowing is considered impolite.
If you start sneezing, you should already know to cover your mouth and say “Excuse me.” If your nose starts to drip, don’t let it of course! Grab a napkin to dab your nose with and excuse yourself. Just make sure not to leave the napkin on the table. Do your nasal affairs in the restroom.
Now, if you and/or your date ordered seafood, they will most likely be served with the shells still on the shrimp and the bones still in the fish, and so on and so forth. If you see your date using her hands to remove the shells from her shrimps and spitting out fish bones on her plate, don’t stare! Don’t look disgusted. This is acceptable dining behavior.
You may want to do yourself a favor, too, and start using your hands instead of looking clumsy with your knife and fork or, worse yet, just chopsticks. If you’re not comfortable spitting out shells and bones on your plate, you can do it on a napkin.
So the Chinese food was great, despite your dripping nose and the spitting you had to do. Your date was great company; she was very considerate, in fact, and even tried to educate you on how to eat the Chinese way without making you feel like a baby being taught how to eat for the first time. The date is going well; the awkwardness has subsided. You don’t even mind the stares anymore.
Then you feel gas rising from your stomach and up your esophagus. Maybe back home, you hold the state record for belching. Of course, back home, burping at the table, especially when you’re eating out and even more especially when you’re on a date, is considered inappropriate. As these thoughts rush through your head faster than the gas is rising toward your mouth for release, you know it’s going to be another record-breaker.
Luckily for you, burping after a meal is actually considered a sign of satisfaction and is completely acceptable. Your date will even be pleased because she will know that you had a good meal. But if you feel that it’s going to be a really big one, then you might still want to grab another napkin and cover your mouth to
muffle it some. Again, an “Excuse me” will not hurt.
Your dinner date went better than you expected! Your special Chinese lady seems to be really enjoying your company, too, and you feel confident that there will be subsequent dates and they will be just as pleasant, if not even more so. The bill arrives. For goodness’ sake, don’t blow your chances now by going Dutch!
Most Chinese women expect the man to pay for dinner when they go out on a date. You may meet some who are more westernized and will offer to pay for their share, but whether or not you know your date well enough to be aware that splitting the bill is okay with her, always choose to be a gentleman.
In addition to the general rule of doing as the Chinese do, another general rule of thumb you should keep in mind when in China is this: when it comes to involuntary bodily functions, such as sneezing, burping, and even passing gas, the Chinese actually do not mind; they understand that these are natural things that cannot be controlled. Other behaviors that can actually be controlled and are voluntary, such as blowing one’s nose or whining about the food, are not so easily forgiven.
Discover tons of great information about Chinese women and Chinese dating on the blogs, magazine and forum of ChinaLoveMatch.net (the home of trusted Chinese dating), where international men and Chinese women share their life experiences and bare their souls to give you the real goods on love, cross-cultural relationships, and all things Chinese.