If you are a Western man into Chinese dating, and especially if you have traveled to China or been living there, you must already be aware of the infamous curiosity of the Chinese when they come into contact with foreigners. Some find it amusing; others find it impolite and annoying. Over time, foreigners realize that it is “one of those Chinese things” that come with life in China, especially when dating Chinese women.
“How old are you?” “Are you married?” “What are you doing in China?” “What kind of work do you do?” “How much do you make?” Certainly, to those who are not Chinese, these questions are very personal and even nosy. After being asked (very persistently, too) the same questions by practically every new Chinese person they meet, the experience soon becomes quite monotonous and they develop a standard strategy of dealing with the line of questioning, as well as a nonchalant attitude toward this Chinese pattern of curiosity.
For guys with a Chinese girlfriend or wife, if they don’t achieve a nonchalant attitude, and let it get to them, it is bound to create a huge rift in their relationship, because their obvious peevishness is going to make them and their Chinese love look bad in the eyes of her friends and family, aka “losing face”. Their Chinese dating experience is going to hit a big bump.
Since China has opened itself up to the rest of the world, increased interactions with foreigners have made the country more aware of the need to improve their people’s sensitivity to other cultures, whether they are abroad or at home. In fact, before the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, the government released a “Courtesy Guide Relating to How We Should Engage in Conversation with Foreign Friends And Not Invade Personal Privacy or Offend Taboos.”
The guidelines were aptly called the “Eight Don’t Asks Courtesy Notice,” and were published by the media and also posted in public places all over Beijing during that period. This is what the notice said:
Citizens, please be mindful that in your exchanges with Foreign Friends during the Olympic period that you:Should not ask about a person’s income or the way they spend their money; Should not ask people their age; Should not ask people about their ‘love lives’ or marital status; Should not ask about people’s health; Should not inquire after a person’s residential address; Should not inquire about an individual’s personal history; Should not ask people about their religion or politics; and, Should not ask a person about their profession.
Fast forward to today, and most Chinese still subject foreigners to questions that are a normal part of conversation among the Chinese and which they honestly do not find inappropriate, but which most foreigners consider very intrusive. This is true even in cities where there is a huge foreign population, as well as in areas that are not as popular to laowais.
While, to a foreign man, such inquisitiveness may seem insensitive and he may feel that his privacy is being invaded, he must remember that as the guest in China, he has the greater responsibility of adjusting to the other person’s culture.
It is true that the Chinese have a lot to learn about “acceptable” and “unacceptable” social behavior, as international or western standards define these terms, but when there is no ill intention on the Chinese’s part, a foreigner must not react with disrespect. Any form of “ignorance” does not excuse bad behavior from either one, after all.As a foreign man who is Chinese dating, especially when you have serious intentions of finding a Chinese wife, you do have to learn to adjust to such “curious” behaviors. You must have an open-mind and have the patience to indulge certain culturally-influenced conducts and attitudes. These traits are important if you ever hope to have a successful cross-cultural relationship with a Chinese woman.
Chinese dating and cross-cultural relationships present unique challenges, but they can also be very rewarding and, for many foreign men, they take them closer to the realization of their dream of finding a Chinese wife. One can find invaluable information about these and all things Chinese on the blogs, forums, and magazine of ChinaLoveMatch.net, the home of trusted Chinese online dating.