Let’s make some assumptions here and now. My guess is you are reading this because you are an English speaking male, probably from the USA, Canada, the UK, Ireland (welcome into the parlour, but only if your name is Timothy or Pat) or from the Antipodes – Hello Bruce!
And if you are not clear on what is the “Antipodes”, welcome to the club. The first time I heard it I fake laughed along with the joke I didn’t get either until I was able to go look it up. That was good for me and it won’t hurt you to do the same. Go ahead. Go look it up. I’ll wait for you here.
Now all of that was intended as humor, which leads me nicely into the first thing you should know about dating Chinese women:
5 Things You Should Know About Dating Chinese Women
1. No Sarcasm & No Complicated Jokes
It should not come as a surprise to you about Chinese women that they speak Chinese! (and if they speak English, it is only as a second language). My attempted humor may have made you chuckle (hopefully) or it may just as easily have gone straight over your head. And, that is from one native English speaker to another.
Now if it had a 50/50 chance of flashing over your head, what chance do you think a Chinese woman would have of getting it on a first, second or even tenth date. Trust me on this, humor does not cross cultural nor linguistic borders easily.
We all know that sarcasm is an art form in the English language. It can be a form of witty repartee. But believe me, avoid it at all costs when talking to and dating a Chinese woman. You may as well be speaking Latin to a Shanghainese beauty. It will go right over her beautiful head. The same considerations apply to everything but the absolute simplest of jokes.
Don’t think this lasts forever, and that you will never get to exercise your brilliant wit again. Chinese people are amazingly clever and they love humor. Watch any Chinese group in a social situation and you’ll find them constantly breaking into laughter.
Over time and properly presented, your Chinese girlfriend will come to appreciate your sense of humor, but you’ll never get to the girlfriend stage if you insist on being sarcastic in the early dating period. My now Chinese wife has taken greatly to sarcasm, and is quite adept at it, but if I had kept being sarcastic with her when we first met, we would not likely be together today.
2. Don’t Be a Loudmouthed Know-It-All
No one likes a smartass so why would you expect a Chinese woman to like one. They don’t. Try to be humble, or at least try to appear humble, even if it is killing you. If you can’t be humble, and don’t know how to appear humble – then keep your big mouth shut! In the early days of dating keep your opinions to yourself and never, ever, be drawn into a discussion about internal Chinese politics. Be yourself, be confident but above all be quiet.
3. Be Different – Listen
Be different and listen. Chinese women are all too familiar with the “big move” and cheesy pick-up line. You know, the juvenile bluster that some men seem to believe that is what women want. Listening goes hand in hand with humility. Listen to her and learn. Try to create a relaxed atmosphere, say a meet-up for a coffee. Keep it light so expectations aren’t raised as they are when going to a movie followed by dinner. Those things can wait for later. Relax and have fun but above all listen to her.
Listening has the added benefit of preventing you from talking, especially talking about other women. Chinese women do not wish to hear about your other love interests past or present.
4. Don’t Fall for the “Chinese Women are Submissive” Stereotype
Listening also carries with it the great advantage of discovering her true nature. Don’t fall for the stereotype that all Chinese women are submissive. That may be the impression given in the early stages of the dating game but it is more to do with culture than reality. Her real character will often start to show once she gets to know you and she becomes relaxed in your company. Contrary to the popular imaginings of Western men, take heed of Richard Hughes, a popular Australian journalist in Hong Kong, and devoted long term husband to a Chinese wife, who described Chinese women as “steel rods swathed in flowers”.
5. Family Family Family
These are the three things most important to a Chinese lady. Kudos to you if you spotted that it’s only one thing! But it is so important that it’s worth repeating thrice as it is truly something you need to understand and accept to have any success in dating a Chinese woman. It’s going to stand you in good stead if you show a sincere interest in her family. I stress “sincere” as honesty is a valued commodity in family relationships in China. Any form of insincerity shown by you will have a disastrous effect on your dating plans. If you are serious about the woman, then show respect to her family at all times.