Expat dating in shanghai. Dating in China.



Expat dating in shanghai

Expat dating in shanghai

When Nikki Aaron moved to Beijing six years ago, she fell head over heels for the city — but failed to find Mr Right. So at the ripe age of 30, I have given up on trying to find my Mr Right. In Beijing, even the most average Western men are able to attract pretty Chinese girls, who seem to be under the impression that they have all the style and sophistication of Daniel Craig.

As a result, the streets of the city are filled with smug-looking Western guys holding hands with their pint-sized Chinese princesses. After all, when a Chinese girl pouts, a million hearts melt; when I pout, I resemble a fish. So where does this leave the expat women? Gorging on crispy duck and splurging on pirated copies of Downton Abbey?

However, unlike the majority of Western women living in China, who watch bitterly as the egos of below-average men swell from the admiring looks of Chinese girls, I took an altogether different approach and chose to date Chinese men instead. Most Western women shy away from the prospect of having a Chinese boyfriend: To me, though, these obstacles seemed like things that would make a relationship more interesting.

But then I always have had an unusual taste in men. Even as a teen, instead of practising my snogging technique on a poster of Nick from the Backstreet Boys, I would be daydreaming of Lister Craig Charles from Red Dwarf.

By my late teens, when my friends were chasing football players, I had developed a thing for men with long hair. Nikki with her Chinese ex-boyfriend Having a native boyfriend was like being given a key to China.

I learned so much more about the country, its people and their values during the three years we were together. It was fascinating to be with someone from whom I learned something new every day. Thanks to that relationship, I can speak colloquial Mandarin including the kind of swear words that one should never, ever use and prepare traditional Chinese dumplings with the speed and skill of Ken Hom. I also understand what really makes Chinese people tick. I know that when I have dinner with my boss, it is best to make sure that his cup is always filled with tea, and that the quickest way to impress someone is to ask whether they have eaten.

Give lots of gifts, pay for dinners and, oh yes, remember to acknowledge that the Chinese invented pretty much everything. However, as in any relationship, small things — which at first made our relationship unique and extraordinary — started to become exasperating after a while. His mother, although I adored her, was overbearing.

She would call him several times a day with the most useless advice, to instruct him to wear a coat because it was cold outside, or to remind him to drink more water and ask him endless questions about his health. Although I admire the strong bond people here have with their parents, being with a man whose mother plays such a fundamental part of his life undermines any sense of a mature relationship. My Chinese girlfriends often moan about their exhausting mother-in-laws, who become jealous if their son pays his wife too much attention.

It was an accumulation of things I found increasingly hard to ignore, such as his criticism of Western women who he would condemn for being overweight, aggressive and too easy and my deteriorating patience with his personal habits the stomach-churning sound he made as he spat in the bathroom sink — a daily habit of most locals — or his insistence on wearing the same unwashed clothes for several days in a row.

We Brits have been brought up to consider personal hygiene and table manners as second nature. So when you move to a country where talking with your mouth full of food, street-side nasal cleansing and communal squat toilets are a feature of everyday life, you have to develop higher tolerance levels along with a strong stomach.

But in the end the sight and sound of my beloved slurping his way through a dish of noodles, his face half an inch from the bowl as he sucked the meal into his mouth like a top-of-the-range Dyson, was enough to extinguish any flames of passion. I have now come to the conclusion that my romantic endeavours will always be severely tested while I remain in China.

I am faced with two options: My extended stay in Beijing has also rendered me a complete misfit back home. After six years away, my speech has become a cacophony of English and Chinese, decipherable only by fellow bilingual expats.

I have picked up lifestyle habits most Westerners would find bizarre — the weekly cupping therapy that leaves me looking as though tiny spaceships have landed all over my body, the flask of hot water and green tea leaves I religiously carry around with me — and I find little in common with those who have no experience of a culture outside their comfort zone. I am not only an alien in China; I have become an alien in my home country, too.

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Living in Shanghai - Expat Interview with Ryan (USA) about his life in Shanghai, China (part 1)



Expat dating in shanghai

When Nikki Aaron moved to Beijing six years ago, she fell head over heels for the city — but failed to find Mr Right. So at the ripe age of 30, I have given up on trying to find my Mr Right. In Beijing, even the most average Western men are able to attract pretty Chinese girls, who seem to be under the impression that they have all the style and sophistication of Daniel Craig.

As a result, the streets of the city are filled with smug-looking Western guys holding hands with their pint-sized Chinese princesses. After all, when a Chinese girl pouts, a million hearts melt; when I pout, I resemble a fish. So where does this leave the expat women? Gorging on crispy duck and splurging on pirated copies of Downton Abbey? However, unlike the majority of Western women living in China, who watch bitterly as the egos of below-average men swell from the admiring looks of Chinese girls, I took an altogether different approach and chose to date Chinese men instead.

Most Western women shy away from the prospect of having a Chinese boyfriend: To me, though, these obstacles seemed like things that would make a relationship more interesting.

But then I always have had an unusual taste in men. Even as a teen, instead of practising my snogging technique on a poster of Nick from the Backstreet Boys, I would be daydreaming of Lister Craig Charles from Red Dwarf. By my late teens, when my friends were chasing football players, I had developed a thing for men with long hair. Nikki with her Chinese ex-boyfriend Having a native boyfriend was like being given a key to China.

I learned so much more about the country, its people and their values during the three years we were together. It was fascinating to be with someone from whom I learned something new every day. Thanks to that relationship, I can speak colloquial Mandarin including the kind of swear words that one should never, ever use and prepare traditional Chinese dumplings with the speed and skill of Ken Hom.

I also understand what really makes Chinese people tick. I know that when I have dinner with my boss, it is best to make sure that his cup is always filled with tea, and that the quickest way to impress someone is to ask whether they have eaten.

Give lots of gifts, pay for dinners and, oh yes, remember to acknowledge that the Chinese invented pretty much everything. However, as in any relationship, small things — which at first made our relationship unique and extraordinary — started to become exasperating after a while.

His mother, although I adored her, was overbearing. She would call him several times a day with the most useless advice, to instruct him to wear a coat because it was cold outside, or to remind him to drink more water and ask him endless questions about his health.

Although I admire the strong bond people here have with their parents, being with a man whose mother plays such a fundamental part of his life undermines any sense of a mature relationship. My Chinese girlfriends often moan about their exhausting mother-in-laws, who become jealous if their son pays his wife too much attention. It was an accumulation of things I found increasingly hard to ignore, such as his criticism of Western women who he would condemn for being overweight, aggressive and too easy and my deteriorating patience with his personal habits the stomach-churning sound he made as he spat in the bathroom sink — a daily habit of most locals — or his insistence on wearing the same unwashed clothes for several days in a row.

We Brits have been brought up to consider personal hygiene and table manners as second nature. So when you move to a country where talking with your mouth full of food, street-side nasal cleansing and communal squat toilets are a feature of everyday life, you have to develop higher tolerance levels along with a strong stomach.

But in the end the sight and sound of my beloved slurping his way through a dish of noodles, his face half an inch from the bowl as he sucked the meal into his mouth like a top-of-the-range Dyson, was enough to extinguish any flames of passion.

I have now come to the conclusion that my romantic endeavours will always be severely tested while I remain in China. I am faced with two options: My extended stay in Beijing has also rendered me a complete misfit back home.

After six years away, my speech has become a cacophony of English and Chinese, decipherable only by fellow bilingual expats. I have picked up lifestyle habits most Westerners would find bizarre — the weekly cupping therapy that leaves me looking as though tiny spaceships have landed all over my body, the flask of hot water and green tea leaves I religiously carry around with me — and I find little in common with those who have no experience of a culture outside their comfort zone.

I am not only an alien in China; I have become an alien in my home country, too.

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1 Comments

  1. She would call him several times a day with the most useless advice, to instruct him to wear a coat because it was cold outside, or to remind him to drink more water and ask him endless questions about his health. However, as in any relationship, small things — which at first made our relationship unique and extraordinary — started to become exasperating after a while.

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