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There are hardly enough books depicting foreign women with Chinese boyfriends or husbands. When you have a Chinese husband or boyfriend, sometimes you feel as if you belong to a lonely club. One of my dearest e-mail friends, a woman from Germany, once found me on the net because she had a — then — Chinese boyfriend and yearned to find someone to share her experience with.
Off the top of my head, I can think of Rachel De Woskin’s Foreign Babes in Beijing: Behind the Scenes of a New China and Repeat After Me: A Novel, Nicole Mones’ Lost in Translation, and Pearl S. So I began to wonder — why are there so few Chinese guys and foreign girls becoming couples?
I don’t doubt he loved me in the beginning — but once his family knew, I suspect they made it clear that there was no future in what we had.
Even my own husband was first told by his parents that he could be friends with a foreign girl, but not date her.
Rarely have they been depicted with traditionally masculine traits.
With a few exceptions, Asian men on screen have been small, sneaky and threatening — or spineless, emasculated wimps, or incompetents who may well be technically proficient in martial arts, but impotent when faced with white man’s superior strength or firepower. Even today, Asian American men complain that action heroes such as Chow Yun Fat and Jackie Chan rarely get the girl.
The experience was so traumatic that he never sought another foreign girlfriend again.
On the other hand, there are Chinese men — and their families — who would be happy to have a foreign woman in the family. For example, my good friend in Hangzhou, Xiao Yu, once told me that some Chinese men cannot overcome their feeling of inferiority — that being an American girl, a citizen of one of the most powerful countries in the world, made my presence somewhat intimidating.It’s easy to gauge this reality on the website Candle for Love (CFL), devoted to helping US Americans bring their loved ones over from China.CFL is like a tidal wave of American men in love with Chinese women, with only a rare American woman/Chinese husband surfacing to break the monotony. Several years ago, when my husband enrolled in a New Oriental class in Shanghai for GRE prep, the instructor warned all of the Chinese men: “If you’re going to study abroad, prepare for four lonely years.” The underlying message was, don’t expect to fall in love — but be pleasantly surprised if it happens.Still, despite the odds, sterotypes and other barriers, it does happen that Chinese men and foreign women get together.It happened for me — and a growing number of other women, including bloggers such as the Local Dialect, The Downtown Diner, and Wo Ai Ni.