He is even more foreign than the foreigners! (他比外国人还外国人！) sighed out my mother-in-law one day about her son. And I can very well see her reasons on making this remark about my husband, he surely doesn’t fit the stereotypic box of Chinese men that articles like 8 reasons why Western women rarely marry Chinese men try to put them into.
The original post appeared on the China Daily Forum, from where the beginning of the article was transformed into a post on The World of Chinese. The article instantly got lots of comments on Facebook saying it gave the wrong impression on Chinese men and women with Chinese boyfriends and husbands mainly disagreed with the overgeneralizing post.
A fellow blogger from China elevator stories already shared her side of the story aka How my husband defeats almost every stereotype (some) people have about Chinese men. Now it’s my turn to take a look just how “well” my husband fits this stereotypic description.
1. Chinese men are shy
On the night we first met, Alan was the one to stay and talk with me late into the night. He was also the one to take my hand and give me the first kiss. I would say my husband is the opposite of being shy as he is always the active one in making friends and arranging barbecue evenings for colleagues.
Being a stereotypically introverted Finn my self, my head is sometimes spinning on how quickly Alan manages to make friends no matter where he goes. Perhaps he was a bit nerdy when still at school, but he was beaming self-confidence when I met him.
2. Chinese boys are spoiled
In Finland we also have the stereotype that children without siblings are a bit spoiled, but no matter if that’s true or not, my husband does have a little sister who does a fine job on bullying and making jokes of him. In terms of parenting I’m sure I have gotten the easier way with Finnish parenting style, a far cry from though Chinese parents that demand a lot from their kids.
Alan has always done things his own way, working hard after graduation to work on jobs that could help him to improve his skills. He is even studying for a Japanese language undergraduate degree while working full-time and flying across the South China for business.
It is true that Chinese parents do take care of their children perhaps more than other parents do. We are very grateful for his parents to let us move into the old family house and help us renovate it to its current stage. Also when still living with the parents, my mother-in-law did do her best to spoil us by cooking, cleaning, washing clothes, buying as fruits and so on. While I was still thinking of hanging those clothes to dry, she had done it already!
But spoiled? I think there has been a good balance of a caring mother and demanding parenting in Alan’s youth that has helped him to become the independent and ambitious person he is now.
3. Chinese men are racially insecure, especially when compared to Caucasians
The stereotype I have that we are all introverted, shy and insecure compared to Americans. For some reason, the Americans I know are all very self-confident people and now exactly what they want and speak about things as they are.
But no one surely hadn’t told Alan that he should feel inferior just because of his ethnicity and nationality. He never though I would be out of reach just because I happen to be a Westerner and he is not.
4. Chinese men are traditional
What actually constitutes as a traditional Chinese man? Well, according to the articles on China Daily and The World of Chinese it means…
Traditional people are usually not open-minded and will cut on romance, public displays of affection or even a good make-out session – a very integral part of a foreign woman’s fantasy.
I do happen to know Western girls that date traditional Chinese boys, but my husband isn’t one of them. He has held my hand since day one no matter where we go and ignores the curious stares we get on the streets. When we used to take the same metro to school and work last year, he would always kiss me goodbye before getting of.
Romance perhaps is a one things that my husband could learn about. In China girls like to be pampered and drowned with gifts and flowers when dating, but when the married life begins, they prefer cold hard cash. As I have lived quite a secure life in the West, I don’t have many requirements for getting rich, but I’m girly enough to love romantic date nights. I just hope that next time a date night out doesn’t mean my husband takes me to watch Need for Speed.
Luckily things aren’t black and white, even Alan isn’t the most traditional man on the block, he still posses many good qualities of being a good Chinese man. He takes care of me and his family, always planning for a good future for us. He even carries my handbag if I want to! (See the photo above.)
5. Chinese men cannot speak English well.
Guilty as charged! Alan’s English was quite rudimentary when we met, but at this age and time, it isn’t a problem at all! We foreign Women are learning Chinese and using Mandarin as the prime language of our relationship. Ruth from China elevator stories even writes how she isn’t sure of her husband’s English skills as they have Chinese as a love language.
6. Chinese men love to save money
How does saving money affects on not being able to marry a foreign bride? According to the original article, spending money seems to equal romance. Of course if date night means dining in the most expensive restaurant in town, then sure being frugal could hurt you. But at the moment I would rather have a candlelit dinner at home eating something my husband have made him self!
Being good with money is actually one of the qualities I admire in Alan. Unfortunately I’m the person who is rich the first two weeks of the month and poor during the rest. My husbands good attitude towards spending money and saving it have had a big positive impact on me.
And is there anything more romantic that having a husband who wants to save money so that we and our future kids can have a good future together? (Not to mention how Alan often speaks how he needs to make money to buy a new laptop and mobile phone for me!)
7. Chinese boys are too busy studying and men are too busy working
My husband works for a Japanese company and in Japanese working culture official working hours doesn’t really mean much. You just can’t leave the office before your bosses and superiors go home. In both Japan and China it’s also a custom to treat customers for dinners and alcohol covered karaoke nights when signing the deal.
My husband often travels in South China because of his work, this week he was away two nights, next week three nights. But working hard and long hours doesn’t mean that a Chinese guy doesn’t have time for their loved one. For example right now he has a three-day holiday for the Dragon Boat Festival and he made sure to spend it with me.
In my husband’s case he wants to work hard now so that when we have children he would have more time to be with us.
8. Chinese guys are relatively less social and out-going
Like I mentioned throughout this post, my husband is far more social and out-going than me. He thinks “the more the merrier” when I would just rather hang out just the two of us.
For a billion people, Chinese night clubs are too empty on average and since most foreign ladies hang out there, and Chinese men don’t go to them, they don’t get to meet the ladies.
The above claim on the original article doesn’t seem to ring true according to my findings. KTV might be the number one way for the Chinese people to have fun, but if you like bar hopping, those are full of both Chinese and foreigners here in Guangzhou. Not that a bar or a club is the best way to find your The One, but for me and Alan it luckily worked out.
Just like Ruth’s husband, Alan doesn’t really fit the overly generalized box of Chinese men painted out in the article. It is true that there are still far more Foreign men with Chinese wifes, but I predict that more and more foreign women will find their love with Chinese men as well.
How about you? What do you think are the reasons that few Western women marry Chinese men? And is your boyfriend or husband more traditional or more foreign?