Sep 25, 2009 By Susie Gordon ,

"It’s not fair." I often whine to my French boyfriend. "It’s like a playground for you western guys here in Shanghai. All the Chinese girls fancy you." "It’s not my fault." he says with a Gallic shrug. "Anyway, a lot of Chinese guys look at you, too." "Only because they see me as a freaky Amazon woman with yellow hair and hips the width of their shoulder span." I grumble.

"But you don’t fancy them, either." he reminds me. And it’s true. The last thing I want to imply is that I’m racist by discounting a whole country’s worth of men, but I don’t find the majority of Chinese guys attractive. Nor do I actively dislike them – it isn’t that; I have Chinese friends who are guys. I just don’t see them in a sexual light. It doesn’t help that I’m nearly six feet tall; I tower over most men, whether in China or elsewhere.

Dating chinese guys
Photo: JasonDGreat

To get some alternative perspectives on the issue, I sought the opinions of two friends of mine who do like Chinese guys. One of them is 20-year-old Lucy, a British student who is studying Mandarin in Shanghai. She has been in China for just under a year, and has dated only Chinese guys. Her first boyfriend was ‘Peter’ who she was with for a month.

"Peter was my first dating experience in China." she says. "He was originally from Suzhou and was studying in Shanghai. We met in M2." What followed were several weeks of tentative courtship. Lucy felt that Peter was too shy to tell her what he wanted from their relationship, and that she was doing all the groundwork. "It might sound anti-feminist, but I think that girls enjoy being pursued by guys." she told me. "With Pete, it was always me who instigated a kiss, or suggested places to go on dates. It made me feel somehow unfeminine."

After splitting up with Peter, Lucy started dating Ming Sen, a 24-year-old accountant from Shanghai. It was a different experience altogether. "It was as if Ming Sen had mapped out our future together from the beginning." Lucy said. "He made it clear that he was rich enough to be good husband material, and introduced me to his parents within a week. Absolutely unheard of back home!" The pair parted ways after three weeks, as Lucy wasn’t ready for the sort of relationship he wanted.

So would Lucy date other Chinese men? "Of course." she says. "Why not? I find Chinese guys really cute, physically. I love China and Chinese culture, so it makes sense that I like Chinese men. It’s stupid to generalise; they’re not all like Peter and Ming Sen. I just haven’t found Mr. Right yet."

The second friend of mine to receive a grilling on the issue of Chinese boyfriends was Paul. Half French and half German, 23-year-old Paul lived in Shanghai for a year doing an internship, and has been out of the closet since he was 19. He thinks that Chinese guys are "warm, patient, and devoted", and says that they believe in relationships, unlike western gay guys who are more into sleeping around. He has never encountered any homophobia in Shanghai, even when holding hands with guys in public. However, it hasn’t all been plain sailing. Paul dated a Hangzhou guy called Fei for six months. Fei came out to his parents about the relationship – something that isn’t too common – and surprisingly they were cool with it. That was until Fei turned 24 and his parents decided it was time for him to ditch Paul and settle down with a wife. Fei had no choice. He loved Paul but felt that he couldn’t disobey his parents’ wishes.

"It’s still a huge taboo to be a gay guy in China, even Shanghai." Paul says. "Guys don’t really live alone. They either live with their parents or with their wives, so there is a lot of secrecy surrounding gay relationships. Blind eyes are definitely turned in a lot of cases."

I also spoke to some other female friends of mine who have never dated or fancied Chinese guys. There is no general consensus. One girl blames physical incompatibility. Like me, she is no shorty, and can’t imagine herself dating a guy smaller than her. "It’s superficial, I know." she admits. "But I don’t enjoy feeling like a woolly mammoth beside my boyfriend."

Another friend cites the place of Chinese women in society as her reason for steering clear of Chinese guys. "I don’t feel that women are seen as equal in China." she says. "So why would I want to date a guy who is part of that culture?"

Australian Jess says she would happily date a Chinese guy, if one would show interest. "Whenever I’m out at a bar, it’s always some sleazy westerner who comes up to offer me a drink." she laments. "I see so many good looking Chinese guys, but they all seem so shy!"

So in conclusion, it clearly pays to keep an open mind about dating, in every respect. Who knows – your perfect guy might be just around the corner, and he may be Chinese.


Related Links

Yellow Fever: Why Western Guys Date Chinese Girls
The Unmarried Millions: China's Trend in Dating Older Women
Money Honey: The Cost of Dating in China

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32 Comments Add your comment


China man liker

I was like you too many years ago. I just didn't think that Chinese men did it for me physically, but then I realised I couldn't have been more wrong! Date a Chinese rock musician or artist instead! They're mostly open minded and 'Westernized', are can be casual and laid back about relationships, don't necessarily obey their parents and like to party just as much as you do. I don't know what the man situation is like in Shanghai, but I see tall, strong built hunks, I mean men, every day here in Beijing. Or have you tried looking for a man in Tibet? You can't deny the masculine allure of a handsome, long-haired Tibetan men now can you?!!!

Sep 26, 2009 02:02 Report Abuse



I don't know how this comes to be but most chinese guys seem really effeminate to me. There may be big strong tall hunks out there (the security guards at clubs?) but when the giggle and wrestle with each other it gets a ltitle wierd.

Sep 28, 2009 19:22 Report Abuse



What you thought is what you got. I understand sexual attraction is very dominant in mate seeking, well, in fact, speaking as a young man myself, supposedly "effeminate and shorty" to you for example - I stand at a bit over 5' 5" - I consider myself even more visual than my female counterparts. Surely there's no one to blame, not even yourself or myself, if we just can't find a potential mate after all. Some of my really tall female counterparts also complain about the extreme lack of local (Chinese) guys tall enough for them. But I can see that, when they approach their 30s, if they still can't get any partner out of the height issue, then standing at exactly 6' they, I'm not assuming anything, might well have to accept anybody even shorter than that. So I don't say what I expect of a potential mate as explicitly as some others may. I know that, when I expect sth of sb, somebody will also expect sth of me. Then, I shouldn't be too picky. That won't do good for me.

Dec 02, 2009 09:59 Report Abuse



I'm wondering sth else too about the height issue: if implicitly some women are expecting men to have something more than them - height, weight, money, or status-wise - then they are already NOT seeing themselves as equal in a strict sense. I didn't discuss that with any western girls I met at all, but implicitly they did imply that they wouldn't consider me for the height issue, among others (such as cultural differences, a lack of humor, well, since I don't understand them and their humor either...). I won't say this is shallow tho. For example, that Finnish girl I met, who stands 174cm, does have her intuition justified to go for a western guy slightly taller, sharing similar cultural backgrounds, than sb like me. It does make sense to choose. But then, when all is said and done, women who are higher (in anything) will have no more justifications if Chinese men in their eyes, who are usually lower (in anything), don't care for them at all. That sounds fair to me.

Dec 02, 2009 10:05 Report Abuse



hi pls can you send me your e-mail an number i need you as a friend am Nigerian Jos plateau state

Apr 13, 2010 04:32 Report Abuse



I am a latina living in China%2C and no%2C as much as I%u2019d like to fancy Chinese guys%2C truth is I do not... At all. Again%2C it could sound racist. If thats the case%2C I am really sorry%2C thats not the idea%2C I think there are good/nice guys%2C like everywhere else but I cant lie %26 say I am attracted to them. Im not. They dont seem confident to me or passionate- which I very much value in guys-%2C %26 the all spitting and burping doesnt help either...

Aug 18, 2010 05:22 Report Abuse



Well%2C it is really obvious that foreign ladies don%u2019t date chinese men%2C maybe there is but very rare. first%2C the values that we see in them. yes%2C the spitting and burping alone is disgusting. Its not being racist but talking about facts. I am a foreign teacher here for long time and that is what i can see.

Aug 18, 2010 23:48 Report Abuse



Hey baby why wanna choose chinese guys...when real%2C well built strong%2Chandsome%2Copen minded black guys are all over china to excite you the girls to hola at me for sweet talks...

Aug 19, 2010 14:45 Report Abuse



hey slim guy%2C we are all foreigners here and it does not mean that as a foreign lady%2C i can just date anyone. we have our own taste and that dating is not for fun but a normal process to know more somebody who maybe fits you for good.

Aug 19, 2010 23:01 Report Abuse



The number one raised my brows is noticing that the Chinise men aren%u2019t gentleman. I know most and they admitted that. Take a bus and these guys even rush and push just to get a first seat. Look at a couple carrying a bag of groceries%2C the lady carries the two heavy bags while the guy carries her handbag. I asked myself %22are these okay with the Chinise women%3F%22
Another thing is spitting as yellow said. Even spit that phl@gm inside the room.

Aug 20, 2010 02:43 Report Abuse



i respect every culture%2Ctraditon and religion......but i think that chines guys are not as much gentleman as the phrase in the up colunm.....if the have their loved one they can leave her bcz of parents denyl.........the other thing is they are still so much traditional.........

Aug 20, 2010 22:37 Report Abuse



Where do Westerners get the idea that they just tower over asians- like asians are just some dwarfs? Asians are some really big people and their sizes range the same as Westerners. I think it’s mental because the numbers dont add up.
Height isnt a big deal. It seems likie most woman wants someone taller than them. Ive never understood why?

Sep 02, 2010 19:26 Report Abuse



I support u rene, in fact height isn't a big deal especially when we're speaking about true love...bcoz I have one friend who is having relation with a girl taller than him...but they enjoy being together...and they are from different country...both are foreigners.

Feb 27, 2011 00:14 Report Abuse



It has to be acknowledged, though, that even if you are attracted to Chinese guys in general, they don't always want to date foreigners. (Granted, I work at a military school where they are forbidden from marrying non-Chinese, but many of them have told me that even if that weren't the case, they wouldn't date a foreigner anyway.) It doesn't help that lots of Chinese guys want the tall, blond-haired, thinner foreign girl. This could also be based on location, I've never lived outside of my medium-sized Chinese city but maybe in Shanghai or Beijing things are different.

Feb 28, 2011 01:02 Report Abuse


Dating Chinese guy

At first I thought Chinese guys were really unattractive and had once vowed to never date them. One reason being I am dark-skinned and they have this wrong idea about blacks. But last year I met a Chinese guy whom I was really attracted to and to my surprise he was too. Surprisingly so because he is young and very Chinese. It was weird at first but then with time we have gotten used to being together, albeit the stares we get from other Chinese people. Being here for 5 years has really opened my eyes about them and all the myths I was used to hearing kind of faded away after we started dating. Most Chinese guys would not go for a foreign girl, and those who do mostly go for Caucasians. All I can say is that I was lucky and hope it actually goes further.

Apr 13, 2011 06:44 Report Abuse



good luck to you two :)

May 01, 2017 20:43 Report Abuse



This article is exactly why Western women have a bad reputation amongst straight men. It shows the idiocy of a society that trains women to think like men. You're reduced to nothing more than a prostitute. And what type of men do prostitutes have as friends? GAY MEN.

Sep 06, 2011 23:18 Report Abuse



I think in general, I think that, (and so do most Chinese), men and women are quite equals in Chinese society. Yes there are some families who favor boys over girls but there is now a new thinking that girls may be better due to less competition when they get older. In a lot of households the husbands are very whipped by the wife, and does whatever she says. Of course, there are households where the opposite is true and the husband has mistresses. All in all, if you average them together, it is quite equal, but when you experience it, it is probably an alpha male or alpha female household, not a true balance.

Dec 27, 2011 02:20 Report Abuse



I'm currently dating a Chinese guy. he's amazing. he's actually way more romantic, passionate, respectful, and gentlemanly, and treats me better than any Western guy I have ever dated. I also love how he's not afraid to be feminine, like how many Western guys are. it's so refreshing. my only complaint was how long it took for us to get together, and how at first he wasn't very aggressive or initiative, like how Peter was in this article. initially, he actually sort of didn't believe me when I told him I liked him and was pretty intimidated by the fact that such an 'independent' (as he said) Western girl had taken a liking to him. he told me he had a similar feeling but I could tell he was sort of scared/shy. it took a little bit of help from me to get the ball rolling lol. which was kind of strange but fun since I have never been the pursuer. but at the same time, I wanted him to 'be the man' and the pursuer in the relationship. I was sort of pursuing to get him to pursue me, if that makes sense. he finally got the hints I was giving him and started moving in at the pace I wanted though, thankfully!

it's true, some Chinese guys can be shy and perhaps not as 'manly' or aggressive in the sense that Western guys are... but try to give one a chance! you could be very pleasantly surprised at how great of a partner they might be!

Apr 08, 2012 23:40 Report Abuse



In the beginning I was sure too, that Chinese guys were not for me, but I love China so much, so I gave it a shot, when I were there.
I met a lot of different types.
But I first found the right one, when I went back to my own country, because this guy had all the Chinese valuables, but he had also been in my country long enough to know how we behave.
I think that's a good combination for me :)

Apr 20, 2012 04:11 Report Abuse



I like to date! if you want, contact me! I am excellent in english.

May 30, 2012 20:49 Report Abuse


frank fletcher

hi nice c u

Oct 11, 2012 19:39 Report Abuse



i think a big reason why most chinese girls don't like chinese guys is because many chinese guys remain virgins all the way into their late 20's, so not much experience there.. an then there's the problem below the belt.. hard to compeat with western guys

May 26, 2012 01:37 Report Abuse



What they lack in gerth they make up for in skill and strength......;) Just sayin!

Jul 29, 2012 09:46 Report Abuse



I'm a gay white male, and I find some Chinese men very attractive. I have met a lot of Chinese guys who are very sweet, sensitive and kind, and loyal. I'm only 5'8", and I do fancy a guy who is taller, and some of the most stunning Chinese men I have met are tall, though shorter Chinese guys are hot, too. And I would absolutely consider marrying a Chinese guy, regardless of height.

Jul 08, 2012 13:07 Report Abuse