Editor’s note: As is the norm with these translated articles, it is best to take it with a pinch of salt. This article, first published on people.com.cn, is particularly tilted towards the male perspective but then also makes statements such as “Men are subconsciously chauvinistic”. Nonetheless, it is an interesting view into to psyche of Chinese men who are looking to get hitched and what they look for in a potential mate.

courtship rules in China
Source:Made Underground

1) Men Are Concerned about Women’s Pasts
When looking into a woman’s past, men are not only looking at the woman’s dating history. They are more interested in her sexual history; specifically whether or not she is a virgin. If the woman is not a virgin, a man will want to know how many other men she had ‘close contact’ with before she met him.

Men customarily have pre-marital sex, but do not take any responsibility for their own pre-martial sexual behavior. Men feel that it is fine to have casual sex before marriage, but at the same time are strict regarding their future wife’s sexual history. This results in situations in which women who have a lot of pre-marital sex have a difficult time finding a husband when they are old enough to get married. On the other hand, men who have many pre-marital affairs find that it does not impact their marriageability in any way. 

2) Men Care about Women’s Motives for Love
In spite of declarations of love, men still care about women’s motives for love, especially women who have had many pre-marital affairs. Men have a sense of superiority. When in love or dating, they want women to love them because of their looks or talent and not because of their material circumstances. For this reason, if a woman is dating a wealthy man, she must not openly show her desire for wealth and material objects, or else the man will begin to begrudge her and eventually ‘kick her to the curb’.  

3) Men Are Concerned about a Woman’s Family
When young people are dating they will often discuss the woman’s family conditions. A man will think highly of his future wife’s family if her parents have a lot of social power or influence. With influential in-laws, he himself will have to struggle on his own for fewer years. A man will also think highly of his future in-laws if his girlfriend’s parents both hold steady jobs. Moreover, it is best that the man’s girlfriend is the youngest among her sisters. If she is not the youngest, it is better that she has a younger sister rather than a younger brother. This is because after marriage a man does not want to unexpectedly be asked to find his wife’s younger brother a job, help him get married or help him buy a house. It is very difficult for a man if his future wife’s parents are in bad health or are unemployed. Because of this, a woman’s family conditions are an invisible indicator when a man is considering her as his future wife.

4) Men Care about a Woman’s Career
Men are subconsciously chauvinistic. Because of this, the overwhelming majority of men will not choose a successful career woman or a woman in a higher post than them for their wife. Men subconsciously want to maintain good face in their community. The majority of men would not marry a secretary because the world knows that secretaries and bosses have close, constant and often confusing relationships. Prejudice exists in society and in the subconscious minds of men. Therefore, many men will not marry women who work in nightclubs as they feel that this kind of work is trashy. Men dream of marrying a woman who is an office worker or a similar position. This class of work will give the man face, be a source of steady income, and will allow the women to take time to take care of the home after marriage.

Source: ifeng.com

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Keywords: Chinese men Courtship in China unwritten rules of courtship

39 Comments Add your comment



The mainland Chinese male (I have to make this discrimination) is chauvinistic and will be for a long time to cone. We've seen it on our daily lives. They can visit bars, brothels, have mistresses and as many girlfriends as he wants. When it's time to find a wife, her dating history comes under tremendous scrutiny. After marriage, the husband can still fool around but the wife can't. What logic is this? For myself, I don't really care what background my girlfriend comes from. Once we are seriously together, we'd both stop dating other people. Outside of China in developed countries, men and women share equal rights as far as relationships go. I don't think men here can accept that. Their mentality is still in the stone ages. With luck and hope, the next generations will have better gender equality.

Apr 02, 2014 00:16 Report Abuse



Times are changing. Women fooling around on their partners is growing. I met some Chinese women into that stuff....

Apr 03, 2014 22:11 Report Abuse



Great :-)

Mar 11, 2015 09:31 Report Abuse



"kick her to the curb." LOLed

Apr 02, 2014 03:06 Report Abuse



I absolutely love the amount of western culture superiority complex going on in the comment sections on this site. so nobody went to college and learned the concept of cultural relativism ? Gender equality as progress is such a western concept, and we Chinese have our own way of doing things. And we are doing just fiiine. It's funny, really. In the current Chinese culture when it comes to dating, a man must provide his wife with a house and car prior to marriage, and apparently he cannot ask her tough questions related to her past nor have a say in his preference of her career and family. Oh, and marriage is supposed to be for life btw. Do you realize how absurd this is? It's like you are hiring a new CEO for your billion dollar company, and guess what, you can't have a preference in the past careers of the candidates. Now, you can argue the validity of the standards by which the Chinese men are choosing their wives, but again, there are no better races in the world, only different races, and there are no better cultures in the world, only different ones.

Apr 02, 2014 10:16 Report Abuse



"we Chinese have our own way of doing things. And we are doing just fiiine" So you mean that domestic violence is fine, and because anyone who is a foreigner objects to this, we are bad people ? Also, most foreigners don't accept the demands of girls for a house and car prior to marriage as ok. Likewise a man asking a woman 'tough' questions is not fine. Equally, most foreigners would hope and work on a marriage for life, not as a temporary state. Absurd? Probably. What you are saying seems to be that most Chinese don't see it as a life-long commitment.

Apr 02, 2014 11:29 Report Abuse



what I'm saying is that gender equality as progress is a western idea, and you are judging the Chinese culture based on your understanding of your own WESTERN culture. If you took Anthropology 101, then you should know that you can ONLY appreciate and understand a culture from within, and no culture is better or worse than one another, only different...

Apr 03, 2014 09:38 Report Abuse



so are you saying that the domestic violence endemic within chinese society is ok because i am foreign and i don't understand? How is this or the mistreatment of women and children not a bad thing for ANY society? I have witnessed the casual violence regularly and you suggest i should accept this? Until women are treated as equal contributors to any society, they will continue to be property of their families or husbands and be treated as such.

Apr 03, 2014 12:43 Report Abuse



what I'm trying to say is that you should never judge another culture based on the comparison drawn from your own culture. The fact that you say that the Chinese mistreat their children shows how little you know about the Chinese culture, really. I'm not saying you should accept anything. My argument is entirely that there are no better or worse cultures, only different ones

Apr 03, 2014 17:28 Report Abuse



What you are actually saying is human rights are subjective (in your opinion), not universal. There are better and worse aspects to every culture. This aspect is definitely one of the worse!

Apr 03, 2014 20:02 Report Abuse



http://www.echinacities.com/news/Kidnapped-Yunnan-Woman-Reunited-with-Family-After-20-Years. Children are treated like property here, to be bought and sold.

Apr 04, 2014 23:54 Report Abuse



http://www.businessinsider.com/chinese-nurse-arrested-for-selling-babies-2014-1 most children bought and sold within China remain within China.

Apr 06, 2014 00:12 Report Abuse



http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1324599/Mother-pleads-guilty-shaking-baby-death-interrupting-playing-Farmville.html Children are treated like nuisance, to be killed.. I think I'm really making a sound argument here when I can link a story to prove how accurate my generalization of an entire society is... good stuff

Apr 06, 2014 10:24 Report Abuse



i think you will find the instance of mother's killing babies quite rare in european countries, and are pursued vigorously by the law. Whereas baby-stealing is not rare in China. Shall i also refer you to the baby-hatch recently shut down in Guangzhou due to the number of babies being abandoned? I don't think you will find such a thing in Europe/North America/Australia/New Zealand. And 2-year-old Yueyue, left to die by indifferent passers-by. shall i go on ?

Apr 06, 2014 12:14 Report Abuse



you could, but I think you might need to improve your reading comprehension skills. The argument, or my initial argument rather, was that there are no better or worse cultures, only different ones, and gender equality as progress is a western notion, we Chinese have our own DIFFERENT understanding when it comes to the issue of gender equality. Your problem, still, is that you are generalizing a society of over 1.3 billion people based on the thousands? tens of thousands? people affected? I bet I could find way more Americans (especially in Colorado or Washington)who think that America is a totalitarian state. Does that mean it's true then? Wake me up when you learn more of the Chinese culture, or find me a number that's north of 10 million

Apr 07, 2014 10:57 Report Abuse



i have been trying to understand your meaning: can you please explain exactly what the 'Chinese understanding of gender equality' is?

Apr 07, 2014 23:01 Report Abuse



http://www.echinacities.com/news/Gay-Man-Fakes-Marriage-and-Buys-Baby-Online-to-Hide-his-Sexuality-From-Parents i noticed you gave up responding when the comments got too tough. It appears that MOST of the babies stolen are for the domestic market.

Apr 15, 2014 01:05 Report Abuse



Lol. what the 'guest' failed to realise was that once he replied to me, he/she was identified.

May 13, 2014 08:01 Report Abuse



The Daily Mail ha...

May 25, 2014 00:56 Report Abuse



When it comes to marriage most guys want to marry a clean girl. Throughout the entire course of human history, regardless of race, culture, era, income.....etc. have you heard of guys lining up outside whorehouses looking for a wife (a prostitute, both technically and logically, is the preferred choice if you want firework displays in your bedroom)? I haven't.

Apr 02, 2014 10:19 Report Abuse



Would you like to define clean in this case? Does it mean a virgin? Does it mean that if she slept with her previous boyfriend it makes her unclean? That's absurd and chauvinistic don't you think? If that's your logic then you are guilty of dirtying all your previous girlfriends! MCP!

Apr 02, 2014 14:43 Report Abuse



Uh-uh, here we go. This is a tough issue with no easy answers. With different and conflicting cultures knitted together, this is quite something debatable. Nonetheless, there're universal guidelines for us to follow: gender equality. So the question is how to express gender equality.

Apr 02, 2014 17:24 Report Abuse



That's a double-edged sword you're wielding there. It sounds like you agree to the idea that a man's penis can be allowed to roam free while a woman must keep herself chaste and reluctant to allow a man who's not her husband touch her. I woman who has had more than one sexual partner does not make her a whore no more than a man who has sullied potential wives.

Apr 02, 2014 17:42 Report Abuse



you are missing the point. It's about preferences. We Chinese men prefer our "wives to be" virgins. It's the same as most girls prefer their boyfriends TALL, or have a British accent. Should all the short guys rise up and demand "height equality"? What about those who don't have a British accent? We demand ACCENT EQUALITY...

Apr 06, 2014 10:32 Report Abuse



as a Chinese man, do you really know what most girls want? If you are talking about preferences, most women prefer men who have not had multiple partners. Oh, sorry, i forgot. This is not about 'foreign' ideas of equality so a woman's preference is not relevant.

Apr 07, 2014 23:58 Report Abuse