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The Dating Standards of Chinese Males: From A French Expat's Perspective
Quite often my Chinese friends ask me: "Why don't you go for the more gorgeous looking Chinese females?" I've also heard people half joking by stating that the less attractive females in Chinese eyes need not to worry, as they can simply marry a foreigner.
Hearing this has made me quite unhappy: Can it be true that us Western men really lack standards in the looks department when it comes to women? The truth is, it's not that we don't see the pimples and wrinkles on the face of a Chinese female, but many of us can go beyond the superficial level and really take the time to discover a woman's character. From my perspective, the majority of Chinese males only pay attention to a potential partner's outer appearance.
When a Chinese male brings his smoking hot woman to show off in front of everyone, it's as if he's displaying his newly purchased Mercedes-Benz automobile. Living long-term in China for many years, I have seen that Chinese males are about as picky can get when looking for women. In Chinese history, many men pursuing famous beauties met tragic downfalls. Chinese males in today's society have carried on this eye and ego satisfying desire of their long dead ancestors.
The primary reason for Chinese men focusing so much on a women's outward appearance is the Chinese custom of "saving face." When he appears in front of the crowd with a gorgeous female by his side, he is filling his great hunger for pride, albeit false pride. From a biological point of view, it is a sign of his primitive ape-like competitive instinct, just like the need to display his Mercedes-Benz and his 3-story seaside mansion.
Now, let's look at how Chinese men attract women. I've visited many Chinese dating websites, and the first thing you see in the profiles of over 80% of the males is their education and their "accomplishments", never straying far from the financial themes of having a car, a house, and a career. On the other hand, the dating profiles of us foreign men go into detail about our personality and what hobbies or interests we puruse (i.e. favorite books, movies, food, sports, etc.). When I ask Chinese men for their definition of an ideal partner, the first thing that comes out of their mouth is: "She must be quite beautiful." Of course beautiful in this case is referring to physical attractiveness.
It's obvious to all men that a woman's outward attractiveness plays a factor. However, in France, "looks" and "beauty" are two different concepts. If a young woman has a good-looking face and a slender body but lacks cultivation and intellect, she is only considered as having "looks." On the other hand, an older woman that's worldly and knowledgeable but with not too outstanding physical features is considered by many to be truly beautiful. This is why many males in France pursue older females.
Many Chinese males (if not most) lack intellectual refinement and curiousity. Perhaps I don't have the full picture, but they give me the impression that they only communicate their thoughts with friends of the same gender. Women are only there to be fooled around with and treated almost like a game. Chinese females always need adoration and a sense of looking up to from their women. They are especially intolerant if the woman expects to be treated as an equal, quickly labelling them as "strong" and "quarrelsome." This is even reflected in Chinese TV dramas and films, where these kinds of women are almost always portrayed as being negative. In reality, it's age-old feudalism at work. Sometimes I find it hard to understand why these career men in Chinese media are condoned and always get praise from women.
Other than physical appearance, age is another crucial factor to Chinese men. Whether you flip open the newspaper, go on dating sites, watch dating shows on TV or interview Chinese men in person, you will find out that they always want the woman to be younger. Chinese men aged 20-30 normally want a woman 1-5 years their junior, while men aged 30-40 look 5-15 years below their age. It's common nowadays for men to marry women more than 20 years their junior, which basically means that men over the age of 40 often look for women that could be their daughter or even granddaughter. Us foreign men also consider a woman's age, or else communication would turn out to be a source of trouble. However, we do not specially require that the woman is younger than us, a couple of years older isn't an issue. Therefore, on the dating profiles of French males the age they will accept for a female is normally plus or minus 5 years.
A few years ago, I read an essay about a 34 year-old Chinese woman that accepted a marriage proposal from a 25 year-old American man. She could not believe what she was hearing, as single women her age in China would long be considered "leftovers." Older woman-younger man relationships have always gotten bad press throughout Chinese history. Some names used to refer to this include "sister-brother romance" or "old-young mismatch." The most well known saying when referring to an older woman with a younger woman is "an old cow eats tender grass", while a younger man with an older woman is called a "mama's boy" and a "total sissy." In comparison, an older man with a much younger wife (what we often call "trophy wives") is widely encouraged.
Many young females in China see beauty as their primary asset in love and marriage. At this point, I have realized that the paramount importance of a woman's looks to Chinese men may or may not be a choice made on a level of individual consciousness, but quite often it goes back to the traditional feudalist and chauvinist mentality that has been preserved in the minds of most Chinese even at this age. On the female side, many Chinese women have still not pictured themselves as equals to men.
From my observations, a significant portion of Chinese women think looks are all they have to offer in exchange for a man and the life he can provide, resulting in them weighing physical beauty at a scale greatly above the average European female. When I first arrived in China, I found it hard to believe that this was the way things worked. The costs of living in Shanghai are the highest in China, but still insignificant compared to Paris. However, the amount of money that urban Chinese females spend on clothes and beauty products is out of both financial and personal consideration for most French women. Imported clothing and luxury products are two to three times their selling price in Western countries, but these urban Chinese women take money out of their pockets in what seems to be the blink of an eye. Of course, there will always be a reward, as they clearly know that more physical attractiveness equals a higher chance of hooking up with a "golden turtle" (slang used in China referring to rich men with status).
From this, we can tell that women in China also have flaws in their expectations for life. Rather than working to improve their own quality of life, they depend on marriage as the solution to all their financial concerns. Such a phenomenon gives me much pain and disillusionment. Perhaps I am too idealistic? I have always believed that the union of husband and wife must be determined only by mutual love. However, on a concluding note, I guess the mentality of these women is in tune with the fact that most Chinese men are willing to sacrifice everything else in a woman just to please the eye and drink from the cup of egotism.
I translated all of it from Chinese into English. You can find the original article by going to this link:
Please comment on translation!
Great, informative article.
I do agree that Chinese are religious about "face" - even silly about it.
OTOH who wants leftovers? if being superficial gets you the hottie...
Nahh who am I kidding. I need someone with a soul...
"Well actually, she's not REALLY my daughter. But she does like to call me Daddy... at certain moments..."
I think the differences in taste is really interesting.
There is research that suggests people in general with more symmetrical and developed/harmonious faces have "better" (quotes because better is subjective) genes in the sense that they will be more likely to be athletic, intelligent and less prone to various diseases including but not limited to things like colds and the flu (i.e. are thus more likely to be productive members of society and cost less in health care).
Anyway, my point is that, as far as I am aware, westerners often have a greater preference for these traits than for secondary traits like the colour of one's skin. I personally know that what I care for is a certain type of face (a certain type is something I have defined as a generally broader than average face, higher-than-average eyebrows, a more laterally developed and forward-grown (than average) jaw, wider-set than average eyes, more forward-set (less deep eye sockets) than average and a certain type of cheekbone which I can point out but not really describe in words) which are in no way universally attractive traits. All this in the presence of overall balance and symmetry (which is universally attractive, or it should be). Things like skin colour, race, etc is something I don't see as important. The only thing I like in that category is light eyes, but that is in no way a must.
I think Chinese guys are far more homogeneous than us in what they like (i.e. white skin, thin, long legs. What her face actually looks like doesn't even matter to them as long as it's not too ugly (i.e. has noticeable abnormalities). To me that seems like a very "cultural" or "cultivated" form of attraction and not real.
Attraction is both genetic and cultural. There are certain traits that are seen as attractive in all cultures, while there are others that are culturally determined. It is just like pretty much everything about humans: a mixture of nature and nurture.