Jocelyn over at Speaking of China recently answered a question from a 30-year-old single western woman wondering how to meet chinese guys in Shanghai. Or, rather, Jocelyn didn’t exactly answer it herself as she wasn’t sure. Instead she asked a chinese Shanghai guy (who married a foreigner) how to do it.
His answer was fine, if not a tad generic, and I realized something….this is something I actually know something about! I’ve met a lot of chinese guys over the past couple of years and I now do it with ease. Every one thinks there are “soooo many” guys in China and obviously meeting a guy must be easy. But actually it’s not and takes a bit of practice and know-how.
A little background: I came to China married, and certainly never thought relationships with other guys was a possibility. I was never even one to have yellow fever. But then came the divorce and I found myself single and, after a few months, ready to get back on the horse. And I’ve had quite a bit of success, dating guys ranging from 24-32 with all kinds of jobs.
The thing is I’m NOT looking for a serious relationship as I deserve a little break to be by myself and I won’t be in this city for much longer so getting involved in something deep isn’t right, right now. Also, I’m not interested in dating foreigners or even dating chinese guys that speak English. I figure I’m in China so I should embrace living here fully. I haven’t totally ruled it out, but I don’t look for it.
Also, while I’m quite outgoing I am kinda traditional in the sense that I won’t make the first move. I wait for guys to contact me first and show their interest. If we’ve been chatting for awhile I might say something about taking it a bit further, but I won’t actually be the first to kiss them or anything.
So without further ado, here is my little guide on how to meet Chinese guys in China. (Mom, dad you might want to stop reading here.)
Bars/Clubs– Basically the worst place to meet people. Even if your just looking for a hook-up its a bad place. You see ladies, the biggest problem in meeting Chinese guys is your foreignness. There are a lot of stereotypes about what a foreign woman “wants” including, only rich guys, only foreign guys, only guys that can speak fluent english, etc. So pretty much every guys will be too shy to approach you. Even if they drink a little liquid courage and ask you to join them at their table, that’s where it will probably stop. They might even say stuff like, “you’re so beautiful” and what-not, then suddenly leave. The only guys that might be persistent and forward are usually the kinda douchey rich ones who think they can buy you or whatever. Not the type I like.
For instance, one time I was at a club dancing my ass off and caught some guys eye. For the next few songs we danced with each other, grabbing each others hands, laughing and having fun. After awhile he motioned for us to take a break and we went over to some tables near my friends. I saw one of my (foreign) guy friends kissing a chinese girl. The guy I was with looks at them and says, “Ewwww. That’s gross.” Then he added, “But I’m also a little jealous.”
“Is it more gross or are you more jealous?” I asked trying to understand these very mixed messages he was giving me.
“More gross,” he said. Okkkkkkkaaayyy. At least he gave me a hug as he left, more than most guys will do.
Friend of a Friend– I think if you are looking for a long-term relationship this is the way to go. Tell your Chinese friends (especially your guy friends) that your looking for someone and they will likely know, like, 5 guys off the top of their head. Personally, I feel a little weird about this method. I have a lot of male chinese friends and if they try to set me up I feel a bit like they are pimping me out or something. And what happens if me and my friends friend get together? What is my friend saying to the guy? What is the guys saying to my friend about me? It just seems a bit weird to me and I’d rather meet guys by myself.
That being said I did meet a few guys based on my friends recommendations this summer. Nothing worked out but they did turn out to be really nice as my friends knew the type of guy that I would like.
Apps– This is my secret and the way I meet 80% of guys. WeChat (chinese name: Weixin) is the best app for not only chatting, but for meeting people. There is a ‘look around’ feature, which you can turn on and it shows you all the people within a 1km radius who are also using look around. You can filter it to just show you guys, and you can see how close they are on a 100 meter scale. (Though it is not always accurate. My friend who was sitting right across from me was listed at 400 meters away.)
Like I said, I wait for guys to contact me. On Wechat they can send you a message, and it’s up to you to decide if you will accept them or not. I never chat with anyone without a real profile picture (so many guys use pics of cars or dogs or other stupid things) and I usually don’t respond to people that write to me in English.
The reason this is the best way to meet guys is the app gives the more shy guys courage. They don’t have to talk to you face-to-face and if you turn them down or ignore them, it’s not so serious. They can also test you out to see if you speak Chinese. I only used this feature once at my school (because around here it is mostly students and I’m not willing to date a student) and I met my little hairdresser.
I usually use it in Shanghai and Hangzhou with really good results. You have to be a tad forward, like suggesting you meet, as some guys will just chat for days and days and never suggest a date, but it’s easier to be more outspoken when using an app. But chatting for a day or two first is actually a good thing as it will weed out the weirdos.
For instance (seriously, mom and dad if you are still reading this, stop now), one time I was in Shanghai chatting with a guy that seemed totally normal and nice. We were chatting on and off all day with just kinda the normal “where you from,” “What do you like to do,” things. Things were going well, and we got along fine.
Then, around 10pm he sent me a picture. It was a picture of, um, well, a tissue. A wet tissue. Not wet from snot, ifyouknowwhadaimean. Then he sent 3 more pics of, errm, well, how the tissue got wet. I was with a bunch of friends, and of course showed them, and we ended up having a hilarious time with it. But there was no way I was gonna ever meet him after that.
This is also an awesome app to use when you traveling. You don’t even need to want to find a date, many people are willing to just hang out and show you their hometown. I had home cooked meals, personal tours and got a lot of info about new places because of meeting people on this app.
You can also just use this app to make friends and meet people in your neighborhood. I cannot say enough good things about this app.
There is another app called Momo, translated to ‘Hey Stranger.’ This is a 100% hook-up app and not the right thing if you are looking for a serious relationship or just friends. But can be great if you are in a new place and want to go out and meet people yet don’t know anyone in the area. Just be forewarned. If you have this app on your phone don’t flaunt it. It’s one of those things that everyone knows about and if Chinese people see it on your phone they will judge you (thought they obviously know about it too, and probably have it, it’s just best to keep it a secret). Just like WeChat it will show you people in your immediate area who are also using the app. You can strike up a conversation and arrange a meeting.
And of course if you meet people through an app play it safe. When you meet them for the first time do it during the day in a public area, like a park, or shopping street or something. Don’t tell them where you live or meet them at 2am. Just play it safe and it’s all good. I’ve met a ton of people through apps and never once worried about my safety or had any problems. But I’m also smart about when/where I meet them.
Online Dating– This is something I haven’t tried yet (though if you, my dear reader wants me to, I’d be willing.) There are plenty of sites that are in English and predominately Chinese, like Asianfriendfinder.com and a few AMFW (Asian male foreign woman) websites as well as some only in-China ones like Shanghaiist personals. I know some friends who have had success with them, but I’ve never used them so I don’t know. Certainly seems like a good way though.
So that’s my advice. Of course I have met a few guys face-to-face, like in tea shops or restaurants (One guy approached me at a cafe once and said ‘Excuse me, you remind me of my foreign teacher,’ and I was like damn, good pick-up line buddy!) but that happens seldom and it is really up to the guy so you can’t count on it. If you want to meet guys you need to be brave and willing to put yourself out there a bit. And remember, they are probably 10x more nervous talking to you, not only a girl but a foreign girl, then you are talking to them.
Good luck! If you have any questions, or experiences of your own, just ask me in the comments!
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