Take it slow while dating Chinese girls

Peter Chen

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Illustration: Julie Peterson

My Chinese female friends told me that they allowed their boyfriends to hold their hands after dating for two months and to kiss them after half a year. I bluntly asked how long it would take for them to allow sex with their boyfriends. They said, “Never.”

My friend Dianna Alma, a sophomore at Whitman, however, told me that holding hands was not necessarily an indicator of a relationship.

“If a guy and girl express interest in each other, they will generally start holding hands together before they are officially in a relationship; they will probably kiss on the second or third date in a private setting; they will have sex around three months, depending how often they hang out or communicate with each other,” she said.

Obviously, sex is more accepted and common here. I asked my RA why condoms were provided everywhere in residential halls.

She giggled and said, “Just keep quiet if you bring someone back, and be safe.”

I agree that a relationship without sex is an ordeal of abstinence. But Chinese girls possess some reasons for their restraint.

China had a feudal society for over two thousand years. During this time women had few rights. Their parents decided their marriages. Some of them did not see their fiancés until the wedding day. A woman’s virginity was indispensable. If a man found his wife was not a virgin when they got married, he could kick her out. As a result, the woman would be discriminated against and would be regarded as a whore. She could not go back to live with her parents because it was such a humiliation. Most likely, she would end up selling her body at a whorehouse or committing suicide.

Changes in culture never happen overnight. These values have been passed on by generations. Therefore, virginity is still a big deal to most Chinese women, even though China is a very modernized country where fans are upgraded to air conditioners, black and white TVs are upgraded to LCD screens and mud houses are upgraded to skyscrapers.

If a Chinese girl were to have sex with her boyfriend, it would mean she thought of him as her prospective husband. So take it slow when you date a Chinese girl; she needs time to confirm that you are the one she wants to join for the rest of her life, not only in her bed.

Though sexual relationships are very different, most “couple activities” slide right through the culture barrier. Boyfriends and girlfriends hang out, watch movies, study, eat and travel together.  Chinese girls, however, may like to do a bit more shopping with their boyfriends.

In China, it’s not uncommon to see a girl walking down the street with a guy lagging behind with several shopping bags, or some guys sitting for hours in the shopping mall, playing on their cellphones while their girlfriends are trying on countless dresses and swiping their credit cards.

One might wonder who pays these bills. In China, a guy mostly pays the bills on dates, but he will not pay for his girlfriend’s shopping safaris unless the girl becomes his wife. Then he becomes an anxious husband, praying that his wife will show mercy to their bank account.

So guys, be patient when dating a Chinese girl: holding hands, kissing or sex might not happen anytime soon. Especially be truthful when dating a Chinese girl: her heart might be more fragile than her virginity.

The final paragraph of this article was edited by the Editor-in-Chief at 21:30 on 9 October, 2011.

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