Chinese women + dating

When I came back to China, I thought of only one thing: how to get back to LA a’sap. For six months I rang myself in just for writing and teaching, I felt like a nun. I was a nun. Every once in a while, I missed apps like Tinder. Then I thought it must be blocked in China. Only a month ago, I found it wasn’t — much to my surprise.

So the hunting began. Sometimes I’d schedule two dates back to back. After I had seen enough men, I felt I was ready to share my findings with my single girlfriends. 

Much to my surprise, most of them weren’t taking any advantage of online dating even though all were complaining about their singleness. And most of these Western-educated financially-independent women associate Tinder with ONS (aka. One Night Stand). They didn’t have to tell me. I got the hostile vibe by studying the change in their facial expression when I mentioned I had been using Tinder and Bumble, both of which I offloaded from my phone a few weeks ago.  I think these dating apps are nice tools to discover new interesting people. That is, if you have the awareness to offload the apps once you have connected with enough candidates to be turned into potential dates. As a writer, I try to cut off unnecessary time-sucking addictive apps. Tinder and Bumble can be powerfully addictive.

And yet, you can still use the dating apps for good. It just depends on how you use it. Like many of my female friends, women tend to equate Tinder with ONS. I find the assumption too black-and-white. Truth is, if ONS happens, it means YOU let it happen. Otherwise, it’d be fucking date rape. And only if you do it and decide not to pursue any further. Hence, one NIGHT. When men and I talked about the ‘taboo’ around Tinder and ONS, their replies were unsurprisingly the same, “In the end, it’s up to the woman (to green light or not).” *Gurls, know your power.

A date even added, “I call out to all my mates’ bullshits. ‘She slept with me on our first date.’ ‘But you also slept with her on your first date. It’s NOT a one-way street, man.’ Being a man doesn’t get you the hall pass even though we live in the double standard society.” By the look on my date’s face, I felt his sincerity and I found it refreshing.  *So gurls, stop shaming yourself. Embrace your femininity. And gents, brag it when you bag a strong woman for who she is, not for how you bagged her for what you assume she is.  

Good looks is rarely enough to get me to swipe right (*But it does get me to pause. I’m only human. Can we agree on it?). The job title and education won’t be the deciding factor to a meetup. For me, a sense of humor is key. Appreciation in strong women gets a meeting. Understanding the creative process is cherry on top. 

At a friend’s insistence, I showed her a date’s photo. She stared at me in horror. “Did you somehow go blind? He’s fat, short and ugly.” I realized that the same convo must be happening when guys are discussing their female dates. Such is how we become commodities when the products are free. 

“I find him sweet, gentle and has a sense of humor.” I heard myself defending my date. My friend shook her head, “Dump him, quick. Or just don’t get serious.” Knowing that all the men that passed my screening are non-Chinese, she added, “You know, them foreigners can be fun to hang out with, but they don’t have any savings. Let alone real estate. They are not marriage material.” I did a double take at her while she continued, “I have a friend who’s seen foreigners come and go here in Shanghai. She said that their quality is decreasing over the years. Every once in a while she met someone she wants to date, then the man turns out to be out of her league…”

Wow. Wow. Wow. Zing. Zing. Zing.

I had been away from China for three years. Three years later, Chinese women still prioritize marriage-worthiness over personality compatibility even in the earliest stage of dating. When we turn ourselves into the ultimate utilitarians, what joy can we get out of life apart from pure business transactions?

Then, using my friend’s friend as an example:
Gurl, if you still don’t realize the name of the game, how will you find out what kind of people suit you — the unique you? And just how on earth would you become better at dating by strategizing sans doing?

When men ask me what I want out of this, I’d say, “I want to make new friends to have balance from my solitary writing life.  And if it leads to something, I’d be open to give it a try.” (Rule of thumb: don’t give chance to those who say they are just looking for “something casual.” Style can be casual. Human connection is for real, bruh. If men rule out that possibility from the get-go, then it’s on me if I ever try to persuade them otherwise. Just walk away. He’s not worth your time, darling.)

And here, for the majority of the Chinese single women:
Don’t wait till some White Knight checking all the boxes to begin dating.  Nobody wants to be with a salivating Pavlov’s Dog except for the sake of science.

Just be yourself. But it’s gonna be hard if you don’t know who you are yet. 

Yours truly,

Whose shit is this shit?

Dad saw a husky owner who didn’t pick up the dog shit. He called after the guy before he was led away by his dog.

“Sir, forgetting something here?” Dad pointed at the hot mess. Nerves on his temple bulging.

“You lost your marbles? Mind your own fucking business.” The man barked back and refused flatly.

Dad asked the Residential Committee to even things out. Its office is right beside where the shit show happened, fortunately.  And yet, not a single soul came out.

A staffer hiding behind her desk replied sheepishly, “[Dog poop] is NOT our job.” 

The man snickered at my dad, “See? It’s not their job. So what’s the fuss here? You’re a CPC member or what?” [Translation: CPC Member = Boy Scout with a twist.]

It was not until my dad threatened to call the police that the man dared to taint “the good name of CPC” that the man finally gave in and picked up the shit and apologized.

Dad told the story during dinner and added, “That’s why I warn you not to mind these monkey business. It does you no good.”

“But now we have one less shit to worry about, eh?  So who’s job is it when it comes to… dog shit?”

Dad didn’t have an answer. I don’t either. 

Truth is, you can’t expect every dog owner to remember pick their puppies’ shit up. Maybe another law will suffice?

Or maybe more folks like dad who is getting discouraged when he did the right thing.  Sometimes, if you meet people whose last layer of dignity is gone, there is nothing left for you to do. 

Did I mention that every person working in the Residential Committee is a party member? Yep, here comes the twist. Go figure.


Yours truly,


Chinese Single’s Day

November 11th… 11/11… One-one-one-one…

Aka. Single’s Day, the day where a bunch of single people moped on and offline.

Singles’ Day, or Bachelors’ Day, originated at Nanjing University in 1993. Singles’ Day celebrations spread to several other universities in Nanjing during the 1990s. via Wiki.

Then Taobao (under the Alibaba Group, the Chinese Amazon) started the “Double 11” campaign in 2012, coping its Western cousin Black Friday, where lots of things go on sale at insanely low prices. It did so-so that year. Media mocked Taobao’s wacky marketing strategy even though it sounded rather catchy.

But the following year, the year after that and so on, more and more people, sellers and buyers, joined the party. When word got out that on Double 11 Day one gets the biggest saving of the year, everyone is psyched.

In 2012, I was in Shanghai doing marketing and branding. I saw it from inside out and outside in, as a skeptical consumer and a skeptical marketer. As we come to the end of 2018, it has been going on for six years. Double 11 is only getting stronger.

So much so that Alibaba coined “Double 12” (December 12). It caught up instantly. More online platforms like tried to emulate the campaign. Lo and behold, the term “Double 11” was trademarked by Alibaba on December 28, 2012.  The company threatened legal action against media outlets that accept advertising from competitors that use this term.  They are fun to play with, but deadly to play against.

By now, 11-11 just doesn’t feel like Single’s Day any more. It has officially become Shopping Spree Day. “The event is now nearly four times the size of America’s biggest shopping days, Black Friday and Cyber Monday.” according to Wiki.

Guilty as charged, I stayed up late today till after midnight just so I could join the other hundred million online shoppers in China… Of course, people will complain the next day, “Yeah, I did save a little. But it’s not worth staying up late like this.” And yet, by next year, like every year, people would do it all over again like clockwork.

Why did I do it if I sounded so ‘smart and sophisticated.’

First off, some things I’ve been planning to buy are slightly cheaper on Double 11. So why not wait a little till Nov 11?

Second, there are things I did want to order early but I couldn’t place the order as the dates got so close to Double 11 when the prices were changed ‘back’ to freaking ridiculous high “original price” just so they can make the savings on 11-11 seem even more…

No matter how much you save as a consumer, no matter how much you make as a seller, we are all playing Alibaba’s game.  Since Alibaba is the House, it will report and boast the next day in the news that “this year we have made some trillion yuan” which gives the the country a proper moment to say, “See? Our economy is greater than ever. No worries, people.”

It takes a group of delusional people, myself included, to be willing to play this game. But then, in China, one thing you don’t lack is people. One word that would get you undivided attention and unified action is: discount.

What’s the upside? Well, as a single person, I can speak for us: we don’t feel that lonely on this day anymore. We are so busy buying, we don’t have time to feel melancholy.  Shopping can be therapeutic after all.


Yours truly,