[Editor's note: The following article is a first-person account of a foreign male in China. We advise those of more delicate natures to give it a pass.]
Spring has come along, and with life's miracle in action, by April, everybody will be in love, struggling with reborn libidos.
Around Sichuan University especially, the standard Western male-Chinese female pairing seems to increase every week. Let's be more tangible on this fatal attraction between Western men and Chinese women: In the French alliance, more than 70 percent of the students studying the French language are female. In contrast, the Sichuan University international department still has a small majority of males studying Chinese language among its Western community.
As far as I'm concerned, Chinese girls often come to me saying, "You French are soOOoo romantic." My standard answer to this statement is that young Chinese guys are the only true romantics left around.
Take the example of a compatriot male's phonebook, whose one-night stand directory is organized as such:
"Whore No. 1, Whore No. 2, Whore tattooed, Whore glasses, Whore short-haired, Whore Xmas," etc. An efficient system, he explained, to remember girls' names, rather than their all-too-common, repeated-syllable English names—Coco, Vivi, Lili, and so on.
So long, romanticism ... .
For further information on the subject and the "Why? How? Top? Bottom?" from the male point of view, just hang around Carol's, Shamrock, BABI (I or II), and listen. A few literary attempts from laowai bloggers disserting on their "yellow fever" assert that getting it on with a Chinese girl is not the hardest thing. Nothing much inspiring or original, except when it comes to stated records: 20, 40 girls for some of the new kids in town. Sometimes 100, up to 300 girls for those who have been in China for several years.
But some have a genuine interest in the language or the culture, and finding a "pillow dictionary" is one technique for satisfying this interest. "Pillow dictionary" is an expression inherited from British officers sent to Indian colonies in the 19th century. The expression is still in use today, notably in the mouth of one honest consular around here.
What other motivation is there? Love ... of course.
Anyone with a happy-ending love story, please send the article.
The Chinese girl or woman chasing after laowai may have a different point of view on the whole affair. One you can bang your head to is the song "Shanghai" by the all-female Beijing band Hang on the Box (挂在盒子上): "What is Shanghai?/Rich white cock and hungry yellow chick/What is Shanghai?/Stupid white cock and sharp yellow chick."
On the other hand, you have the housewife wannabe's point of view. There again, found on the web, this quote from a legendary post by a Chinese cheerleader, on the Tianya BBS: "Some want to become heroes, some want to become rich, some long to become leaders. What about me? My greatest wish in life is to marry a Western man."
Then again, there are practical considerations: Chinese university students generally stay in crowded, single-gender dormitory rooms, and for the majority, there's no private place to have sex. Sneaking into a boyfriend's or girlfriend's dorm is near-impossible, and as Chengdu warms up, you'll notice the cops driving in university alleys at night with powerful lights to chase after young couples hiding behind the bushes. The insurance of making it in a room with only one bed, not six, might be one other reason to be with a foreigner.
Getting laid without an audience (or at least getting drinks), strategic marriage, improved English ... what are the motivations of the laowai hunter? Answers, directly from "Lisa," one "sharp yellow chick":
Who are you?
A student from Sichuan Daxue, and part-time teacher of economics. I'm really into Western music, so on the weekend, I prefer to hang around in places with Western DJs, like Shamrock, BABI, Panam(e), etc. I also like to flirt with boys, but they can be foreigners or Chinese.
Are you a laowai hunter?
Now I want to find the good person for me, so I don't go out with many boys lately. I don't care anymore about Chinese or laowai culture differences in a relationship. Still, a lot of foreigners are more "polite" and considerate in their thinking and behavior.
Why do you think some Chinese girls are more into foreign guys?
Some think it's "cool" to have a white boyfriend, and can show off in front of their friends. They just want to have fun with a laowai.
Some, like me, don't want to get married so young, and in China, it opposes the traditional way of thinking. The Chinese guys are much more traditional, especially in Chengdu. This mentality is changing fast—in Shanghai, for example—but here, if you just want to have simple or brief relationships with a guy, it's easier with a foreigner.
Some others of course pay a lot of attention to money, think a foreigner will be richer than most Chinese guys, and that if they can marry him, they will go and live abroad, and have babies there.
Some others just want to know more about Western countries in many aspects, not only guys, but music, movies, etc., and want to practice their English. That would be more me in this description.
What is your experience with Western guys?
What I don't understand is when some couple break up, the guy would always say, "Oh, that's because of cultural problems, the cultural difference is too big." That confuses me a lot because I don't see what kind of cultural difference they want to talk about. I think it's a question of personality and human nature, so it should work out anyhow.
Laowai and Chinese guys can have the same kind of behavior in the end. Some are rude, and some are very gentle. Foreigners just have the reputation of keeping their word, when Chinese people have the reputation of not keeping it. So at first it's confusing for Chinese girls realizing that's it's not totally true ... . [Foreign guys] always say, "I'll call you," but a lot never do. Many Chinese girls also don't understand why foreigners change girlfriends so fast.
What would you say about relationships between laowai guys and Chinese girls?
I think that Western guys and Chinese girls can be happy together. It's just those girls who want to be with a foreigner because it's "cool," or just want to marry one, make [foreign] guys believe Chinese girls are so easy.
This article by cyberchild was first published in CHENGDOO citylife Magazine, issue 11 ("guanxi").