I think my neighbor is flirting with me and / or trying to get into my proverbial pants. You see, I’m a Canadian newly arrived in China. I’m afraid to make a move on my “friendly” Chinese neighbor lest she slaps me in the face for misreading signals. (Maybe her mumbling and hand stroking was just her culturally appropriate way of welcoming me to the apartment complex). On the other hand, if things go well with “friendly neighbor” I’m also afraid that I’d ruin my future chances at serious relationships with the expat women in my circle. (I hear single foreign women here are angry at single white men for only dating Chinese girls). My question is two-fold: What are some Chinese wooing practices I can try on my neighbor? And how do I get back into the good graces of foreign women if they find out I had a casual fling with my Chinese neighbor?
Dear Confused Canadian,
You seem to be in quite a pickle, but the problem is simpler than you think. It isn’t that you are at a loss for how to woo Chinese women (not that different from wooing foreign women) or how to start a meaningful relationship with your female fellow expats. Your problem seems to be that you want it all. Qi doesn’t judge when it comes to love and lust, but the cardinal rule of successfully navigating relationship waters is “Know What You Want.” If what you want is a few months’ of rampant hook ups with Chinese girls who worship your English-speaking ways, then by all means, pick your protection and get busy. But if what you want is a serious relationship with someone who is your cultural, linguistic, and intellectual equal, then keep your goods tucked into your pants until you find someone who isn’t just an “easy” neighbor. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news but you can’t have it all, be both Casanova and Romeo. Once you figure out what kind of relationship you’re really after I’d be happy to give you some pointers. Happy soul searching!