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Not because he’s a Chinese man, or because our relationship is “unique” or different.

For now, though, I’m just happy to have John, my Chinese husband, in my life. My heart goes out to you, and though I cannot be absolutely certain about what really happened to you from the viewpoint of someone on the scene, I feel compelled to point out two things I learned from my own experiences.

Rarely have they been depicted with traditionally masculine traits.

With a few exceptions, Asian men on screen have been small, sneaky and threatening — or spineless, emasculated wimps, or incompetents who may well be technically proficient in martial arts, but impotent when faced with white man’s superior strength or firepower. Even today, Asian American men complain that action heroes such as Chow Yun Fat and Jackie Chan rarely get the girl.

It’s easy to gauge this reality on the website Candle for Love (CFL), devoted to helping US Americans bring their loved ones over from China.

CFL is like a tidal wave of American men in love with Chinese women, with only a rare American woman/Chinese husband surfacing to break the monotony. Several years ago, when my husband enrolled in a New Oriental class in Shanghai for GRE prep, the instructor warned all of the Chinese men: “If you’re going to study abroad, prepare for four lonely years.” The underlying message was, don’t expect to fall in love — but be pleasantly surprised if it happens.

I don’t doubt he loved me in the beginning — but once his family knew, I suspect they made it clear that there was no future in what we had.

Even my own husband was first told by his parents that he could be friends with a foreign girl, but not date her.

According to Xiao Yu, some Chinese men could never believe that such a girl would become their one and only. A driver who took me to the Beijing Airport this summer admitted he once had a Russian girlfriend when he was a college student.

But he said he was never able to satisfy her (yes, in way), so they parted.

There are hardly enough books depicting foreign women with Chinese boyfriends or husbands. When you have a Chinese husband or boyfriend, sometimes you feel as if you belong to a lonely club. One of my dearest e-mail friends, a woman from Germany, once found me on the net because she had a — then — Chinese boyfriend and yearned to find someone to share her experience with.

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