The Chinese Sex Symbol: What are Chinese women looking for?

Chinese Sex Symbol

X-ray of a blind date

Everything starts when, in a rainy day, I’m talking with Luna. I can see she’s not at ease while she asks me to organize one of my “famous” pizza & mojito parties and invite my coworkers.

The reason: One of her friends is helping another friend to find a fiancé.

I know, it may seem fucked up. However in the Middle Kingdom things work this way.

If you make the “mistake” of not finding a fiancé before your 25th birthday your friends – and your parents – will feel obliged to “help” you.

It’s at this point that girls play the desperation card, that is ask for help to the white devil. This is how I come into the equation.

Looking for the golden bachelor

My flat isn’t exactly as big as the Palace of Versailles; and my coworkers are almost twenty. Hence my question to Luna is:

Exactly, who should I invite?

Essential requirements:

  • Traditional: Bueno, this isn’t going to be a problem, in my lab emancipation shines out for its absence.
  • Ph.D. student or Ph.D.: I work at the university so almost all my coworkers respect this essential, although weird, requirement.
  • Bachelor: upsss, the list is reduced to three candidates. Even if the average age is 26, almost everybody in my lab is married.
  • Taller than 1.75m: I see, we got a winner!

The more I think about the winner, the more I reckon he’s the Asian version of Steve Urkel though.

I can’t avoid to comment:

I don’t think your friend will like him.

No worries, she’s desperate!” answers Luna.

The desperate girl

“¿Why is she so desperate?“ I ask, expecting for a coherent answer. The follow up is quite long, but we can summarize it on the following points:

  • She comes from a poor family: Being poor in China is considered as an handicap, especially when it comes down to get a “serious” boyfriend.
  • She’s 26: After they turn 27, Chinese girls have much more difficult to find a fiancé because if you don’t get married before the age of 30 you are considered old. If you take into account that at school it’s forbidden to have a boyfriend, then the time plays against you. Tic Tac Tic Tac.

But let’s talk about the main issue:

  • The girl is a Ph.D. student: My Chinese friends told me that in China there are three sexes: men, women, and women with a Ph.D. degree. Generally speaking, a Chinese man can’t accept a women with an level of education superior than his; they then justify themselves saying that a girl with a Ph.D. degree has no femininity and, if this wasn’t enough, is often arrogant. Therefore for this poor girl the only option is to find a guy that is at least a doctor. OK, now I understand better the second essential requirement.

But I can’t avoid keep thinking that Chinese people use the same criteria of everybody else to find a partner. So, I guess, this girl must look like Amy Farrah Fowler, the nerd of The Big Bang Theory.

AmyAmy Farrah Fowler from The Big Bang Theory

The party

The party, that is the blind date, is confirmed. Here Luna’s instructions: I’ll have to invite my three bachelor friends with the excuse of trying out my wonderful pizza. Clearly I’ll have to hide the real reason of the party. At the same time, Luna will invite her friend, Amy, and other two friends, whereof one is married and the other engaged.

Amy Farrah Fowler

While I prepare my mozzarella Cupid’s arrows someone knocks at the door. I open it and I recognize Luna’s friend. She’s with a beer barrel.

Now I understand…

But I’m wrong, the barrel wears a wedding ring, so she must be one of the married girls.

Meanwhile, the last two girls arrive. The first is a matchstick with an head as big as a Xinjiang watermelon. However I can’t avoid to screen the last girl, a typical Asian goddess.

Since what I have to offer is my friend Steve, I hope that Amy is the matchstick. However the Asian goddess, who from now on I’ll call Aphrodite, thanks me for organizing the party.

Shit. Aphrodite is Amy! How the hell can I tell her that her blind date is… Steve?

The Chinese sex symbol

Finally the guys arrive too. As usual, they brought a ton of fruit. Adding it to the fruit that the girls brought, I reckon I can open a small stand on the street and make some money.

After giving me all their presents (the above mentioned fruit), they sit in a corner and start to discuss within them, openly ignoring the girls.

I keep cooking.

The approach

As soon as the dinner is on the table the first interaction among guys and girls happen. Chinese people… they can’t do anything without food!

Helped by Luna and her friend, the two bachelors, that is Steve and Aphrodite, start a conversation. It seems they are talking about the weather.

It can’t be more evident: my coworker are much more interested on talking among them about work and other silly stuff instead of interacting with the five beauties that are sitting on my couch (well, one is a barrel and another is a matchstick, but the last three aren’t bad at all!).

It’s a this point that the inconceivable arises: Aphrodite takes the lead, sits close to Steve and starts to talk with him.

I come from the Mediterranean Sea, where such a girl wouldn’t certainly need to do any effort to talk with a guy. Especially with a nerd like Steve!

The approach (Phase 2)

Steve e Aphrodite discuss for about twenty minutes, even exchanging their respective QQ number (a Chinese Skype). Then the moment is gone. Luna, her friend and Aphrodite head to another room to share their impressions. I’m too curious so I enter the room with an excuse:

Hey girls, do you want another mojito?

Aphrodite’s face is more red than the Chinese flag. She affirms that Steve is really cool.

Bah… I don’t get it.

The result

I’d like to write about an happy ending. However it seems I’m not as good as Cupid.

Even if Steve and Aphrodite chatted a bit on QQ, Steve told her that he’s engaged. Now I know that it’s a dirty lie.

So in the following months I made some research on the facts that I just exposed to you. I was curious to know how it could be possible that a guy like Steve may afford the luxury to refuse a girl like Aphrodite. Ok, she’s a Ph.D. and she’s old by Chinese standards (almost 27… Gosh), but a goddess like her must carry an Olympus issued passport!

The investigation

Let’s summarize the results of my investigation.

Steve is actually a quite popular profile among “traditional” Chinese girls:

  • He’s tall: Apparently it’s the only physical aspect that makes a difference in China.
  • He’s a Ph.D. student of one of the best Chinese universities: Even if he doesn’t come from a rich family, he’ll most luckily end up with a good job. And the ability to provide stability is does carry a lot of sex appeal here in the Middle Kingdom.
  • He’s extremely polite: Steve will always try to say what you want to hear. You may think this attitude is a bit false. However the family of the girl will love it. And in China the family has the power to accept or reject your boyfriend.
  • He’s not shy: Ok, he’s not a playboy neither. But he can talk with a girl he just met without starting to sweat like a pig and collapsing on the floor because of the embarrassment.

But why he refused Aphrodite?

During the last years I’ve heard a lot of weird excuses: She’s too sexy, she’s too smart, she’s too strong, she talks too much.

What seems clear to me is that for Chinese guys the ideal girl must be childish, pure, submissive, quiet and slim. And possibly not too smart.

What does it mean for white devils?

I offer hear comments such as “In Asia all women will want you, you’ll feel like Brad Pitt,” which are plain bullshit. Read Mama I wanna be a playboy in Saigon to have an idea of what reality looks like (although this example is quite extreme).

The truth is that for most of Chinese girls (and let’s not talk about men!) dating a foreigner brings more troubles than advantages. The biggest problem is that the girl’s family and friends probably won’t accept this white (or black) devil. And in China the social pressure, that is the desire to being accepted by your social circle, is much higher than in the West.

[Furio the translator: Correct. I still remember that beautiful girl from North East China that at some point told me “But dear, I need a Chinese.” And that was all. And I can’t claim she didn’t like me as she quite enjoyed my bedroom for awhile. For her it was just not possible to take me in consideration for more than a couple of weeks. And in these case there is nothing you can do: the better the experience for her, the worse it becomes for you, cause she may fear to fall in love and leave you abruptly to avoid future troubles. It happened to me several times, and they were all “traditional” Chinese girls with little command of English language].

So the next time you’ll see an ugly Western with a Asian goddess don’t think too much. The explanation is, in most of the cases, that he decided to accept what the Chinese guys refused, maybe cause she’s too smart or independent.

[Furio the translator: I agree. Of course there are also Chinese girls that prefer dating foreigners. As an example, my girl in Shanghai avoids Asian guys since when, ten years ago, she discovered that her boyfriend hired a private investigator to follow her everywhere. Yes, he was that insecure.

However these girls – in the case they are quality girls and not just ugly girls nobody wants to date beside some lonely old foreigner – are always quite international, they often studied abroad and won’t be able anymore to fake being pure, submissive and quiet.

But the porcelain’s dolls that you can admire inside the “Chinese style” clubs such as Rich Baby in Shanghai are almost always precluded to foreigners (it is possible to get them but you need great persuasive skills, good knowledge of Mandarin, the ability to deal with the guys that brought the girls and the persistence to overcome rejection over and over again).

The reason for which I claim that they are almost precluded to white devils is that these girls, which are so beautiful, submissive and don’t speak a word of English, are contended by all the rich Chinese guys, who bring them to the club with their Porsche, pay for their champagne and buy them expensive stuff. Why in the hell a girl like that should destroy her life, or even only downgrade her lifestyle, by dating a laowai? It doesn’t make any sense, especially in a country where stability and security are much more valued than love].

What do you think about this story and Chinese dating dynamics in general? I would like to know your opinion!

Amy Farrah Fowler Photo Credits: Creative Commons License Amy Farrah Fowler by SoQ錫濛譙

35 thoughts on “The Chinese Sex Symbol: What are Chinese women looking for?”

  1. I (European male), too, acknowledge that your observations concerning the girls and getting into contact seem correct subjectively and probably are pretty accurate as a rule of thumb. I just have to recall my term last year at a Chinese university, where in all the couples the guys are considerably taller than their fellow (male) students. Same, of course, for the way of getting into contact by being introduced by acquaintances, friends or whoever (an important characteristic of Chinese culture, as far as I am informed), not to speak of the porcelain dolls (‘trophy girls’, as a friend called them).

    I think though that the reasons why you see quite many foreigners with Chinese girls are not sufficiently explored, considering the tendency of “social uneasiness” for the girls. For example, apart from what you already wrote, isn’t it that European (“Caucasian”) physical features, like bigger eyes and noses, are considered to be attractive by the Chinese, male and female alike? That would also give one explanation why you see so many European models in commercials/advertisements.

    1. Hi there, my experience isn’t like this. This might be true in other countries like Japan (but I don’t know the country enough), as I said. Chinese in general don’t give many importance to the physical appearance while choosing a partner (except height), a part from that, most of Chinese girls I met don’t think European traits are especially attractive. Just to give an example, in China the standard of beauty are Korean actors not American ones.

  2. funny discussion. regardless the rare guys like robert, relying on my personal experiences I have to say it is truly true. Years ago my ex left me just coz I insisted a PhD, no mention that he already a qualified guy (in some sense) from one of the best universities with international profession. Days ago i intended to end some long-term uncomfortable relationship with another one (who has experience of years in UK graduating from one of the best colleges there in his field — if weigh in the way like the author does), the first and instant reaction from him is “are you dating others” instead of “what is the real problem between us”. Sadly enough.

    1. Thanks again for the input and I’m sorry about your experience. Anyway I think slowly thinks are changing in the Middle Kingdom and hope in near future well educated girls like you will be as demanded as well educated man.

      1. Thanks. But I do not regret my personal experience. instead, lucky enough that I am living in such an epoch-making period to have some insight on the tolerance of the masculinists and the collapse of that society. Slowly of course, as you see. The point is that usually the ladies themselves do not want to either break up or speak out or even just reflect. The barrier much more depends on the fights within ladies other than the “wars” with man. Probably, you can launch forth on such a dangerous topic in your pretty website ;) .

  3. Look I’m not going to get into debate this, but when someone introduces words like ‘hurt somebody’s feelings’ that sounds like a code word for ‘yes I’m sorry that you’re not happy about hearing the truth’.

    Yes Furio, you aren’t the original poster and I wasn’t saying you were. What I am saying again, is all those comments about Chinese men being spineless wimps is nonsense.

    This problem here is that these are generalizations which are not true all designed to make foreign men appear ‘better’ which is also not true. As I say I’ve dated plenty of Chinese girls here and welcome the times I’ve dated intelligent, well educated women, and to suggest that Chinese men reject such women and don’t like them because they themselves are insecure is an incorrect stereotype and a nasty one at that.

    At least I don’t go around saying that Chinese women make a mistake dating foreign men because these men are all womanizers that cheat on their partners or are closet paedophiles. I could be saying that as there are a lot of news stories or website forums that would seem to back me up but I’m not going to go down to that level.

    I’m sure there are plenty of good looking, articulate and open minded Chinese men out there who know how to treat a women well and are more than happy to meet and have a sincere relationship with a well educated, intelligent Chinese girl. And if there are any intelligent Chinese women out there who want to date a Chinese male who knows how to relate to them and treat them well, they are more than welcome over this way.

    1. Robert, sure there’s pleanty of open minded Chinese men that they don’t care about if the Chinese girl is too independent. However what I tell here is my experience with my coworkers, well educated Chinese men who still have a traditional idea, that in my idea are far much more common than the type of men you are talking about. I don’t think you’re an average Chinese guy, for a simple reason, you’re English is good, you read
      foreign webpages and probably you’ve studied abroad (or even grow abroad). Finally, this post is only to try to tell in a funny way about my experience here in China, so don’t take it so hard ; )

  4. I think the really issue here is a load of foreign guys kidding themselves into thinking that they are the ‘saviours’ of local women here because the local Chinese men somehow aren’t ‘good enough’ and then roll out these insulting stereotypical descriptions of Chinese men. Which are totally untrue in an attempt to prove it. Mr Furio you seem like a nice enough fellow and I think more foreigners should share your interest in the Chinese language, but your and other posters’ thinking on this matter of Chinese men is total cr*p.

    1. Hi there,

      thank you for your contribution! In this website we share our personal experience (and actually this article wasn’t written by me so it’s not my personal experience, although I agree with the writer).

      Generalization are always difficult to do and will always hurt somebody feelings.

      But they are also the only way to describe social dynamics. We don’t pretend to be right or hold any truth. Everybody can judge by his/her experience.



  5. Reading these posts makes me want to puke. So Chinese guys are insecure and don t like it if the girl is well educated? That’s not true at all. I m Chinese and I have dated different types of Chinese girls regardless of education. Well qualified and intelligent girls are very good actually as you can usually rely on them to have intelligent conversations and they aren t afraid to take the lead and make plans for the two of us if there’s the opportunity. This belief that Chinese men are insecure is BS. And if one of your capable and intelligent Chinese female acquaintances says they can’t find someone to date send them my way I ll be happy to take them out. I m living in China.

      1. i talked to my phd friends from china. and everything you said is correct. thanks for the insight. i guess their wives will put a lot of pressure on them to be the man of the family if they cant provide more than their wives. maybe they are interested in these women but things will be tough for them.

  6. Very accurate observations. I would agree with most of your analyse and conclusions. I have a girl friend who got her master degree from the UK and now live with her parents in a small city, where she could not find a boyfriend. In order to break away from the pressure from her parents as well as from the peer, she is planning to do a doctor degree abroad, which sounds like a dilemma.

    BTW, the video clips are funny!

    1. Thanks for the visit and the comment and I hope the best to your friend. I work with many doctors that are girls and could find a couple. I know that a girl with experience abroad can be a bit frightening for most Chinese man, they are scared the girl is too open.

    1. Hey Kevin, thanks for the comments just briefly, about amy no way she can not accept a foreigner, at least for the moment. However don’t worry you can find a lot of interesting Chinese girls that can accept a foreigner, just try it.

      1. Thanks for your honest reply. Sorry, i kind of wrote a little too much detail earlier. I think the issue is a lot of men need complete dominance over their women. And don’t want a women trying to control them which will cause fighting. Thanks, yeah i will continue to look for a Chinese girlfriend that will hopefully be my wife. Girls at bars aren’t always wife material but we will see thanks !

        1. I think you misunderstood something, Chinese girls are not submissive girls. In fact is completely the opposite they try to control everything oft the men life. However outside doors they try to give face to their men in front of the others pretending that men have the power. Just an example, the typical Chinese couple men have no control of the money even most of the money come from their salary..

          1. I never said Chinese women were submissive. My point was that men in general ( not only Chinese men ) who prefer women who are less qualified are doing so because they want more control. F.Y.I, I have two single Chinese PhD friends studying mathematics and physical chemistry I’ll ask them their opinion on this.

          2. Insecure men would prefer less qualified girls ’cause it gives them more control. And Chinese men are, generally speaking, extremely insecure.

            Personally I prefer strong women that can live without me but choose to stay with me because I’m more interesting than the other guys around, not cause they are afraid of being left over (shengnu! haha) ; )

    2. Kevin said: “I know white guys really do not have a chance with Chinese girls as you said but i thought i would give it a try”

      Oh this isn’t true at all, I’ve been with a lot of Chinese girls (and I stayed with one almost two years). If you are in Shanghai go to the Apartment or Geisha, you’ll find a lot of openminded Chinese girl, in Beijing I suggest Wudaokou or Sanlitun’s bars and clubs

      Big shopping mall at day time are also good!

      Good luck with that LoL

      1. Thanks ! I am in the US right now so dont have access to Chinas bars. Plus im not much for picking girls up at bars. Just looking for a long term girl that i can relax wth. I went to sanlitun over the summer it was fun thanks for the advice !

  7. hey man my name is kevin, i am 25 studying industrial engineering at Oklahoma state university. i lived in Hangzhou china for two months last summer and loved it. anyways i really would like to find a Chinese wife because i love Chinese culture and language. im 5 ft 8 inches and athletic. please give me a chance to meet amy ? :) my wechat id is kstamp. thanks

    1. i have a bachelors degree in engineering. i am studying masters. i think your article is interesting. i do not know why Chinese men do not want women to be well qualified. but i know not only Chinese men are like this. I have met many PhD guys who cannot accept women smarter than them. They told me it is because smart women will try to control them and it would cause trouble. I feel like amy would be my dream girl. I would love to have great conversations and learn from my loved one life would never become boring. And the fact she is from another culture there would always be something to talk about. My ideal women would be my age or a little older bbecause women typically live longer and u dont want ur wife to be alone so long after u die. Nd she would be really smart so we can have great conversation s for the rest of our lives. Looks help a lot but great conversations that i can learn from are more important. I love china and hope to live there one day. I also plan to go for my PhD as well if the pay turns out fairly well. Anyways i hope u read this and give me a chance to talk to her. Thanks and have a great afternoon in china :)

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