Once upon a time, in lands far far away, there was a princess. After travelling every corner of the earth and kissing many-a-frog in search of her handsome, clever, bilingual prince, the princess found herself slowly losing hope in her big love adventure. Until one day, in the exotic lands of South China…
Dating in a foreign country. Sounds exciting right? And the big quest for love! Ah….
I imagined that foreigners here would have similar mindsets and experiences as me, with exciting dates filled with stories of adventure, passion, excitement and rides home on the back of a vespa.
Wrong country. But you get the gist. Travel romance is meant to be just like in the movies!
And it is. Sometimes. But as I’m writing, I’m afraid to say, this princess is still very much solo.
First lickle problem; everyone knows everyone. All expats and foreigners hang out in the same two spots of my city which means that dating becomes almost incestuous.
China dating lesson number 1: look smoking at all times. You will bump into people at the worst of times. On other dates, at the bar, in the lift…
Secondly, China is a bit of a limbo land for people. Those on their gap years or the lost souls filling in time (I’ve now been both…fab) and people trying to earn business bucks in an easy-ish to live country. Expats hearts and minds are not so aligned with mine. Not here anyway, and not that I’ve met yet anyway.
China dating lessons number 2: Expats and travellers are two v similar, but different things. Do. Not. Get. Confused.
Whilst travelling, I’ve met all sort of people from all cultures, walks of life and backgrounds. The guys I’ve dated from the expat community in China are like no other group I’ve been around. Narcissistic, entitled and uninspiring. Sounds harsh and just plain unfair right?!
It also doesn’t help that my mandarin sucks, and I’m not fully attracted to Chinese men. So, very limited options over here (which Tinder reminds me of when it runs out of people to search for me every five minute) leaving me so full of hope…!
I’ve written about dating/travelling life before (like this one here) but never like this. I am about to give you the 411.
FYI, all names have been changed to protect identities and stories are slightly tweaked to add humour to what otherwise might seem a completely disappointing and sad series of events whilst travelling and finding love. It’s not all so bad my huns but it’s deffo worth a story or two!
Let’s start with Jay. Claimed to be a lover of art, coffee shops and all things ‘edgy’.
Went on a date to the art district and all he said was “if the art moves me then it moves me”… Turns out nothing in life really moved him.
China dating lessons number 3: If someone refers to themselves as edgy, then they’re probably completing the opposite.
Then there was Arjun. He was older, well-travelled and quite interesting. At last!
A classic example of someone trying so hard to be ‘individual’ that unfortunately, he was like many people I’ve met before. The opinionated, self-entitled, arrogant, the-world-owes-me-everything-and-I-owe-nothing type of man.
China dating lessons number 4: Never date someone with hair longer than yours, who turns up at the club in 30 degrees heat wearing a Macklemore fur coat and nothing on underneath. Then hits on your colleagues and makes a joke about it afterwards.
I genuinely hope he finds happiness in life and himself one day.
Then came Darren. Also claimed to be a ‘creative’ person who loves poetry and travel. We spent our short lived days eating dinner together, watching Netflix and bickering like an old married couple.
Turns out he was also very full of the talk, drama and all-right bizarreness; a running theme here in China!
Like the time he said he was too busy to ‘fix us’ (quote by him a month after meeting), because he was going house-hunting in the Philippines. Sounds exciting right?! An excuse I’ll let you have.
Way to impress!
Except he’s never been to the Philippines, has never bought property, and never even booked the flight or left the city that weekend…
Way to impress…
China dating lessons number 5: People will say anything and everything to impress you, to fill silence, to be people they are not. Actions always speak louder than words my great ppl.
Joe – Basketball player who texts ‘just hitting you up, wyd tonight?’ every now and then. Makes memes of his own face.
Rob – Lives 2 hours away. Thanks Tinder.
Mo – Leaves in a month. Invited himself to stay on my coach on our first date. That date never happened.
Javi – Owns a pizzeria and doesn’t understand people who never travel. Has no interest in pizzas and has barely travelled.
Dating in China is, well, quite hilarious! And I sound like a serial dater! But, there you have it. It’s exhausting right? Three months in and full of stories already.
And as you might know, dating can be tough at the best of times, but in a country where your options are limited and them options are pretty dire, there seems no hope….
But there is hope! More lessons to be learned (and re-learned). A note to me from me:
- Actions speak louder than words. Especially need to remember when said person has a lot of words. Being in the presence of some of these guys reminded me how much I do for myself and the things I can make happen. Alone. I’m all action, not words. You don’t wanna be with someone who drags you down, un-inspires you or leaves you to do all the work.
- If something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t. Trust your gut and stop forcing things (even if he’s the only Latino guy you’ve met in months).
- If the conversation is all about him, he doesn’t even ask how you are, and he’s fully aware of it, then just say ‘thanks’ and leave. Ain’t nobody got time for that. Not in England, China or Timbuktu.
- Never stop trying! I laughed whilst writing this because it’s all quite funny, but it’s all part of travel and life. You never know who you’re going to meet or what you’re missing out on unless you try and put yourself out there. Do it for yourself and do it for the lols. I’m putting it all in my experience box.
- YOU ARE FAB. All on your own. And you are enough. One day you’ll meet someone who’ll have real stories to tell just like you and love every single inch of your crazy life and self. Until then, carry on doing great stuff in this world.
Nine more months to go. Who knows what life will bring me next?! I’m full of hope… and in the meantime will carry on enjoying my life to the very max and filling it with all different kinds of love, frog kissing and passion! You go do the same too.
Stay tuned to find out more and follow my adventures on IG @vanishamay
Have a fab day my loves! Thanks for reading.