I've been living in China for a solid year! Yay, happy expat anniversary to me! And some of the most common questions that I am asked are "So how is dating?" "How are the guys in China?" "How do you meet people." "What's your love life like now?" Since so many curious minds would like to know what it's like to be single (black) female dating in Asia.... well here's a little insight into my experiences
It's not very common, but also not uncommon to see mixed couples (expat + local). It's generally much easier in Asia for expat men to date, than it is for an expat women. No one bats an eye when they see a non-Asian man with an Asian wife/girlfriend... unless of course he is 70 and she's 25 holding their new born baby in a bar (yes, I'm speaking from experience). But you very rarely see a non-Asian woman with an Asian husband/boyfriend. It almost feels like it's an unspoken rule.... Asian men just don't try to engage romantically with a foreigner. So then, what are my options??? I'm glad you asked.... Tinder....
I previously had a love hate relationship with Tinder.... now it's just a hate hate relationship. No matter what anyone says, or what they write on their profile.... Tinder is a hookup app. And this becomes very apparent especially when you use the app while travelling. There are diamond's in the rough.... and you will have a 1/1,000,000 chance of meeting someone who genuinely wants to be in a relationship. But the other 999,999 are either married, in relationships or flaky.
I've tried Tinder while in China and when I've traveled around Asia. I was lucky enough to meet someone when I first moved to China... he was definitely a 1/1,000,000.... another Unicorn like myself (unicorn= Black American living in China). When we started dating, I was on a whirlwind world tour. I was travelling 1-2 weeks out of each month. So I wasn't 100% available and present. When I became available... it was time for him to return to the good 'ole U.S. of A. I was beyond bummed when he left.
My experiences while dating Mr.1/1,000,000 were all sunshine, rainbows... filled with dinner dates, game nights, netflix + chill. We were both kind of figuring out how to get on in this foreign place. I will never forget the first time we chilled at my apartment and I attempted to order take-out. He's a picky eater... so I ordered Chicken Wings. What could go wrong??? Right??? Well, for one... there's no english on the menu... so we were ordering based off of photos. "Does that look like Chicken to you???" "Yeah, okay... let's order it." He's chowing down, and I asked to try some of his "chicken" before it was all gone... I realized after the first bite that said chicken wings were in fact.... Frog Legs. I informed him of this... and watch the expression of horror and nausea sweep across his face. I tried not to laugh... or let him know that I was happy he didn't want to eat them... more frog legs for me... yum!!!
Although it was short lived, I really did enjoy the time spent with Mr.1/1,000,000. I mean.... how lucky was I to find someone that I genuinely like, that I had great conversations and chemistry with.... in the small town of Dongguan??? No, Dongguan is not exactly small, but it's no Hong Kong or Shanghai... and the expat community is small. The expat life is also a very transient life. People will float in and out of your life in week or month long increments. Once their contract is finished, or once they've gotten enough of eating fried noodles... they bounce... which leaves not-so transient me back at square one.
Unfortunately, I've also been through some not so wonderful experiences with the other 999,999. There is a very common thought process amongst travelling businessmen (and some women too) that overseas=freepass. There's a very slim chance that the news of their transgressions will make it back across the pond so apparently cheating on a different continent "doesn't count".
If a guy pursues me... I by default assume that he is single. Unfortunately, that's not always the case. And because of my Naivete, or just my general thought process that honesty is the best policy... I don't grill these men about their relationship status. Because, well... we are on a date.... so you MUST be single. Fast forward to date #2, where he drops the bomb... "Well, yeah, technically I'm married." At which point I respond, "I technically want to shove my foot up your ass.... asshole". This has happened to me more than once. I've now learned to watch out of the opportunistic, conniving, ringless married man.
All in all, I've had some good experiences with dating, and some not so good experiences. But all in all, I'm still hopeful that love will find me while I'm on this side of the earth. Or that I can at least make out with the cutie from my gym!