Generally, the pressure to split up comes from the family since, after all, in China, marriage is a family affair.
Even my own husband was first told by his parents that he could be friends with a foreign girl, but not date her.
Still, despite the odds, sterotypes and other barriers, it does happen that Chinese men and foreign women get together.
It happened for me — and a growing number of other women, including bloggers such as the Local Dialect, The Downtown Diner, and Wo Ai Ni.
As Leong, the author and UCLA professor put it: “Asian men can kick butt, but they can’t have a kiss.” It gets a little more personal in blogs, such as posts titled Us Bitter, Bitter Asian Men or Sucks to be an Asian male. I’ve had Chinese guys refuse me because they felt, as a traditional man, they could never see themselves married to a foreign girl.
However, the subtext is often that foreign women are a dangerous choice — too casual, the temptress, etc — or could not accept a Chinese way of life.
Of course, some of it has its roots in the usual stereotypes — stereotypes in the Western World.
According to Sheridan Prasso’s book, The Asian Mystique: Dragon Ladies, Geisha Girls, & Our Fantasies of the Exotic Orient, Asian men in general have long been losers in the world of mainstream American media: If there are some admirable aspects of the portrayals of Asian women in Hollywood and on TV, it’s hard to say the same of the portrayals of Asian men.
Robin, or Robert, is one of the most common medieval names.
Hood is not an uncommon last name, especially in Yorkshire, where many Robin Hood stories are set.
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.