Thursday, June 4, 2009

The honest meat market

When looking for a partner, put all your demands on the table from day one in order to find out what your significant other is willing to do for you... and what's not OK.

Last night I took a cab home. I could see the taxi driver watching me through the rear-view mirror, making me wonder what was up (was it just the usual, curious, ’laowai’-stare, or was there actually snot coming out from my nose?!). It turned out it was either.

-You can speak Chinese? It suddenly came from the front.


-Where are you from? Germany? England?

-No, Sweden.

-Oh… That’s also in Europe, right?

-It sure it, in Northern Europe.

-OK. I think all beautiful women are from Europe.

-Oh really?

-Yeah, especially the ones from Germany and England.


Silence. Then:

-So… do you have a boyfriend?


-Where is he from? China?!

-No, Finland.

-Oh…. Married?


-Planning to?

-Not in the near future.

(Big smile flashed to the mirror)

-So if you didn’t have a boyfriend… or let’s say if you broke up with him. Would you be willing to date a Chinese man?

-I don’t know. It depends what kind of man!

-Well, let’s say… me?!

-I don’t even know you. How could I tell?

-Well… I don’t think it’s that hard. I am a good man. I work hard. I have a house and a car. I will take care of my wife. And she will take care of my house!

-You’re saying that the girl you date has to do all the housework?

-Yeah, of course. I don’t know how to do house chores.

-I’m sure you can learn.

-No. I will work. She will cook. And clean.

-Well then I definitely wouldn’t be willing to date you.

-Why not?! I will work!

-Well I want to work too. And I hate housework.

-Oh… OK then.

Short silence, then:

-Do you have a lot of foreign female friends here?

-A few.

-Any German or English ones?

-No, sorry.

-Ahhhh… OK. Well could you introduce me to some? Some single ones? Some pretty ones?

-I’m sorry but I don’t think any of them are willing to do all the housework either! You know, in most families in Europe the woman and the man both work and therefore the also split the house chores.

I could tell this frustrated my dear taxi driver. In his world, it was obvious that the wife would take care of the housework while the man would bring home the money.

-By the way, I said. Why do you want to have a foreign girlfriend?

-I want someone who is tall and pretty! And foreign girls are
(hooorray!). But no American girl. I once met an American girl and she wasn’t nice. So I don’t want anyone from America.

-You don’t want a girl from America because you met ONE American girl that wasn’t nice?!

-Eh… well… yeah.

-So if you meet one girl from Germany that isn’t nice then you don’t want any German girl either?

-No no. Last week a colleague introduced me to a German girl. She was pretty but her personality wasn’t nice. I still want to meet a German girl. I just don’t want any American girl.

-Why not?

-I just don’t want one.

-OK then. Well can you speak any English?

-No.. but that’s just a small problem. I will learn that from my wife since we will be doing everything together… you know, eating dinner, watching TV, hanging out. She will teach me English.

-OK then… I see you have everything planned out for you. Good luck finding a foreign girlfriend
(and really, dude: GOOD LUCK!)!

When it was time for me to get out of the cab the driver turned around.

-So, if you break up with your boyfriend will you call me?

-No… remember. The housework things. I don’t want to do it all.

-Ah yeah. I remember. OK. Well nice talking to you then. Bye!

Wow. In the Chinese meat market you lay all your cards and demands on the table from day one. Although I kind of like it. Leaves little room for disappointment and argument later.

Also. Not to be forgotten. A Chinese man just hit on me (I guess you could put it that way?). That means that yesterday goes into history as the day when a man in China came on to me. He’s the third one in three years (another taxi driver and little muscle guy are his front runners. Oh, then there are 2 Taiwanese men wanting me to become their mistress too, but those doesn't count. I mean, mistress? Come on. I only count the serious ones...). Geez, I am becoming real popular.


Mark's Blog said...

hehe, I always think I am too shy, maybe I should do it the taxi driver's way next time, sounds cool

Anandi said...

If this can be termed as a come on,then it's really one heck of a come on.He tried to woo you with housework!

******************** Shanghai MiFeng said...

Oh come on Jonna , what's a little house work and in China you only have to take care of one Child , so...not too bad ! Hehehe

Pingu said...

So when would we be expecting wedding invitations?

bARE-eYED sUN said...

this was fun! made us smile, it did.

thanks for the post,
you popular woman, you :-)


冰蓝 said...

The taxi driver is bold but kinda weird, he is just day dreaming. Does he really think he deserves a foreign pretty girl?

pei said...

As a long time silent reader of your blog, I just wanted to say congrats on your third attempted pickup by a Chinese man and thanks for the great stories you always share with us.

Also, not to rain on your parade, but even if all the cards are supposed to be on the table from day one, human beings have an infinite capacity for argument and disappointment. Relationships are hard work, no matter how you approach them, in China, in Canada and in Botswana.

Emmy said...

Wow! Well I guess I wouldn't have to worry about him hitting on me :) Though I am married so definitely not available anyways :)
That is too funny!

Anonymous said...

Wow! I love this guy's logic about American women! ahah!

Jonna Wibelius said...

Mark -maybe u should not?! Trying to win a girl over with housework is NEVER a good idea!

Anandi -f course it is a pick up attempt... right?? (oh don't take one of my 3 precious moments away from me....!!!)

mifeng -isn't it so that if a Chinese marries a foreigner they can have more than 1 kid?

Pingu -never in this lifetime :)

ero -yeah, sooo popular... dating requests are raining over me... eh. Haha!

pei -hello, primer silent reader, I am glad u decided to leave a comment!! :) F course relationships are hard work no matter where you are. I've just never met a guy who's searching for a girlfriend before, with so honest and straightforward requests. Although too high demands/illusion of the 'perfect partner' often leads to disappointment. I used to have a quite naive idea of my ideal boyfriend when I was younger so I know. Funny that when the right guy came along all those illusions/demands just vanished. :)

Emmy -yeah I also thought it was quite funny. I think he'll have to hit on quite a few girls before he strikes his lucky one... ;)

Kanmuri -yeah, maybe a liiiiittle bit too judgmental?! (note to self: I have to learn how to say that in Chinese)

******************** Shanghai MiFeng said...

Jonna , that brings up a good point . I was more thinking living in China . You mean when married to a Foreigner the chinese Woman can have as many as she want's , in China ? I thought this to be true if she moves abroad but not there . I need to check into this .
Beside's , you know I was only kidding of what I said earlier . I alway's share household chore's with my Wife . I even Iron for Her .

choonhong said...

I will suggest the driver to marry a maid

mantse said...

Not bad.... a real attractive girl~~

i should learn from that taxi driver~~

scribbling sassy said...

haha!At least he knows what he wants and got criteria ...'you just didn't fit the mold.(thank goodness you didn't!)

Pingu said...

it's okay, Chinese believe in re-incarnations, so next life time would be just as fine for him I think.

WoAi said...

What? You don't do housework? I'm really sorry then but you're off my list. I don't want a wife AND an ayi, that's like having a PC AND an Apple Mac. Oh wait, I do have two Macs and one PC. Ok, bad example. But you're still off my list.

And I think your post illustrates perfectly the different concept of love and romance in China vs the west. Feelings rarely come in to it here, it's all about whether you meet other practical criteria such as owning a house and car, income level, whether you've been married before or not, even your height!

Tram Almasi said...

Mark! Mark! i agree with you, I think I have learnt something from the chinese guy. 'Just go straight to the point, no shying away'. ha ha!

养蜂猴 said...

Hey, Jonna, so you havenot missed all your Chinese readers, it even does not harm to my reading your blog thanks to the subscription of goolereader, but have to comment climbing over the GFW by proxy. I guess it is also done by some other Chinese readers, as much troubleness and slowy with proxy, but better than blocked anyway.
China is China, great red China. I guess you will know more and more, real China, by your observing in dairy life in the country. One day...hope in my lifetime, our generation.

As Chinese too, 也不知道怎么评价这个"司机师傅"。However, generally, i guess there are more female than male in China willing to marry to foreigners.

Thanks for all of your stories.

Pete In Syracuse said...

It's always wise to lay your cards on the table before you get married, but my only question is what happens to his beautiful wife after she works like a dog for 30 years of service(the kind he's looking for)? Will he love her, or BE IN love with her? I loved this interplay and your honesty with him.
Well you don't know if you don't ask I guess, I've always veiwed marriage as a partnership. I like your response to "pei"

Maynard Black said...

Full frontal honesty... Interesting concept.

Anonymous said...

Jonna, please tell us you have made this pickup story by a Chinese cab driver. That guy sounds either crazy, so full of himself, or just messing around with a laowai, or all of the above. This can't be a real story.

Now I can see a Taiwanese man wanting you to be his mistress. It's quite the norm for many Taiwanese men. They have no guts for divorce and are cheaters all the time.

The Candid Yank said...

You wonder where the romance is in certain cultures?!? No back-and-forth, no sweet compliments, questions about interests... it's like you are in 14th century Europe and you just get matched up for convenience.

I've also had the experience of being told that some superficial aspect of my body or personality matches exactly what the man is looking for and therefore we should basically get married. It's like, hello? When did you ever in your life hear of that working?

Maybe it actually works in Mexico or Africa or Yemen or wherever these fools come from.

Tait said...

Haha... great post.

The housework part almost seems like a joke. Are you sure he was serious?

I've been trying to figure out why Chinese men hit on pretty foreign girls so little. Are they just not gutsy enough? Do they think foreign girls are too big?

I'm a guy and I've been hit on by Chinese girls too many times to count - and most knew I had a girlfriend.

Blank-Socrate said...

ummmmmmm so incase you break up with your boyfriend I wish to marry you and I will do all house chores.
:) just kidding
it is the Oriental Culture where the man work and his wife do all house chores.
and guess even if the wife is working she is expected to do the chores too !!
not all men accept that at least the educated but it is the culture here :D

Jenny said...

Hey there girl! Haven´t really had achance to read you blog until now - I like it! :-) Fan vad duktig du är. Och rolig! Puss och kram och berätta vad det nya jobbet handlar om som någon skrev om!

Brad Farless said...

I get the feeling he tried the same approach with the American girl, and she didn't take it as well as you did.

That poor guy. He really has no clue does he? Coming from a background of gender equality, I doubt many women would be willing to submit to the role he has in mind.

Anonymous said...

Hi, Jonna,

I actually don't think this is a China vs. Europe thing, rather it's a class thing. In Britain, I don't think a lot of council estate working class man do much of house work. And in China, not many middle class, well educated women are willing to do all the house work.


Anonymous said...

Hi, Jonna,

Not too sure if my earlier comment got through or not. If it did, then pls ignore this one.

I don't think this is a China vs. Europe thing, but a class thing. I don't think a council estate working class men do much of house chore in Britain. And Chinese women raised in a middle class, educated family will not willing to stay home & do all the house work.


Unknown said...

Aha! the taxi driver must have thought it was too good an offer to refuse!!
Well, you know what YOU want.

ren said...

From a Chinese male perspective,

The first taxi driver sounded like he was joking and had a good o' time so didn't charge you. He's probably married.

The gym guy might've just wanted a phone number, even if you were a Swedish man. A lot of Chinese are messed up like that. Like to have foreign friends.

The second taxi driver is probably the only serious one, but hicks are like that.

Sorry, but you've been only hit on once in China.

m--e said...

Hmmm... in Shanghai the guy is expected to work, do the housework and cook! You should have just told the guy you'd only have a Shanghai husband. :-)

There was just an article on Yahoo News on interracial dating. It said Asian men are the least attractive to Caucasian women, and black women are the least attractive to Caucasian men. Unfortunately it didn't say the reasoning!

Anonymous said...

Chinese had long civilization or domestication. They reproduce like domesticated animals. Other tribal societies breed like wild animals who find their own mates with instint. Civilized people breed, hunter and gathers mate.