Dating in China, blah blah. More often than not it was Rejected in China. Especially during my Guangzhou Year.
Everyone seemed to be doing fine hooking up, yet I always found myself to be wrought with challenges in this game.
People all assume that it’s so easy to be an expat in China. There are advantages to be sure, I admit my privilege. However, honestly I get rejected by local girls all the time.
What can I say? I really put myself out there. That means taking risks. That sometimes means embarrassing yourself, falling on the hard dirt face-first, and somehow finding the strength to do it all over again next weekend. Did I learn anything?
There was the girl who made out with me while my friend was visiting and texted me all the time, yet she would never make the time to meet one-on-one for a date. There was the second date with the Sandy when she slept over at my place and we massaged each other in the morning and then she told me she’s seeing someone else. There was the girl I approached outside in the street who turned out to run a bar in Panyu, and we as per usual made out in a club and then I went to her bar and I could never get her alone again. There was my cute Italian friend, one ambiguous friendship with that flirting tension in the air and nothing ever came of it. The American (from guess where, Florida) who was really into graphic cybersex with me and then by the time we met in person she was constantly talking about her new boyfriend. The Japanese language teacher friend who rejected my advances multiple times. The girl I met while backpacking in Tokyo, who liked me when we were chatting and showed me around in person but wouldn’t let me stay at her place during my travels. I even met a girl who owned a manga shop in Yuefu and I thought she just might be my soulmate, but she evidently thought there were no sparks at all; this was when I began formulating my theory that too much in common is not good for attraction.
Off the top of my head, two girls especially come to mind, of whose rejections were particularly hurtful–
Josephine. I really liked her. Slim and glamorous. She knew her fashion. A French major, a Europhile. She was meant for greater things than me…
I met her at the big nightclub in Zhujiang New Town. She wore a sexy black dress. I used a great opening line about looking like a drug dealer and pretending people were asking me if I was holding, wondering what she thought of my looks. She laughed, we exchanged numbers.
We had pizza for dinner one day and I bought her a stuffed animal, and she started talking about her boyfriend.
“Isn’t this a date?” I forwardly asked, though trying not to come across as resentful.
I never did get a goodbye kiss from her.
I tried to stay friends with her.
Somehow, her number got lost as I upgraded phones throughout the seasons and I no longer have her contact info. It would be nice to know what she’s up to. Just to be friends on Wechat, see her posts occasionally, not bug her all the time or anything.
Josephine, are you out there?
Probably the most drama I had in my entire Guangzhou era was with Seline.
Now, I met her indirectly through Couchsurfing. But let me assure you that I never ever use the crucial travel-and-networking website as a hookup thing. That is strictly against my code. This was the only time I kinda-sorta broke that code.
It’s just that I went to a Couchsurfing party and she was there. I didn’t chat her up online first or anything. It was one of those big dinners I used to go to, back when CS was a part of my social activity. My Austrian friend, the one I went skinny-dipping with, was there. The dinner party dwindled and the small group of us left staying out late decided to check out a new club.
Seline was gorgeous. Cantonese, very tall. Amazing legs. Recent graduate of Zhongshan U (the campus of which wasn’t even that far from my ‘distant’ Panyu pad). I was on fire with wit that night; I was funny and an epic conversationalist. I danced with her passionately, found a private corner for us, and teased her with kissing games until we were fully making out.
“I’m so happy you like me,” she actually said. I was quite proud of myself!
I really hoped we could be a couple. Somehow it was not meant to be.
We didn’t go home together or anything, but the next day we went to the mall and went to the artsy bar and made out some more. Still, she wouldn’t come home with me. That’s okay, a gentleman should be more patient.
Yet, all the other times we kept meeting in groups. It was getting fairly awkward for me at the Couchsurfing events. We went bowling and ate barbecue in Panyu, and I wanted to find someway to get her alone again but it wouldn’t work out. Social butterfly that she was, she preferred packs. Perhaps I simply don’t get along well with overly-social butterflies.
“Come on,” I said, nearly pleading. “We’re not far at all. Stop by my place.”
“Ho hum,” she wandered off.
Sometimes I don’t understand Chinese girls. I do get that that in the heat of the moment when you’re dancing and drunk, people kiss and there is attraction and then I get that it’s reasonable when the feeling can fade away days later.
But it would be nice to be more clear about what the terms are when you meet again those days later. These girls always seem to want to be friends with me, even when there is very palpable very obvious sexual tension. Do they want me as some sort of backup? Holding on to the chance that something might develop between us? Or are they totally oblivious and just want to be friends with the foreigner to practice English, even after said foreigner slobbered all over her face and she rejected him? It can get confusing. Frustrating. It would be almost cruel if I didn’t conclude it was more out of obliviousness than purposeful cockteasing.
Look, I don’t want to be one of those guys always complaining about being ‘friend-zoned.’ Recent studies have confirmed that this is largely a myth, and it’s quite common for women to enter relationships with men they were first friends with. I’m simply expressing the weirdness of being direct, getting as far as kissing, and then being rejected. And I’m not even complaining about it these days at all, back then it was an issue and today I’m totally content in this regard 🙂
Anyway. In this case with Seline, it really sucked. I liked her a lot, I was very attracted to her and I respected her and I had so hoped we could have something between us. When she finally overtly rejected me, she didn’t even use the excuse the excuse that she had a boyfriend. Only the “let’s just be friends.”
Fine then. The last time I saw her was at another club, hanging with some extremely douche businessmen types. Being that this brand of expat is my natural enemy, I couldn’t help but feel furiously rejected. I got rather pissed off, drunkenly yelled, and continued the drunken yelling on the phone the next day. It wasn’t becoming of me at all. Sorry.
I think today I know better than to get in such situations. I don’t know why my year in Guangzhou was so frustrating. I did have some fun, a lot of fun in fact. It’s not to say I never hooked up, I did an obscene amount of dating that year. It’s just that all the ones who liked me back simply weren’t girlfriend material. And the ones who I liked the most kept outright rejecting me. Life is funny that way sometimes.
I should be more grateful. Am I too negative? Truthfully, I needn’t complain here. There were indeed a lot of girls who liked me, and a reinterpretation may be in order. I mean, I could be more positive couldn’t I…?
Next: My humble successes