Author Topic: Sino-British romantic minefield?  (Read 6471 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

cabbageweevil

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1140
Sino-British romantic minefield?
« on: September 14, 2012, 02:04:42 PM »
Requesting counsel / insights from people on this board with knowledge of China and its culture. My brother (white, English, living in UK) is decidedly taken with a female work colleague of his, who is Chinese. This lady is – it is gathered – a citizen of the People’s Republic of China, on a long-term work contract at my brother’s place of work.

Brother has hit it off with the lady, in interpersonal terms, and finds her seemingly “flirtily interested” re their interaction. He says that if she were British, he would take this as an indication that she was interested in possibilities of the romantic kind, and would accordingly ask her out. With her coming from a different country and culture – he wonders what to make of the “signals” he is seemingly getting: i.e. is it as it would be in an all-British context, “as above”; or is it just a matter of her politely acknowledging approving male attention, without indicating any potential romantic interest?  He’s wary of taking the next step, for fear of making an embarrassed fool of himself in case the second possibility just stated, is the truth of the thing.

I’m assuming it can be “taken as read” that my brother has considered, and rated liveable-with, the potential pitfalls of romantic involvement with a work colleague.

All thoughts on this matter, would be gratefully received.




camlan

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 8725
Re: Sino-British romantic minefield?
« Reply #1 on: September 14, 2012, 02:58:48 PM »
In a similar situation, but different culture, my brother was stationed in Turkey and fell for a Turkish woman. He did a bit of research into Turkish dating culture, and asked a close Turkish male friend for advice. He was also battling the stereotype of US servicemen abroad. He already knew how to speak Turkish and knew quite a bit about Turkish customs in general.

He must have done something right. They've been married for 15 years, his in-laws love him to pieces, and they have two charming children. They had to deal with different religions, and differing expectations of how much he would contribute to running the house. His wife at first got upset when he did things like clear the table or wash the dishes or run a load of laundry. She saw that as a comment that she wasn't doing enough house work, or wasn't doing it well enough. She's over that now, and is the envy of her friends, because she has a husband who helps around the house.

So my suggestions would be to investigate what dating/relationships are like in her culture, and to respect any cultural norms--i.e. not sleeping together before marriage, that sort of thing. And if he can talk to someone familiar with her culture, he could find out what a typical first overture to dating might be.
Nothing is impossible, the word itself says, “I’m possible!” –Audrey Hepburn


bah12

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 5304
Re: Sino-British romantic minefield?
« Reply #2 on: September 14, 2012, 03:39:52 PM »
If he's interested in her, then I think he should ask her out.  I think the possibility that she'll reject him has far less consequences than not taking a chance on someone that may like him just as much.

And while I think it shows and says a lot for him to take the time to research her culture (and I encourage it), he should also keep in mind that she's stepped out of that culture, at least for this time, and may not be 100% stuck in the ways of where she came from.  In order for him to truly know, he just needs to take a deep breath and ask her out on a date.

jmarvellous

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 3593
Re: Sino-British romantic minefield?
« Reply #3 on: September 14, 2012, 03:47:54 PM »
If he's interested in her, then I think he should ask her out.  I think the possibility that she'll reject him has far less consequences than not taking a chance on someone that may like him just as much.

And while I think it shows and says a lot for him to take the time to research her culture (and I encourage it), he should also keep in mind that she's stepped out of that culture, at least for this time, and may not be 100% stuck in the ways of where she came from.  In order for him to truly know, he just needs to take a deep breath and ask her out on a date.

These are my thoughts.

It's better to act sooner than later, first.

And it's OK to learn from her, rather than boning up on her culture beforehand. It's possible that her family's highly traditional farmers, or city folks, or from an isolated region, and has peculiarities and standards that you won't exactly find in a book or dating guide online. And she's in his culture now and no matter what probably doesn't expect him to be just like men back home.

I've dated people from immigrant families whose home life was very similar to mine, and people from very similar cultures to mine whose standards and expectations were wildly different. I imagine treating her as an individual, rather than as a Chinese individual, is wise.

Moray

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1869
  • My hovercraft is full of eels!
Re: Sino-British romantic minefield?
« Reply #4 on: September 14, 2012, 03:54:36 PM »
If he's interested in her, then I think he should ask her out.  I think the possibility that she'll reject him has far less consequences than not taking a chance on someone that may like him just as much.

And while I think it shows and says a lot for him to take the time to research her culture (and I encourage it), he should also keep in mind that she's stepped out of that culture, at least for this time, and may not be 100% stuck in the ways of where she came from.  In order for him to truly know, he just needs to take a deep breath and ask her out on a date.

These are my thoughts.

It's better to act sooner than later, first.

And it's OK to learn from her, rather than boning up on her culture beforehand. It's possible that her family's highly traditional farmers, or city folks, or from an isolated region, and has peculiarities and standards that you won't exactly find in a book or dating guide online. And she's in his culture now and no matter what probably doesn't expect him to be just like men back home.

I've dated people from immigrant families whose home life was very similar to mine, and people from very similar cultures to mine whose standards and expectations were wildly different. I imagine treating her as an individual, rather than as a Chinese individual, is wise.

Indeed.
Utah

Cat-Fu

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 523
  • My cat is a ninja
Re: Sino-British romantic minefield?
« Reply #5 on: September 14, 2012, 04:09:15 PM »
A good friend of mine married a lovely lady from China. From what I can tell, they're pretty conservative over there about showing romantic interest, so it's possible that she's not particularly influenced by it, or is very very very interested.

Either way, your brother shouldn't worry so much about it. Asking someone out isn't a big deal, and potentially being rejected isn't something to feel like an "embarassed fool" about. He should just ask her out and graciously accept whatever the answer is. :)
“Poetry is a sword of lightning, ever unsheathed, which consumes the scabbard that would contain it.” PBS

MrsJWine

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 8837
  • I have an excessive fondness for parentheses.
    • Wallydraigle
Re: Sino-British romantic minefield?
« Reply #6 on: September 14, 2012, 04:20:10 PM »
Just to make sure I have it clear:

Your brother has a flirtatious relationship with a Chinese lady from his work, but he is not sure if her signals are true flirtation or due to cultural differences. He is also concerned about the possible consequences of dating someone from work.

Is that what you're asking about?


I have a blog.  I hate that word.


Utah

Pippen

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1218
Re: Sino-British romantic minefield?
« Reply #7 on: September 14, 2012, 04:35:07 PM »
A good friend of mine married a lovely lady from China. From what I can tell, they're pretty conservative over there about showing romantic interest, so it's possible that she's not particularly influenced by it, or is very very very interested.

Either way, your brother shouldn't worry so much about it. Asking someone out isn't a big deal, and potentially being rejected isn't something to feel like an "embarassed fool" about. He should just ask her out and graciously accept whatever the answer is. :)

Agreed. I have a number of Chinese friends and casual relationships are very much frowned upon. I would get your brother to give serious consideration to what his intentions are. The women I know will give short shrift to any guy they think is mucking them around.

Van down by the river

  • Jr. Member
  • *
  • Posts: 78
  • This must be what going mad feels like.
Re: Sino-British romantic minefield?
« Reply #8 on: September 14, 2012, 05:21:22 PM »
Just to make sure I have it clear:

Your brother has a flirtatious relationship with a Chinese lady from his work, but he is not sure if her signals are true flirtation or due to cultural differences. He is also concerned about the possible consequences of dating someone from work.

Is that what you're asking about?

It seems so. I had a bit of trouble figuring out the OP too. :-)

Cat-Fu

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 523
  • My cat is a ninja
Re: Sino-British romantic minefield?
« Reply #9 on: September 14, 2012, 05:29:24 PM »
Just to make sure I have it clear:

Your brother has a flirtatious relationship with a Chinese lady from his work, but he is not sure if her signals are true flirtation or due to cultural differences. He is also concerned about the possible consequences of dating someone from work.

Is that what you're asking about?

Oh gosh, I totally misread the part about the issues due to her being a coworker. I thought cabbageweevil was saying it wasn't an issue. Actually, upon a second read I'm not really sure how her brother feels about it!
“Poetry is a sword of lightning, ever unsheathed, which consumes the scabbard that would contain it.” PBS

Moray

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1869
  • My hovercraft is full of eels!
Re: Sino-British romantic minefield?
« Reply #10 on: September 14, 2012, 05:40:20 PM »
Just to make sure I have it clear:

Your brother has a flirtatious relationship with a Chinese lady from his work, but he is not sure if her signals are true flirtation or due to cultural differences. He is also concerned about the possible consequences of dating someone from work.

Is that what you're asking about?

Oh gosh, I totally misread the part about the issues due to her being a coworker. I thought cabbageweevil was saying it wasn't an issue. Actually, upon a second read I'm not really sure how her brother feels about it!

Wait, now I'm confused, too! cabbageweevil, what was it you meant?
Utah

MrsJWine

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 8837
  • I have an excessive fondness for parentheses.
    • Wallydraigle
Re: Sino-British romantic minefield?
« Reply #11 on: September 14, 2012, 05:41:44 PM »
Just to make sure I have it clear:

Your brother has a flirtatious relationship with a Chinese lady from his work, but he is not sure if her signals are true flirtation or due to cultural differences. He is also concerned about the possible consequences of dating someone from work.

Is that what you're asking about?

Oh gosh, I totally misread the part about the issues due to her being a coworker. I thought cabbageweevil was saying it wasn't an issue. Actually, upon a second read I'm not really sure how her brother feels about it!

Wait, now I'm confused, too! cabbageweevil, what was it you meant?

I think my cat is a ninja had it right, actually. The wording of that sentence was a bit confusing.


I have a blog.  I hate that word.


Utah

Twik

  • A Pillar of the Forum
  • *****
  • Posts: 28735
Re: Sino-British romantic minefield?
« Reply #12 on: September 14, 2012, 05:51:36 PM »
Unfortunately, if he can't figure out her level of interest in him, a group of strangers (even those who have experience in Chinese culture) are unlikely to be able to do so.

And I don't think that one can identify a "Chinese response" to male attention, any more than we can say, "this is how an American woman would react." Which woman? Either culture could produce a woman horrified by an invitation to coffee, or one who would be doing the inviting herself.

It sounds as if he really is *not* entirely comfortable with the potential pitfalls of romantic involvement with a work colleague. In which case, he should consider that asking her for a date and being turned down would be much less traumatic than many things that could happen, assuming she said yes, and the relationship went sour later while they shared a workplace. Romance does not reward trepidation.

My cousin's memoir of love and loneliness while raising a child with multiple disabilities will be out on Amazon soon! Know the Night, by Maria Mutch, has been called "full of hope, light, and companionship for surviving the small hours of the night."

Calypso

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2750
Re: Sino-British romantic minefield?
« Reply #13 on: September 14, 2012, 06:39:40 PM »
I think your brother is wise to want to learn about Chinese cultural dating norms ahead of time. We're imbued with the expectations about relationships from our immediate families, and go to our first partners unprepared for the clash of different backgrounds within the same national culture; I think camlan's brother's approach is just the right way to go with a lady from another country.

Besides, I can't think she'd be anything but flattered that he'd take the trouble to do a little research and try to understand her culture----she might find it quite charming.


camlan

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 8725
Re: Sino-British romantic minefield?
« Reply #14 on: September 15, 2012, 08:19:26 AM »
I think your brother is wise to want to learn about Chinese cultural dating norms ahead of time. We're imbued with the expectations about relationships from our immediate families, and go to our first partners unprepared for the clash of different backgrounds within the same national culture; I think camlan's brother's approach is just the right way to go with a lady from another country.

Besides, I can't think she'd be anything but flattered that he'd take the trouble to do a little research and try to understand her culture----she might find it quite charming.

Dear Brother didn't do a ton of research, but he did want to know what would be seen as an appropriate type of first date, and he really wanted to know what he shouldn't do, i.e. something that would turn her off immediately.

However, he was also in her country, and from what I can gather, knew that he had found "the one," if only he could convince her to date an American. They were colleagues, in that they worked for the same general organization, but in different buildings.

And there were issues. Her parents disowned her for dating an American and didn't speak to her for a few years, although that changed when DB properly asked for her hand in marriage.
Nothing is impossible, the word itself says, “I’m possible!” –Audrey Hepburn