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With a few exceptions, Asian men on screen have been small, sneaky and threatening — or spineless, emasculated wimps, or incompetents who may well be technically proficient in martial arts, but impotent when faced with white man’s superior strength or firepower. Even today, Asian American men complain that action heroes such as Chow Yun Fat and Jackie Chan rarely get the girl.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.It’s because I’m often seen holding hands with my Chinese husband.It’s true — the sight of a foreign woman and Chinese boyfriend or Chinese husband is much rarer than its counterpart, the foreign man and Chinese woman.On the flip side, I suspect that some foreign women might be unwilling to give Chinese men a chance because of money.Average Chinese men tend not to earn big salaries in China, unless they are, for example, bosses, high-powered execs, or an in-demand talent.On the other hand, there are Chinese men — and their families — who would be happy to have a foreign woman in the family. For example, my good friend in Hangzhou, Xiao Yu, once told me that some Chinese men cannot overcome their feeling of inferiority — that being an American girl, a citizen of one of the most powerful countries in the world, made my presence somewhat intimidating.According to Xiao Yu, some Chinese men could never believe that such a girl would become their one and only. A driver who took me to the Beijing Airport this summer admitted he once had a Russian girlfriend when he was a college student.
Rarely have they been depicted with traditionally masculine traits.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.