Dating my property


Give lots of gifts, pay for dinners and, oh yes, remember to acknowledge that the Chinese invented pretty much everything.



Quite why I once agreed to a second date with a guy from Sweden who wore white socks that came up to his mid-calves and who rattled on endlessly about his Chinese ex-girlfriend, I can’t be sure.Most Western women shy away from the prospect of having a Chinese boyfriend: they find them too traditional, overly effeminate (it doesn’t help that many carry handbags and adore boybands such as Westlife), and the cultural barrier too immense to overcome.To me, though, these obstacles seemed like things that would make a relationship more interesting.But it wasn’t the problem of my boyfriend’s mother that ultimately destroyed our dreams of a future together.

It was an accumulation of things I found increasingly hard to ignore, such as his criticism of Western women (who he would condemn for being overweight, aggressive and too easy) and my deteriorating patience with his personal habits (the stomach-churning sound he made as he spat in the bathroom sink – a daily habit of most locals – or his insistence on wearing the same unwashed clothes for several days in a row).

Living as I do in a city as vibrant and bizarre as Beijing has its good points – and its bad.