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Sleepless in Shanghai: the romantic comedy edition

June 21, 2011

title inspired by my favorite movie.

I have gotten a lot of questions about the dating scene in Shanghai. from what I have experienced so far, There are two avenues to navigate within the sphere of Shanghai dating. the chinese way, and the expat way.

The Chinese Dating Scene
the chinese do not typically have seriously romantic relationships with one another until after college. No school dances, no dad sitting under the deer head trying to intimidate your prom date, no college mixers, nada. but after college, its time to get hitched ASAP. As I am not chinese, I cannot say for sure, but I imagine this is quite stressful. What I have observed is that chinese couples are a very much like new middle school couples. PDA is limited to excessive hugging and bashful eye contact. And If a chinese man or woman is still single nine months after college, your parents may decide it is time to take matters into their own hands and advertise your good qualities at the marriage market in People’s Square every Saturday and Sunday. There, they will network with other parents and land you at least a date for the following weekend. Given the strict rules, I don’t know very many people who have gone native and submitted to these terms of engagement. However I know of quite a few chinese women who have adopted a more western notion of what it means to be twenty something and single. My best piece of advice if you plan on chasing a chinese girl?(I did not come up with this, for the record) The best time to ask a chinese girl out is right after chinese new year because she has just spent the week getting harassed by her extended family for not having a boyfriend.

The Expat Dating Scene
The Expat dating scene tries to maintain a kind of uniformity despite the varied cultural norms. The first rule of thumb is that standard flirtation rules do not apply here. Keep an open mind on what nicknames people will use, the types of compliments they give, etc. Some of it will make sense, but a lot of it won’t. When people find out I an american college girl, they will change their approach completely and begin to imitate the fraternity stereotype and try to chug a beer in front of you (so impressive!). And be prepared for your own charms to be misunderstood. most of my own sarcasm and (in my opinion) wit goes right over the heads of foreigners. When this happens I usually get a laugh and a comment such as “american girls. hah” But don’t take that as an insult, american girls have a real positive reputation in Shanghai for being independent and too smart for the typical moves. But *spoiler alert* everyone already knows that accents are our kryptonite, so watch out for that. The dating scene also changes based on where you are. In techno/dubstep bars don’t try to have a conversation, people will stare at you for a moment before dancing by themselves again (and by dancing I mean spastic shaking and jumping). In fact, techno bars are just really not places to meet new people at all. far better are places such as Bar Rouge, for cool music and celebrity spotting, or Cs bar for a grundgy college-esque venue.

Real dating in shanghai. Believe it or not, it happens. and there are a surprising amount of good date locations in China. If you get to choose the area, my best piece of advice is to go anywhere there is a high concentration of asian tourists. This is a great strategy especially if you have lighter hair. why? because people will ask to take pictures of you every two minutes. what better way to imply that you are a catch than being photo worthy with a foreign fan club? your guess is as good as mine. The Bund has that advantage. It is the “meet me on top of the empire state building” kind of location, with lights that are absolutely gorgeous at night, and no shortage of asian tourists.

whether you are looking for a mail order bride, new techniques for bar drink banter, or just looking to have an all around good time. Look no farther than Shanghai.

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7 Comments leave one →
  1. June 21, 2011 10:54 am

    I am on the next plane with Buck

  2. Lisa permalink
    June 21, 2011 11:03 am

    “accents are kryptonite” – you’ve got that right!

  3. Aunt Kathy permalink
    June 21, 2011 8:54 pm

    I noticed there was no mention of any particular men you have dated or where you may have gone. Secrets, secrets.

  4. June 22, 2011 8:59 am

    @Jeff you don’t need buck. you are already 6 foot 5
    @Aunt Kathy I have no idea what you are talking about. accents aren’t my kryptonite psh.

  5. Lisa permalink
    June 22, 2011 11:21 pm

    @Kathy, she’s lying…

  6. Aunt Kari permalink
    June 27, 2011 7:21 pm

    OK, just don’t even think about running off and marrying some Chinese prince or something. Well, ok, I guess they don’t have Princes but I’m sure they have something LIKE a prince and I’m just saying….if you do, I’ll be on the plan with your Dad and buck and well, that just would not be pretty.

  7. Aunt Kari permalink
    June 27, 2011 7:22 pm

    oh, I meant “PLANE” (DOH)

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