Thursday, July 15, 2010

Top Five excuses for not going out with me

Not that I take this personally, you understand. These are generic excuses that most women, at one time or another, have used to fob off most men, in most countries around the world. But there are one or two specific little local twists in this list: I fear that this sort of thing does happen more here in China, in Beijing - at least among the expat community (for reasons that I have discussed in far more detail in my infamous series on Dating in Beijing - links here).

Here we go, then........

The Top Five Excuses For Not Going Out With Me

5) The imaginary boyfriend
Oh, that old classic! Yes, yes, it is a truth universally acknowledged that an attractive woman must already have a boyfriend. And I admire loyalty to a partner, I do; it's a very desirable characteristic in a woman. But, you know, if I've met you 17 times now, in all sorts of different company and different venues, and I've never actually seen the alleged boyfriend (and neither has anyone else among our mutual acquaintances), I am going to start doubting the existence - or, at any rate, the relevance - of said boyfriend. I am going to start suspecting that you just don't fancy me.

4) "You're not going to do much for my Chinese, are you?"
The 'Yellow Fever' phenomenon - the formation of an overwhelming, sometimes completely exclusive preference for Chinese/Asian partners - is generally seen as a characteristic foible of Western men here, but it's not completely unknown amongst the ladies. It's amazing how quickly these choices become fetishised: you try it once, and if it works out sort of OK, it's soon ossified into a self-limiting habit, with other ethnicities completely dropping off your radar. Chinese guys, though, rarely have much of that 'cute' factor that is supposed to distinguish Chinese girls (although I am quite immune to it myself), so the initial impetus for foreign women to get into Chinese guys is almost invariably "practising Mandarin". I suspect that, for many of those who make it a life-long habit, there may often be a certain sense of enhanced power or independence for them as well: the guys are eager to improve their English, get some exposure to overseas culture, show off to their friends who they managed to pull, etc., and perhaps even to try to get a foreign passport - this tends to give the girls more 'hand' in the relationship. And - thanks to the wonders of the language gap - they can just ignore the guy for long periods if he's being a pain. It's a much less common preference amongst women than men (I'd guess maybe around 10%, as opposed to about 95% for the males), but I seem to run up against it rather a lot (I suppose it's more prevalent among the 'lifers' here, and they're the kind of people I mostly hang with). Knowing that you don't fancy anyone of my ethnicity doesn't really take the sting out of the fact that you don't fancy me in particular.

3) Act of God
You lost my phone number. Or your phone. Or you'd forgotten your visa was about to expire. Or you got sent out of town on business at no notice. Or, as John Belushi put it in The Blues Brothers: "There was an earthquake.... a terrible flood.... LOCUSTS! It wasn't my fault, I swear to god!!!" Such things do happen, yes indeed. But I think you probably just don't fancy me.

2) You're busy seeing friends
I am happy for you that you have such a full and varied social life. And I don't at all approve of the sort of women (and men too, on occasion) who abandon their friends when they get into a relationship. But if you're even vaguely interested in the possibility of getting into a relationship with someone, you really have to bulldoze some space in your crowded schedule. Especially with all the time pressure that we're under here in Beijing: yes, we do all work very hard here, very irregular hours; and we party hard, too; and we may not be here for all that long. Indeed you might be leaving in only six months, or perhaps just six weeks, so..... if you're interested in whether anything could happen between us, you can't afford to be wasting time. When days and weeks go by when you've been just "too busy seeing friends" to make any time to see me, you're basically telling me that you just don't fancy me enough (or at all).

And the winner.....

1) You've had a crazy week at work.
I'm sure you have. But nobody is that crazy at work that they have to work every single evening for an entire week (and, even if you did, then you should be looking forward to the chance to unwind at the weekend - with me). And nobody is that busy that they can't respond - promptly, or at all - to text messages, e-mails, phone calls. Oh, perhaps you really are that exceptionally busy, just for this one week or so. But more probably you're just very bad at time-management and multi-tasking, getting overwhelmed by things, becoming forgetful, neglectful of your social life. And if you can't even make the minimal effort required to maintain the basic social courtesies - acknowledging a message quickly; turning me down nicely if I invite you out, and you really are too busy to go; offering some encouragement by suggesting a raincheck - it does suggest that you don't fancy me. Or that, even if you do fancy me, you're not giving me as much attention and consideration as I merit - and, therefore, you are probably not, after all, the kind of woman I want to be with.

As I observed in that post on dating a couple of years back, amongst the expat ladies in Beijing "too busy" does often seem to mean just "too busy" rather than "not interested" - and they expect you to keep on asking..... five, six, seven times, or even more. I'm afraid I don't have much tolerance for that little game.


The Man in Black said...

Yes, it was me. I fucked up. Tuesda, 3:00 p.m. I was in class, got a message from Froog, meant to return it later.

Even though the last few times I'VE tried to suggest a get together I get the "My ass/stomach/nose/throat" are on injured reserve and so I can't go....

No matter...We WILL find time to hang this summer.

Mea Culpa. My Bad. I fucked up.

Froog said...

And you're not even a girl!

"Getting in touch with your feminine side"??

Man in Black said...

'And you're not even a girl!"

Oh Froog, if wishing made it so...

In any case, I'm on shore leave first week of August, think the old frame will have pulled itself together by then?

"And he said unto them, Ye will surely say unto me this proverb, Fellow Drinker, heal thyself!"

We'll do this.