Ruth Vahle
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Expat Life

Dating in Beijing for Western Women

“Don’t do it – or at least don’t expect anything” “There is no dating in Beijing, just casual hook ups” “Getting laid is easy, finding a boyfriend is hard” “Dating is so difficult in Beijing” “You can’t even get a one-night stand here”

Those are some comments I got when I conducted my utterly unscientific survey on this topic with a handful of single women in Beijing, ranging from their twenties to forties.

The guys’ perspective

“Beijing is like an endless spring break” is a description I heard from more than one guy. And they agree with the women, Beijing is not a relationship place. Too many distractions here.

I’m not saying you can’t find a relationship here. I know a few gals who did. But they have been here for a while, usually way over a year, and been through the cycles of dating frustrations. And then often the relationship happens, when one or both of the partners are about to move away from Beijing, of course in different directions.

What is dating in Beijing really like then?

The typical notion of dating, meaning going out for dinner or a movie, having a drink afterwards, talking and some kissing, maybe even repeat before having sex, that kind of dating does not seem a common occurrence in Beijing.

One-night-stands or short casual flings seem the norm for many guys before they move on to the next women. One friend with an actual boyfriend of 2 months commented that 2 months is long for Beijing.

Even if a guy has a girlfriend or wife, it often doesn’t keep him from going after other women. Likewise, many women, including many Chinese girls, are not deterred by the guy having a girlfriend (or wife), knowing that the guy likely won’t be either. As said before, Beijing is not a relationship place.

I met many single women in Beijing, who were not single by choice. It’s not that they are ugly, clingy, boring or have other major flaws, quite the contrary. They are pretty, sometimes outright gorgeous, smart, have good jobs, and are fun to hang out with.

So what is the problem?

I think the guys’ description of Beijing as a long spring break hits the nail on the head. They often enjoy tremendous attention from local and foreign women alike. They seem to have the choice, and enjoy trying out what’s on offer. So why limit yourself to just one girlfriend when it is so easy to sample so many? And because many people don’t stay for more than 2-3 years, why get tied down with something that may not have a future anyway?

Going out as single woman

Beijing is a relatively safe place for women, so going out alone or with girlfriends is not a problem. You still need to be careful in the bar areas at night. Some guys, especially after a few drinks, may feel quite entitled and may not leave you alone. So don’t walk out of a bar or club alone, leave together with friends.

If you are an outgoing person with a positive vibe and an easy smile, you may get hit on a lot. Most guys are pretty good at taking no for an answer if you are not interested. They just move on to the next girl. And try again the next time they see you.

Sex and the city

From my survey above you see that some Western gals find it easy to find sex in Beijing, others don’t. It’s not a matter of looks or personality or something like that. It seems more dependent on the crowd you hang out with. The students and younger guys on a budget seem to prefer Chinese girls. The slightly older, professional crowd is more equal opportunity, after the initial bout of yellow fever wears off.

It definitely is a myth that all Western guys prefer young Chinese girls. They are also interested in Western women, just in women in general. Even, or sometimes especially, in women older than themselves.

Hey, and if all else fails, there’s still OkCupid. Lots of guys – and girls – there are looking for a quick hookup, and some maybe even for more. Who knows?

Just know that the Beijing expat community can feel very small. Everyone seems to know everyone, or least knows of them. In some social circles casual relationships with other expats can be quite incestuous. So you may want to be very discreet.

What is your experience with dating in Beijing? Please chime in and share.

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