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newforeigner

Dating in China

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newforeigner

Hi, I met a girl on my first day of arrival. I asked her email address. She did not want to give it to me. However, she gave me her cell phone number. This is kind of strange as it should be the other way. Anyway,I could not call her as my phone was not working. Few weeks later, I met her again by chance. She recognized me immediately (I am asian looking). I asked her for lunch or dinner. She agreed. Is this considered to be date in China? What do people do on the first date? Is the guy supposed to pay for the dinner?

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diste01

Well lets not generalize here but I give 99% that you'll have to sort everything out. Anyway, you asked her out right? I think first date is very much fair but I'm afraid this may carry on like this forever. I had a gf from Beijing in the past... sweet girl but dude, I had to pay for absolutely everything from dinners (sometimes she was bringing in friends), taxis, bus tickets to stupid water at convenience stores... she'd just wait at the register for me to arrive and just tell me that this is what she's going to take, put it next to me and wait till I pay. She wasn't rich though but this attitude really annoyed me. I had some extra cash at a time so I didn't mind but nowadays I have my principles. If I like you and you like me, then I cannot see the point why I'd need to be your private ATM. I think this is fair yet lots of Asian girls would say I'm just very stingy. Oh well, life goes on. :)

Even if this girl doesn't work out don't give up. There are lots of normal girls who don't need sponsors and understand the issue here. I found one and had someone else in the past with good manners so this is indeed possible. It's not about the money but about gestures that I really appreciate and anyway, I spend much more than her because I earn more and feel like it's ok. But this is different from fulfilling someone's expectations.

Good luck!

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Shelley

I think it doesn't matter where you are, you asked her, so you will probably be expected to pay.

She probably gave you her cell number cos that is easier give a wrong number that sounds right than an email address. This may be so she can keep control of the situation.

If you go out in the evening ie have dinner, go dancing or to a club, I would say that is a date. If you just meet for lunch it is more like friends.

What ever happens enjoy and don't rush in to things.

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newforeigner

We live in the same area but I asked her for dinner at a nearby shopping mall. I proposed meeting at 5:30 because it gives us more time to talk and go home by 9 (last bus). She suggested meeting at around 7. It is a strange feeling but whenever I am with her, I feel some kind of physical closeness.

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newforeigner

There is a strong typhoon and heavy rain. Is it a good idea to postpone the meeting?

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esoyohoo

well, asking for an email address sounds wired in China because seldom people expect the office ladies who use BlackBerry will check their emails frequently. So giving you the mobile number is normal.

You can consider this dinner as a date. But be carefully, if she actually want you be her ATM, you get to keep distance from her. Good girl always try to save your money not waste your money for her own happiness.

By the way, Going Dutch for dinner is not good in China, normally man always pay the bill. BUT, for the other staffs such as taxis, bus tickets to stupid water at convenience stores are absolutely out of the scope. You do not need to pay everything for her.

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stephenieyuan

Giving someone your cell phone number here is normal. I would consider it a date, since you asked her out and you don't really know much about her. It means you're interested in her and she wants to know more about you, too, since she agreed to go. Also, as mentioned above, you asked her, so you should pay for the meal. I don't know why, but I think that the guy should at least offer to pay for all meals, at least in the beginning of the relationship or meeting. After you are familiar with each other, you guys will gradually not feel awk when the bill comes and it wouldn't matter who paid. This doesn't mean that I want a guy to be my ATM machine or anything in the beginning of a relationship, either. Far from that. I am just saying that it would be nice to hear a guy offer instead of sitting there silently and awkwardly when the bill comes. I would usually insist on paying if a guy offered when I knew that I should pay. All the guy has to say is, "Thanks :)", just as I would if a guy paid for me. For me, I don't think that it's mandatory for a guy to pay for me, but it's a really nice gesture. However, since we're still students, I can understand why money would be tight and a girl letting the guy pay for everything (including stupid water) wouldn't be the best choice. I just think that every now and then, even throughout a relationship, the guy should do something special (girl, too!) whether it be taking her out on a date and paying for a nice dinner, setting up a picnic, etc... It doesn't really matter what it is. Paying for a meal should be the easiest thing, since you don't have to put much planning into it, whereas going something special like setting up a picnic or taking her somewhere fun would require more planning.

If you meet a girl that constantly makes you pay without really expressing her gratitude or even expresses her thanks but continues to do it, then just talk to her about it and drop her. I guess the issue isn't really about money, but about her respect towards you since she treated you like an ATM and even brought her friends, haha. I would get annoyed of it, too.

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diste01

Reading the above I feel like I was used lol! Anyway, it's cool :) it was 4 years ago, first time in Asia and I don't regret it. We're all learning and money issue is (for me) very much delicate and hard to bring up, but indeed sometimes we have to.

I, however, somehow still don't agree with some of the above comments - men always having to pay for dinners or drinks in clubs (not sure if that's what you guys also meant but let me assume this). Why would that be? I mean again, we're not talking here about going Dutch but about simple principles. If the girl really likes you why would it always have to be you? So that she can go to Sephora and buy new perfumes? My 2 past relationships with Asian girls were exactly the opposite. There was no splitting or money counting, it was just common sense sometimes it was me sometimes it was her and not necessarily taking turns haha.

In the past I was dating a thai girl and after paying the bill at the restaurant she pulled out literally 50% of the bill in the taxi and wanted to give it back to me. I said, well I've already paid for this so it really doesn't matter and asked her why she's doing that. She said, well she didn't want me to lose face in the restaurant... nearly choked :) but it looks like the waiter would think im some strange man (not that I care anyway).

Another problem is that, ok we're students so why not have the equal balance (assuming both people are students and are not working)? I had this in Singapore with a Singaporean girl. In the end I just gave up since in my opinion it wasn't fair that she expected me to pay for most of the things and it wasn't even my but my parents money! I find this quite shallow and strange.

Finally, I feel similar to Stephanie about not wanting someone to pay. I just feel that showing a gesture is the best thing ever. If this doesn't come up after a few meetings I usually give up, it's just a pretty bad sign for me. And even if there's a gesture I'd still be happy to pay because again, this is not about the money. She could get me a coffee in the street for USD1 instead next time round - simple things like that. Some of you might argue that it doesn't make sense but these are just my principles and experiences I wanted to share.

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liuzhou
I asked her email address. She did not want to give it to me. However, she gave me her cell phone number. This is kind of strange as it should be the other way.

Why should it be the other way? It is perfectly normal in China to give the cell phone number and very unusual to give email address. Few Chinese people really use email the way most westerners do. Unless they use it in a work context (where they might not want casual acquaintances or potential dates leaving messages), they may only check it about once a month, or more likely they will have forgotten their log-in details and have to start a new account.

Is the guy supposed to pay for the dinner?

You invited her, so you pay. Not because you are a guy, but because you did the inviting. That is the way in China for ANY invitation - whether it is to a member of the opposite sex or a group of twenty associates. If you do the inviting, you are expected to pay (although there may be token attempts by others to pay.)

I proposed meeting at 5:30 because it gives us more time to talk and go home by 9 (last bus). She suggested meeting at around 7

Meeting at 7 is much more normal.

There is a strong typhoon and heavy rain. Is it a good idea to postpone the meeting?

No. Unless, she does.

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diste01

Interesting viewpoint liuzhou.

I want to refer to "You invited her, so you pay. Not because you are a guy, but because you did the inviting. That is the way in China for ANY invitation". So if a Chinese girl invites you she'd take care of everything? Not that I'm even thinking about it but am just curious?

If this is the case then I guess it doesn't happen often in China and even if the girl likes you she's more likely to wait until you invite her lol? Well, I guess this is up to one's personality but quite a few girls do that.

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liuzhou
if a Chinese girl invites you she'd take care of everything?

If by 'take care of everything' you mean will she pay for dinner if she did the inviting, the answer is a simple 'yes'.

I have been invited for dinner or lunch several times over the years by women (not necessarily romantic prospects) and they have been happy to pay. I have usually, but not always, reciprocated by inviting them to eat on some later occasion.

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diste01

Yes this is what I meant and I'm very surprised to read this. I guess this is a small percentage of Chinese women but anyway, I don't want to be judgmental so will wait to see it by myself.

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esoyohoo

If that is a dating, man pays the bill ; Other situations, host pays the bill.

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liuzhou
I guess this is a small percentage of Chinese women

I don't think so. It is just part of Chinese culture or etiquette. The person doing the inviting almost always pays. In fact they often repeat "I invite you" to emphasise that the treat is on them.

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diste01

Im looking forward to experiencing this myself. Not that Im planning on dating any chinese at all but surely there will be occasions to experience it. I'll report back boys and girls.

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roddy
In fact they often repeat "I invite you" to emphasise that the treat is on them.

Or 你请我吧 to emphasise it won't be...

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stephenieyuan

I'm getting confused by all these posts...Anyway, I guess letting the guy pay is just a tradition, but it's slowly dying out as women are gaining their rights and earning just as much as men do. :) I think it's just a sign of respect. Plus, I would hate it if some guy asked me to split AA on the first date...It's not about the money. It's about his willingness to spend his money on you.

In reference to the comments above on if a girl invites and choosing who to pay, I think that if a girl invited someone out, like going to the movies or something, she could just want to spend time with you, but hasn't thought much about who will pay. You will see at the time if she was planning on paying when you're buying tickets. If you like the girl, though, you wouldn't mind paying even if she asked you out. I guess overtime, if that continues to happen, you'll gradually start disliking her for making you feel like you've been used...haha. But anyway, my point is that if she has even thought about it, she might insist on paying. Otherwise, I think it is still courteous to offer to pay instead of just standing there and pretending like you're preoccupied with someone else when it times come to pay. Sooo, if a girl asks you out, no, it doesn't automatically mean that she pays. It kind of just depends on the situation...SOOOOO don't worry about this too much! I don't even think much about who will pay before I go out to dinner with someone.

HAVE FUN ON YOUR DATE ;)!

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diste01

haha yeah but I'm enjoying this conversation don't you?

I think saying it's a tradition is a little outdated no? :) Women want to have equal rights, earn the same as men, be independent and be treated seriously. I totally agree with this and believe this is how it should be in the first place, so then? Why would paying for a girl be a sign of respect or someone's way to show the willingness to spend cash on her? Why wouldn't it be the other way round? Is a man or a woman "better" in any way? I'm not saying I don't believe in being a gentelman but showing respect by putting $$$ on the table isn't any respect at all. It's all relative to your income and what you can afford. For one spending 100RMB in a restaurant can be peanuts, for another it could be a fortune. I guess if women take this as the factor to judge men, then no wonder they regret getting in a relationship after some time and somehow become unhappy. I've seen it all over. In my opinion this should be mutual, although again and again and again, I have always been spending much more than any other girl I have ever been going out with. No stats Im afraid but this should give you a good perspective. ;)

I never wait myself for a single moment before paying on such occassions but always, i mean ALWAYS, appreciate gestures or good intentions. Most of the time, if there's some willingness to contribute I won't even bother and say this is on me but seeing a girl make an effort goes a long way - that's what counts! I hate when some simply assume this is how it works and this is the right thing to do... not to mention when you don't even hear a simple "thanks".

I don't know, I might be weird. I'm thinking maybe it's because most of the girls from back home where I lived for 18 years (Poland) have this kind of personality traits. I cannot remember any of my ex Polish gf's that wouldn't argue for quite a while before letting me cover lunch / dinner / drinks and then would always stress that the next time we hang out it's on them. If they knew I wouldn't let them I'd get a nice surprise so that I had no chance to stop them. This was always really sweet and somehow I feel like a way to go.

I guess this could have a large impact on my way of thinking nowadays. I'm not saying I am right and everyone else is wrong. We just have different perceptions and even though I don't agree with some comments I definitely respect them. :)

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stephenieyuan

Eh, don't get me wrong. I don't think that it's the money that matters. Again, it's the willingness to spend on her. I use the word "spend", but is not limited to referring to money. It could be time, energy, effort, whatever. For example, if he didn't have ANY income, which is sometimes the case with students, it would mean a lot that he would still be willing to pay, that he would somehow find a way to earn back that money, but that he really wanted to spend it on you. I don't mean to say that if a guy makes a lot of money, I wouldn't even say "thanks" since he's loaded anyway. I agree with what you said about saying "thanks." I think that sometimes people forget to say thanks, but you can usually tell if they were appreciative or not even without them verbally expressing it to you. I usually make it a point to say thanks, but sometimes people forget, and that's understandable...since it's usually implied.

I'm just saying it's nice when a guy offers. Yes, it's outdated and yes it's illogical to expect a guy to offer most of the time, but when were relationships ever just logical?

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diste01

haha good point Stephanie! Yeah I took the word "spend" literally and referred to money only, sorry my bad.

But talking about students I had a story with a Singaporean girl when I was a student... and I somehow didn't appreciate her expectations. To put it short I felt like she was okay with me paying for her even though she knew this money came from people she has never met - my parents. I felt like it was really wrong and didn't appreciate it at all. At the end of the day I was on my parent's dosh and so was she. Point taken though that it's mostly about one's priorities and how you manage your cash. But how it usually ends is you tend to spend more so you tend to ask your parents for more. Luckily I also had some savings that she didn't know about so I didn't have to do that but I felt like she was absolutely ok with it...

Also agreed on thanks. It's the attitude that counts most and appreciation shown with or without words and thanks was just an example.

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