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Is she really going out with him?

I can spot a theme when I see one, and Mia over at Discombobulated is obviously uneasy about the tendency of Western men in Asia to hook up with young ladies who are half their age (and a quarter of their weight).

Recently she was unhappy that a fortyish male friend of hers has acquired a 22 year old girlfiend who doesn't speak English.

Prior to that she highlighted an article that appeared in the world's dullest newspaper about the plight of single Western women in Asia. The full article seems to be reprinted here (amazing where the AWSJ syndicates their material).

For Julie Sleva, a Canadian citizen who is an executive with L'Oreal, the French cosmetics firm, the dream becomes hollow when she leaves her office. Although young and by any definition attractive, Ms. Sleva has had to face the often lonely life of a Western female expat professional on a continent where men rule the roost -- a life with no serious relationships and rarely a date.

[..]

Marisa Vidaurre, director of St. John's Cathedral Counseling Services in Hong Kong, says that Ms. Sleva's story is one she has heard time and again from her clients. "What they relate to me is that expat men are not interested in women who are going to be challenging," she states. "A lot more Asian women culturally find it easier to make men feel better about everything they do. It's hard for a man to resist when every word out of your mouth is a pearl of wisdom and every joke is funny." Beyond dating, she points out, "if you're an expatriate woman, you find that a lot of the expat social life is geared toward families. Schools and sports become social forums."

Why, then, do many expat women not move back to the West? One reason, Ms. Vidaurre says, is that "your career track can be quite rewarding in Asia. When you go back, you are one among the many. It's harder to do special things."

Elderly, overweight, bald man with an attractive young girlfriend. A very common sight in Asia, and I think we all know what the two parties want out of it, and I suppose both are happy with the arrangement. However, like Mia I tend to regard this as something of a freak show, all the more so when the gap in age and attractiveness is so significant, and is presumably only "balanced" by a disparity in disposable income. Or am I being too cynical?

The point made by Marisa Vidaurre is presumably one that Mia endorses - that expat men are not interested in women who are going to be challenging, and prefer a younger less demanding companion. As she says of her friend and his new "soulmate":

Even the fact that she doesn't speak English and he doesn't speak her language isn't standing in their way of true and everlasting love.

However, it's certainly not a universal truth - not all men are like that. There are plenty of Western men in Hong Kong with wives or girlfriends who are a very long way removed from the other stereotype of the obedient girlfriend who has nothing else to do than look after her man (and spend his money).

It reminds me of the BBC documentary a few years ago (I think it was part of Louis Theroux's Weird Weekends series) about men who travel from the UK to Bangkok to find a wife. Again, the deal was fairly well understood, but it appeared that in many cases the men weren't able to deliver on their side of the bargain. When the wives arrived in the UK they had to confront the reality of life in Stoke-on-Trent or Solihull with a deeply boring man living in a very ordinary semi-detached house. Oh, and most of them didn't even have much money. No prizes for guessing how that one worked out.

Comments

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hk

I think that there's likely "love" and then there's love, and I agree that there are significant numbers of brilliant and very challenging Asian women in Hong Kong and the rest of Asia.

And one doesn't quite understand just how challening Asian women can be if one has not had the pleasure of dating any.

I think a few Chinese girls I know have proven in many ways that challenging comes in many forms.

Mia

Chris, Your not wrong.

krinsh

If you're going to pay for it, as most men do regardless of whether its hooker or housewife, you may as well get quality and enjoy yourself instead of being degraded and nagged to death by a heifer.

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