Illustration: Xia Qing/GT
One month ago, my friend Peter asked me to go to lunch with him because he was just dumped by a local Chinese girl, and he wanted to talk and unload some of his bitterness and pain.
My friend is a 40-year-old man from the US who has been working in China as an English teacher at an international school for 12 years.
It's not the first time he has been dumped by a Chinese girlfriend. His tragic ten-year dating experience in China has made him lose faith in romance and the idea that he will find someone who is going to settle down with him.
"I think most of the girls I meet plan to stay with me for a while just to have a good time, and when they decide to settle down, they go for a local Chinese man," Peter said.
We have all heard of the urban legend that foreign men enjoy certain advantages in China's dating market.
However, as more Chinese people are exposed and getting more used to foreign cultures and people, advantages foreigners enjoy in the dating market start to disappear.
Two years ago, Peter met a girl from Shenzhen in Guangdong Province he really liked, they were together for two years, and then they decided to take the relationship to the next level and prepared to get married.
Peter met his potential mother-in-law, and then the mother-in-law did what almost every mother-in-law in China would do. She asked if Peter had an apartment and a car in Beijing or if he has intention or means to buy them.
When the answer was not satisfactory for the mother-in-law, the woman left gloomily, and forced her daughter to end the relationship in the following months.
Peter's earnings in Beijing provide him a very comfortable and quality life, which includes an 80-square-meter rental apartment in the downtown area, several trips around the world a year and dining at every new restaurant in the city, but apparently, that is not enough to convince the Chinese mother-in-laws.
Most Chinese parents want stability for their children, and having a house, car and a stable job ensures that stability. But most foreigners do not believe that these things are necessary to prove stability, which means they are less attractive in the marriage market.
When I was single and mentioned trying to find a foreigner as a boyfriend, my mother immediately vetoed my idea. She said that foreigners don't have good connections in China, so their career development in China is limited. After all, in China, sometimes people's success relies on their guanxi (social connections).
Also, local Chinese have developed an understanding that foreigners who choose to come to China are at the lower end of the society in their home countries.
So, as Chinese people's understanding of the outside world has opened up, they are now removing foreigners from the pedestals they once held them on.
Therefore, foreigners are becoming less successful in the dating market.
This article was published on the Global Times Metropolitan section Two Cents page, a space for reader submissions, including opinion, humor and satire. The ideas expressed are those of the author alone, and do not represent the position of the Global Times.