Living as I do in a city as vibrant and bizarre as Beijing has its good points – and its bad.Although exciting and unpredictable, from its fascinating culture to its mind-bending language, it’s certainly not an ideal place to find long-term love, no matter how beautiful, smart, successful and hilarious you may be.His mother, although I adored her, was overbearing.She would call him several times a day with the most useless advice, to instruct him to wear a coat because it was cold outside, or to remind him to drink more water and ask him endless questions about his health.And I went on three dates with a New Yorker who proudly boasted of a book he kept that contained the names of every woman he’d ever slept with (with scores).However, unlike the majority of Western women living in China, who watch bitterly as the egos of below-average men swell from the admiring looks of Chinese girls, I took an altogether different approach and chose to date Chinese men instead.There’s a common joke here that a girl should never ask her boyfriend who he would save first if she fell into a lake with his mother.
It was an accumulation of things I found increasingly hard to ignore, such as his criticism of Western women (who he would condemn for being overweight, aggressive and too easy) and my deteriorating patience with his personal habits (the stomach-churning sound he made as he spat in the bathroom sink – a daily habit of most locals – or his insistence on wearing the same unwashed clothes for several days in a row).
Petite and eager to please, these girls are so cute I don’t blame the guys for being attracted to them.
After all, when a Chinese girl pouts, a million hearts melt; when I pout, I resemble a fish. Gorging on crispy duck and splurging on pirated copies of Downton Abbey?
To me, it seemed like mothering had been taken to a whole new level, but it’s the kind of mollycoddling that’s common between mother and son in China.
It has given rise to a cultural phenomenon dubbed the ‘Little Emperors’ – spoiled boys who expect to get everything they want, and whose parents break their backs trying to make their precious heirs happy.