This post originally appeared on Language Boat.
For many people, an inevitable part of moving to a new country for immersion language learning entails dating the locals.
If you are one of the relatively few western women living in Taiwan, and you fancy dating the local men, there are a few helpful things to know.
While it’s impossible to account for all the variation and differences among Taiwanese men, there are persistent cultural trends, attitudes, and expectations that are good to be aware of.
The list below is based on my observations, conversations, and personal experiences. This information is not in any way a definitive truth about all Taiwanese men.
Additionally, I’m referring specifically to men about 25 years or older. Teenage or college love and romance in Taiwan tends to follow a difference set of unwritten rules and expectations.
- Taiwanese guys are notoriously shy. This is partly due to cultural modesty, saving face, respect, and a culture of the gentlemanly treatment of women. Taiwanese guys will not show interest like American guys by hitting on you.
- Taiwanese guys generally take things slow. This is not always true, however, and some Taiwanese guys try to be more assertive and “Western” when dating Western women. This usually plays out in a clumsy, awkward move that is ill-timed and premature.
- Taiwanese men are typically attracted to charming, intelligent, and demure women. Cheeky, rebellious, or sexually flamboyant women are more likely favored by western men and not so much by their Taiwanese counterparts.
- It may be hard to tell if a Taiwanese guy wants to date you, or just be your friend. This may be because he is still determining that himself, or he doesn’t want you to feel pressured, or he wants to avoid losing face (and your friendship) if you outright reject him.
- If a Taiwanese guy is interested in you, he will text you frequently, give you small gifts, and invite you to spend time alone together. Additionally, he may offer to pay for activities and meals you share together.
- Taiwanese men may express their care and appreciation for you by giving you “helpful” advice. To some western women this may seem pushy, irritating, and overstepping. He may insist you buy a fan for your apartment to save money by running your air conditioner less. Or he may assert you should change cell phone carriers to get a better deal. He wants to feel like your hero, rescuing you and saving the day.
- Holding hands and kissing is a significant step in the relationship. If a Taiwanese guy holds your hand, he probably considers you his girlfriend. As one guy I know put it, “When I hold her hand, it means I am giving her my heart.”
- Taiwanese guys tend to, on average, have fewer girlfriends and sexual partners than their western counterparts. Taiwanese guys, in general, are more interested in a lasting, committed sexual relationship than notches on their bedposts, one night stands or causal sexual encounters.
- Taiwanese guys tend to view dating as a long term mate selection process. Most guys aren’t looking for a casual fling or seasonal romance. They are most likely thinking about your future together.
- Family is important to Taiwanese guys, and they will often consider the wishes of their parents when choosing a partner. This impacts who they date as well, since dating is frequently a road that leads to marriage.
Women in Taipei – have you experienced any of these things in the Taiwanese men you dated. Other defining characteristics that we missed? Share in the comments!
Feature Photo via Ralph Li & Alexander Chen.
ABOUT THE WRITER
Originally from California, Amy shares her enthusiasm for immersion language learning on her blog Language Boat. She learned Spanish while living in Mexico and is now learning Mandarin Chinese in Taiwan. Her background in psychology lends itself to her keen interest in culture, communication, social behavior and relationships. She is also an artist, student pilot, and teaches one-on-one English and American social skills classes. She plans to immerse herself in other cultures and languages after she becomes fluent in Mandarin. Next up on her list is Italy.