Relationship Advice and Columns


This week I’m going to write generally about etiquette – this relates to all types of relationships, and mainly to the beginning of a relationship. Not too long after arriving here in Zhengzhou I met a Chinese guy who I’ll call Ian. He is apparently fond of foreign girls. I only saw him a couple of times during the first semester and then again not too long after this second semester started. On that particular night, I was at a gay club and Ian was there as well. We danced together and he was very flirtatious. I also learned through a co-worker that he had had feelings for me for quite awhile; I, on the other hand, had never been attracted to him in the slightest. I wanted to clear the air because I did feel that I had been a bit flirtatious with him and I didn’t want to lead him on. I phoned Ian the day after I saw him and explained the relationship between Ben and I and I told him that, despite my availability, I wasn’t interested in him. I did however want to be friends with him. We had dinner not too long after that and it was pleasant enough. However, the next time I saw him, I suspected that his feelings had not gone away, after he gave me a necklace, kissed me on the cheek, and insisted that I do the same. He explained after that he thought it was normal to kiss on the cheek in the West. I told him it depends on where you come from. I happen to have Quebecois parents and I kiss them on the cheek, but in my hometown of Toronto, that’s not very common. I reminded him again that I wasn’t interested in him and I thought he understood.

Not too long after that, we hung out again and that was fine. However, afterward, I received a text from him, basically propositioning me. He told me I had to experience a Chinese guy at least once and that we would have an amazing night together. I told him I had experienced Chinese guys before in Toronto and they were great, so I had no need to experience another. I told him yet again I wasn’t interested. I also told him that if he continued acting like this toward Western girls, they would blow him off. Finally, I said that I didn’t want to hang out with him again as a friend if he continued making me feel uncomfortable. He didn’t seem to understand, so I ended up deleting him from my contacts on WeChat. He realized I had done that and tried adding me again. I told him to take a hint and blocked him.

I do regret that that all happened, but I hope Ian learned a valuable lesson. Some people think that if you keep pursuing someone, they will eventually change their mind and date you. I myself am generally not like that. If I like someone, I usually realize it fairly quickly and I will pursue them; I don’t need to be pursued. Unfortunately, we have all been taught that men are the pursuers and women are the ones to be chased. There is nothing wrong with women asking men out. I think that many men are tired of being the pursuers and don’t mind being pursued. Dating would be much more equitable if there was equal opportunity for asking people out.

Thanks as always for reading. Next week will be my last post from here in the Middle Kingdom! Ben and I depart from here on June 20th. We will be in Vietnam until the 29th, at which time we fly back to Toronto. If you have a relationship query, email me at

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