Wednesday, March 28, 2012

My Wish List for

Having spent over a $1,000 on credits so far on and having communicated with a few dozen ladies there, I have come up with a Wish List for what I believe would improve the Chnlove dating website service for everyone.

Let's face it, the Chnlove website is a bit dated. (No pun intended). It's also hosted (as far as I can determine) in Hong Kong, so it's not going to give you fast responses if you are browsing it Stateside.

Here is my wishlist for the website, and the Chnlove dating service in general:
  1. Encourage ladies to write longer letters. I have lost track of the number of letters I got that were a half dozen or so lines long. When the man is paying $4 and upwards per letter, it gets pretty expensive when a lady jots down a few lines and sends it to you. I have discontinued a number of relationships because the lady would insist on sending a very short letter every day. Perhaps the owners of Chnlove could encourage each lady to use up most of the 6,000 characters allowed. (I am assuming they have an equivalent limit when typing Chinese). Perhaps they could have a "star" system or "grade" system that encourages them to add images and to write a letter of decent length.
  2. Insist on at least one natural photo on her profile. So many times, when I finally got a natural photo from a lady on the site, it was SO DIFFERENT from the staged, studio quality photos on her profile. Just yesterday, I finally got a natural photo, taken with probably a mobile phone, from my lady. In this, I could clearly see that her teeth were not nearly as perfectly lined up as they were in the profile pictures. So, I went back to look again at her profile pictures, zoomed in to her mouth, and I could see the subtle Photoshop touch-up marks on the image. I know it's what people do (touch up photos using Photoshop), and it's great to look at these often fantastically beautiful studio photos, but it can be a great disappointment when you finally get to see what the lady actually looks like. Sooner or later, the REAL woman must present herself.
    From the other side -- the men's side of -- I know it is in my interests to let the lady know what I look like and what I bring to the table in general, and the sooner the better. Be Honest. Be Honest Early.
  3. Support for mobile phones. Like most sites out there, is almost impossible to browse using a modern smartphone. I have often wanted to check the site early in the morning -- before I even get out of bed -- using my phone, but it is very difficult to view the website because it is designed for a big screen, with no consideration for mobile visitors. The owners of must realize that over 50% of all web viewing today is done using a small resolution screen (like that on a cellphone). To see what I mean, look at the website on your laptop and then look at it on your smart phone. Then look at on your smart phone.
  4. Sort communications by lady. It would make it much easier to view letters sorted by lady, and time (latest first, as it is now). In fact, the website needs something like a tree-like hierarchy to represent conversations. I would suggest a model like gmail.
  5. Search inside letters. I often want to look for something she mentioned many letters ago, but I must search letter by letter. Surely the letters are stored in a SQL db or something, and they can be easily searched.
  6. Show images already sent. I have dozens of photos I might send. I'd like to see what I have already sent to a particular lady, so that I don't accidentally resend the same image multiple times. Display a mosaic of all images I have ever sent to anyone on Gray out those I've sent to a given lady, or use some visual graphic to show that she has already gotten this image from me. Allow me to multi-select three to send to her. Look at how facebook handles images.
  7. Allow bulk upload of my images. I would like to upload all my images in one go to my Chnlove account -- let's call it my "private gallery" -- then cherry-pick from that selection as I progress.
  8. View all images so far per lady. Every picture received from a lady would be saved to my profile under the lady's name, so I could view all pictures from any one of the ladies I have communicated with.
  9. Same image features for ladies. I very often get the same image multiple times from a lady, which always disappoints me. Maybe she loses track or forgets which ones she has already sent to me, but she should have the same image selection available to her, with a similar representation to show which ones she has already sent to a given man.
  10. Encourage ladies to write quality letters. One of the most off-putting letters is one full of "I love you, I love you, I love, kiss kiss kiss kiss kiss" and on and on. Again, it is important for the lady to understand that the man is paying for the letter, so he will be put off by ladies spending his money on fluffy emails that clearly have not taken any effort.
  11. Autosave on edit. I don't like to type letters into Notepad or such, because I can't see how close I am getting to the 6,000 character limit. You might also use a kind of colored status bar to show how much of 6,000 character limit I have already typed. It needs to save letter every minute or so. Take a look at how blog software or gmail or such work.
  12. Don't kill letter on failed send. A few times, I clicked Send after typing a letter only to lose the letter because, for example, the network was down for that moment. I got some kind of message to say the send failed, but the typed letter was gone. Pretty basic stuff this, fellas. Real websites don't ask the user to "type it somewhere else then paste here". That just tells the visitor your website is not robust.
  13. Allow receivers to rate letters. I would allow each reader to rate a letter with 1 to 5 stars, or maybe give textual feedback also. If, at a future date, the lady has ratings from more than let's say 2 or 3 men, she can view her ratings and feedback presented anonymously. I would rate on length, content quality, and photo quality. and some textual feedback. I think you will find that many ladies will score badly on letter length.
Alright, so that's my feedback to the Chnlove website development team, if they ever read this... Add a comment below if you do! 
Thanks and keep up the great work!

Monday, March 26, 2012

It all happens very fast on if you're ready for it

In my first few encounters on Chnlove, I was struck by how quickly the ladies were willing to develop the relationship. It became apparent to me that most of the women were there to find a life long partner, and to find him quickly.

And if you ever get to visit one of these fine ladies in her home country of China, and spend perhaps a week or two with her, you will likely see another door open wide for you: If the lady you are visiting is interested in you, she will likely make her intentions obvious. Be prepared to take a chance and ask her to marry you if you think she is suitable.

I don't know what the statistics are, but I would guess, among those from Chnlove who eventually tie the knot, most are engaged after just one visit.

And why not? Life is short, and marriage is a risk no matter what you do. Why not go for it if you love her and she loves you. You already know it won't be like the average Western relationship where everyone is expecting eternal love and devotion, but not expecting to give it. Your Chinese bride will be your ever-devoted wife and partner. But you already knew that, or you wouldn't be reading this.

What to do when you no longer wish to continue with a lady on Chnlove

Dumping someone, for the want of a better term, is never easy. Unless you have no heart of course.

I have to believe that every man that signs up on connects with several women there, and doesn't limit himself to a single lady. Perhaps not all at the same time, but over the course of your membership, it would be odd to imagine you could find that special woman on the first try.

When you join Chnlove, you will likely connect with several, perhaps many women and drift away from most of them when relationships don't reach some kind of critical mass. Eventually, if you are lucky, you and your future bride will find each other and survive the test of time and distance, bringing your daliances on Chnlove to a happy conclusion in the form of marriage. In the meantime, though, there is plenty of housekeeping to be done. Some ladies might lose interest in you, and you will lose interest in some of them. You can't communicate with all of them forever, and you certainly can't settle down with more than one of them, so you will inevitably have to end some of the relationships deliberately. Some of the short relationships will simply drift away to die alone in the desert. Others will hang around like that nobody-knows-what-it-is-anymore thing in your freezer. These have to be taken care of, for everyone's sake.

So when does a relationship on Chnlove "end" and how do you make that happen? Do you ignore a lady's letters in the hope that she "gets the message", or do you use the Block feature on Chnlove to simply stop her from writing to you? If you do block her using that feature, which of the three "reasons" do you select, and how can you know how that block message is presented to the lady on the other end?

Drowning a sack of kittens

Today I did in fact block two ladies with whom I was communicating for a few months, so this is all fresh in my mind as I type this.
I'd been wringing my hands for about two weeks, wondering how I would break it off with these two ladies. And so, this morning, I reduced the number of ladies I was communicating with from three to one, in the belief that the remaining "one" might actually be The One. I don't know that she is The One for sure yet, but conversations are definitely getting a "planning the future" quality to them.

BUT, I did send each of the other two -- the "runners-up" you might call them -- a final letter before I used the Block feature on Chnlove. I explained exactly what had happened. I was very close to three, I explained, but had to finally decide to limit my communications now to just one lady. I explained that it was a hard choice, taken only after a lot of soul searching. I told them I "wished I were three people", the choice was so hard, and I encouraged them not to be disheartened, that there where good men waiting for them, and soon they would make another connection with a good man again.
All pretty patronizing blather, really, though my intentions were sincere. Being a gentleman about it, I thought, might have made it even more painful for them because they might think, oh that proves he's a gentleman and the kind of man I want.

I felt like I was putting a litter of kittens into a sack and tossing the sack into a deep lake. I really did feel very bad about it, actually. Of course, there was a good chance that each lady was in fact communicating with several other men on Chnlove, but I had no way of knowing that. Even if they were, a break-up letter can be a real punch in the gut. I knew it was the right thing to do, though and the longer I put it off, the harder it was going to be.

Still, it's hard to dump someone and not hurt their feelings. If you don't hurt their feelings, you're probably not explaining the situation honestly to them. It's hard to strike that firm-but-kind balance. But it is harder on everyone and indeed more cruel to drag it out -- or to be vague -- when you know you have decided who The One is. You can write a kind but honest letter to each of the ladies you will not continue with, without driving a dagger through their heart.

Remember, you are not communicating with Western women here. The average Western woman will need only a few minutes to get over you, especially if they have never met you. Not so with Chinese women! Chinese culture is one which, when it works well, respects the sensibilities of each woman, and rejection can be devastating to her. You really must do your best to let them down gently, reminding them of their warm heart, kindness, attractiveness and qualities of the lady that she is. Remind her about all the great qualities that attracted you to her.
My feeling is, explaining to her she was one of a small number of Excellent Candidates will help her a lot in not feeling like she is a total reject.

I had a few early connections that I eventually broke off by writing a caring Chnlove letter, only to get sucked into a series of back-and-forth communications about "how she would wait for me", and "how I was her ideal mate", and so on. Don't let that happen. My advice to you, if you want to discontinue communications with a lady on Chnlove, is this: Send her a polite and sincere letter, then block her with Reason B. It's quick, it's honest, and it helps everyone to move on.

The balance you must strike here is one of letting her know clearly that it is over, and still not pushing her over a cliff in one big surprise shove.

It does cost a few dollars for you to write each letter, but it is the right thing to do. And it is good karma to respect the lady and take your time to write that let-down letter to her. Once you have written that final letter to her, spare her the need to respond back to you: use the Block feature on Chnlove to block her from communicating with you. I suggest you use "Reason B" when you do that. "Reason B" will tell her respectfully that you have found someone else.

Remember, too, that you have being paying for all the communications so far. You may also have send her gifts. And if you haven't had a phone call yet, I would be less worried about letting her down that I would be if, for example, you've already visited her in her home country. In the end, every lady on Chnlove must understand how this all works. In terms of how you end a relationship on Chnlove, your options are fairly limited: if you need to end the relationship, do it. As my grandfather used to say "ya gotta know when to shoot your dog".

The very first lady I communicated with, I did dump in the end, but I was very sloppy about it, and I regret very much how I handled that. I think I left her confused and hurt, and i promised myself I would not do that again. I learned later to be more graceful.  It is absolutely worth the few dollars credit to write her that final letter. She deserves your honesty, and it really does come with the territory of being a gentleman.

After you have behaved like a gentleman, know that she will in time get over it. Some ladies of course cry their eyes out every evening for a month after being dumped. Others will simply focus more on the other men on the site they have stayed in connection with. Oh, you though you were the only one??? Now THAT is something worth crying about!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Is a scam?

No. It is not a scam.

I know this because I have used it to meet quite a few ladies and without exception, they all turned out to be what I expected. Even the one who didn't show up at the airport, I did kind of know something like that was likely to happen.

It is tempting to think you
are being scammed
Just for the record, I have no affiliation with the website or their services. I am speaking solely from the point of view of someone who has spent quite a bit of money on their website, looking for the woman of my dreams.

I am convinced that, if you are a western man looking for a genuine life-long partner, and you use the Chnlove website service with care and attention, you will find your dream woman here.

If you are playing the field -- in other words, looking to score some easy sex with a Chinese woman, this site is not for you. You will have to invest some time and effort into developing your relationship for some time before an opportunity for intimacy surfaces.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Differences between Filipinas and Chinese as potential partners

A typical Filipina
I've heard it said that "all women are the same" and I've also heard that "every woman is different". There are many different opinions out there about what women are like, it's impossible for any of us men to know anything really. Which is why we love women.

Anyway, it is indeed hard to paint any group of people with the same proverbial brush. Having said that, I will give you the benefit of my experiences -- which may be totally worthless -- of having dated extensively on both the website and the website. My experience tells me there are prevailing attitudes and behaviors on each of these.

Filipino women -- or, Filipinas -- are relaxed, and comfortable with the notion of dating long distance. Many of them are indeed very interested in teaming up with a Western man and emigrating to live with you. They are in general more "sexually liberated" than Chinese women are, and are usually comfortable with hopping into bed with their new partner (you) within a day of two of meeting you at the airport. They are an irony to the supposed Church-dominated society where abortion and divorce are illegal, and where a packet of condoms costs about a week's salary of the average worker.
There is a long tradition of Filipinas marrying Westerners, moving to North America, and supporting their family back home ever after.

Chinese women are more cautious. It appears as if a much higher percentage of Chinese women remain largely sexually inactive outside of a committed, long term relationship. That's not to say they won't climb into bed with you when you visit them in China for the first time. They are simply not as westernized or liberated as Filipino women are. Still, a Chinese woman who has gone to the trouble of investing in her relationship with you will likely believe you expect a more sexually active partner than a local Chinese man might expect. She will also know, you won't look down on her in the morning, as might be the case with her countrymen.

A typical Chinese woman
Possibly because they come from a "Cradle-to-Grave" society, as China has been for decades, Chinese women have more of a "dependency" attitude than their Filipino equivalents have. Chinese women, generally speaking, expect to be rescued, in the sense that you will take care of them in a more old-fashioned way. Filipinas, on the other hand, have never had a government (or anyone else) that was every going to look after them. I see this difference reflecting itself in the more independent and self-sufficient woman you might ultimately have at your side if you marry and bring a Filipina to the States.

Filipinas generally know how to "work the system" of the online dating world. You will find that, early on in your relationship with your Filipina, she may ask you for money. I lost count of the number of Filipinas I began online chatting with only to be asked for money to help cover her mother's hospital bills. I never sent any, but I lost track of how often I was asked. $300 seems to be the magic number.

Rule #1: Don't send money to anyone you have never met.

Still, you soft-hearted person, you will probably break that rule quickly.

If you want a flexible lady partner who can take your Bohemian, rough-and-tumble lifestyle in her stride, I recommend a Filipina. If you want a woman with a deeper cultural background and who expects to live a more traditional, structured family life, a Chinese woman might be more suited to your needs.
Almost any Filipina you might marry and bring to the US will want to send money -- perhaps in the range of $300 to $600 -- back to her family every month. if you can cover that, you will have her undying loyalty for the rest of your life.

This is a gross generalization, of course, but Filipinas tend to have more of a sense of humor than Chinese ladies. It is perhaps because many Chinese are brought up in a single child family environment, and Filipinas are mostly raised in a crowded, extended family environment, with plenty of socialization from the day they were born.

The further south in China you go, though, the more easy-going the Chinese women seem to be. I can't explain that. I just found it to be the case in my travels. It's almost like, they are more "German-like" in the North and more "Italian-like" in the South.
There I go again reinforcing stereotypes!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Divorced, then jumping onto

I have to say, after my divorce, I was simply not interested in even dating a Western woman. After 18 years of marriage to a white American woman, I was pretty much done with Western women. It was time to try something new.

The temptation is to believe that somehow a woman who looks and sounds different is going to actually be different. The reality is, if a woman you marry turns out to be, well, a bitch, it won't matter so much how exotic she appears. And if you marry the girl next door, she could turn out to be an excellent life-long marriage partner.

Having said all that, there is no denying the cultural effect a country can have on a person. Culture is what gets imprinted upon a person by the collective, to make them behave in ways that might seem incomprehensible when observed in an individual's behavior.

Give yourself two years from the date your divorce was final before you tie the knot with anyone new. You need that time to decompress and to see any potential in any kind of clear light.

Differences between and

It goes without saying that dating a Filipino woman is a completely different experience to dating a Chinese woman, and depending on what kind of relationship you want in life, a woman from either of these respective countries offers a rather different experience. This blog posting is more about how the respective dating sites and work. I'll talk about what I feel are the differences between women from the two countries in a different posting.

I would describe the websites -- which are all owned and operated by the same company in Australia I believe -- as "buffet" dating services. That is, you pay a fixed amount and you can email and connect with as many partners as you have time for., on the other hand, could be described as an à la carte online dating service. That is, you pay for each piece you order off the menu: each letter back and forth is paid for. This different model of payment has a profound effect on the resulting relationships you are likely to develop.

One big advantage of is, when you are communicating with a given lady on the other side (in China, that is), you know she is not being bombarded with hundreds of letters. You know this because each letter costs some man on this side anything from $4 to $8, depending on how many credits he has purchased from Chnlove. This, I know from first-hand personal experience, has a profound effect on the quality of each communication.
Also, the price per letter has made me very disciplined about the letters I write, and it keeps the number of ladies I am prepared to talk with to a minimum. The cost also makes me write long letters, since it costs the same whether you type 1,000 characters or 6,000 characters. This improves my chances of developing a good relationship with the lady on the receiving end.

Another advantage of over the websites is, each lady online is required to prove their identity, get photographed professionally, weighed and measured before their profile is uploaded by the agency itself. profiles can be, well, a pack of lies.
another blog posting
FilipinoCupid, com, on the other hand, is a free for all. You will notice that when your profile is active and you are online, you might get bombarded with hundreds of online chat requests, as well as offers to connect waiting for you in your inbox. It is hard to keep track of it all, and even harder to work out who the serious women are.

A disadvantage of seeing only professionally taken profile pictures is that a lady often looks a lot plainer in real life. On a few occasions, I was shocked to see the real lady when the photo arrived.
In some cases, I would not have recognized the person in reality if I were to use the professionally taken photo as a guide.
So, be careful not to fall in love with the studio photo, and be sure to ask her for a few real photos before you get too involved. She may look a WHOLE lot different in reality than she does in her studio photos.

In the long run, you are better off filtering out the half-hearted prospective mates like Chnlove does for you simply by how it is structured.

The differences between Filipinas and Chinese women will be covered in another blog posting.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

I like Chinese women because...

They are:
  • Generally more attractive/feminine than western women.
  • Usually in good shape and they stay in shape as they get older.
  • They don't drink (usually).
  • Are family oriented.
  • More traditional. I prefer a "husband is the man, wife is the woman" model of family building.
  • undyingly loyal.
  • I like Asian features in a woman. Let's face it, when Western women put on make-up, they make themselves look more Asian.
  • As a Western man, I "get more" in a Chinese woman than I would with a Western woman, meaning, i can go for a woman higher up on the attractive scale, younger and all round better than I'd have access to in Western women.
  • I like the injection of Chinese and Asian culture into my daily life.
The thing you must remember, though, is that after you get to know someone, you tend to forget what they look like. Sure, if she looked like Quasimodo on the first date, she'll still look like the Hunchback of Notre Dame six months later.
In addition, time is brutal on beauty. Ten years on, it will be her character and personality that will keep you interested in her.
All that aside, happy or miserable, there's no harm in looking over the kitchen table at a beautiful woman. It's what gets me out of bed every morning.

Why would a Chinese woman be interested in a Western man?

The quick and easy -- and I believe too obvious -- answer to this question is, they want a Green Card. That is, they will do what it takes to get landed immigrant status in the United States, Canada, Australia or other country in order to begin and enjoy a new life of prosperity, freedom and women's rights.

It's not as simple as that.

Sure, a Green Card is a solid milestone in an immigrant's journey to stability and prosperity in the United States, but most Chinese women I have been in contact with are more interested in a new life with a good husband and a happy family. I say this not because it is what they tell me, but rather, because it is consistent with they behavior I observe, as well as my gut instincts.

At one point on my last visit to Asia, I was on a plane from Guangzhou to Beijing, about a two-and-a-half hour journey. It so happened that I sat beside an American man who was also accompanied by his Chinese wife and step-daughter. He had married his wife some two years earlier, and this was his step-daughter's first journey to the US, this time as a sponsored relative of the American man, her new step-father. His relatively new wife, I would say was about 42. He himself was 62, he told me, and his (absolutely stunning) step-daughter was 19.

He and I got talking about the whole cross-border marriage thing, and I asked him flat out why (in his opinion) Chinese women would want to marry a western man like him or me. His answer was that as Chinese men (and husbands) got older, they very often had affairs. To the virtuous Chinese would-be wife, this was often a deal killer, and a natural alternative to the sometimes rough or even brutal Chinese husband, a gentlemanly Western man would be attractive.
The other point he made was, Asian women don't mind a big age difference. He said, they like to be "the most beautiful person in the house" and that being married to an older man was not a reflection on her value as a woman, a wife or a mother.
To this I would add that many Chinese ladies see a Western man through rose-tinted glasses, having watched countless similar men on the silver screen all their lives.

Another side benefit for the Chinese woman marrying a Western man is, if they have children, they are often more beautiful than regular white kids. So, expect to hear comments about "mix blood babies" in your conversations with your Chinese would-be wife.

Clearly, though, the Green Card is a real attraction to a woman who might otherwise see a more bleak future as a wife and homemaker in the male-dominated society of China. Even with all the modernization in their country, the daily living of most Chinese is a struggle.
Yesterday, (mid-March 2012), I read about factory workers in the Apple iPad factory in China starting out at $200 a month. With hard work and experience, that salary "might exceed $400" if they earn more responsibility, the article said. The news article was about the unsanitary and dangerous working conditions in these factories, especially following explosions in two different Apple factories in the past year. So, you can imagine most salaries are in the low hundreds of dollars per month. In contrast, the prospect of working even in an entry-level Starbucks cafe for $2,000/month state-side must seem very attractive indeed to the average bank clerk in China.

I can imagine that some of the ladies on Chnlove have that one objective in mind: to get a Green Card then dump their husband and start over with, perhaps, a more attractive, younger and prosperous man in the United States, once they have their Green Card in the bag. My strong feeling is that very few of the ladies on Chnlove are like that. Sure, some are, but there are ways to ferret out that objective in a woman if it is the only thing she is interested in. Mostly, visiting her several times before you tie the knot is highly advisable. You can also probe how she feels about you and her living in China for the first year or so. If she is only interested in a Green Card, she will likely balk at that.
My strong feeling is that 80-90% of the ladies on Chnlove are simply looking for a decent western husband who will treat them fairly, lovingly and honestly, and they will be the most loyal wife to that man for as long as he lives. If that is what you are looking for, and if that is what you offer, Chnlove is  where you will find it.

Be fair, though. Your potential future Chinese wife is likely as interested in a Green Card as you are interested in having a sexual relationship with a hot young Asian woman. People don't get married for just pure love reasons. A woman will want a man of means. A Man will want a beautiful woman. If you are like me, you are attracted to the beautiful Asian looks of your future Chinese wife, so forgive her if she too has motives beyond just your fantastic personality. The thing is, women the world over have more in common with one another than they have differences, so the following list of Do's and Don't's will help you build a great future, really no matter what woman you are with.

How to keep your new wife happy, stay married and life happily ever after

  • Be honest from the beginning. You don't have to share every detail of your former marriage with your new Chinese would-be wife, or the story you like to tell about your drunken college days, but important details about your current status are important, such as: felonies, arrest warrants, drug use, drinking habits, sexual habits that might affect her, love of guns, questionable friends, nasty or dangerous relatives, children, family issues, child support responsibilities, earning capacity, assets, debts, work responsibilities, medications, health issues, education or anything else a wife would need or want to know.
  • Don't be a drunk. In fact, you might consider making your new home with her a drink-free zone. Not a bad idea for a middle aged man looking to start a new family.
    Being a Chinese woman, likely she won't drink at all, so if you like the odd couple of drinks, go do that with your buddies at the golf course. Still, being a heavy drinker in any part of your lifestyle will weigh negatively on your marriage prospects. Chinese women generally don't drink, so it won't be a way to get relaxed together the way you might with a Western woman. Get used to that from Day One.
  • Don't smoke. If you smoke now, consider giving them up right away. A non-smoker is more attractive to a Chinese woman than a smoker.
  • Don't do drugs. Pot or any other drug. Chinese women like a clean-living, law-abiding husband.
  • Be kind. Speak softly and gently to your new lady. Don't yell or -- obviously -- threaten or beat her. I'm sorry I have to spell that one out; you'd be surprised at how many Western men seem to think they can treat their Asian wife in this way.
  • Be old-fashioned. Open car doors for her, offer to take her coat, help her with her coat when she is leaving. Pull out a restaurant chair for her. Remember, one of the Western man's greatest features is his western gentlemanly habits, so be sure to deliver on this easy way to strengthen your relationship with her from the very beginning.
  • Don't forget your sense of humor. I have found that Chinese ladies respond very well to humor. With two different ladies I lettered with, I used Photoshop to insert myself into a photograph of her she had sent to me. The picture was a professional shot of her walking on a street in Changsha. The NEW picture was the same, but I was standing on the street close to her. It was clearly a Photoshop'd image, but she found it hilarious.
    Another picture I Photoshop'd was I used a picture of a wedding couple sitting on a bed, wearing their wedding costumes. I put her face over the bride's face, and my face over the bridegroom, so it looked like in the new picture we had just gotten married. She thought it was very touching that I would take the time and effort to do that small thing, but she sure loved it and we laughed about it a lot.
  • Keep an eye out for birthdays, Valentine's Day and other occasions.
Most of all, though, letting your potential future wife know who you are early and thoroughly is the best way to flush out disinterested ladies early and for her to get closer to you and open up to you. If there are to be surprises later in the relationship, let them be positive ones. Tell her any bad news, if you have any, early on.

When do you first get "intimate"?

This must be a burning question for most men who sign up on Chnlove. If you are an American or European, you might be used to "going all the way" after only a few dates with your average western woman in North America. Although China has changed a lot in the past couple of decades, it is still very much a society of women divided among the Vixenly and the Virtuous. In other words, the average young Chinese woman is likely either a virgin, or she has plenty of sexual experience under her belt. I would venture to say that, among 25 year-old single Chinese women, 20% account for 90% of the sexual activity. But that's just my personal guess, based on dozens of conversations and interactions with Chinese women in that age group on the website.

So, you've decided to visit your lady. You've had many letters back and forth, some telephone conversations, and you have a folder full of nice photos she has sent to you over the past months. You've both spoken of a visit by you to her, and finally, the time has come to break some real ground. You actually book a plane ticket. Wow! That first step, I felt when I took it, was huge. As soon as you buy a ticket, the next step is to get a visitor visa for China. The company I used to get mine is here, by the way. (I have no affiliation or relationship with that company, by the way). Including Fed-exing it back to your home overnight, the cost was about $160 for a multiple entry visa from them.

You've bought your air ticket, and your visa is on its way. For the first time in your relationship with a lady so far away, you are actually going to take the huge step of visiting her. The clock is ticking, and you will likely -- if you are like me -- count down the weeks then days to stepping onto that plane.

You can always back out at the last minute, of course. That must happen occasionally. If you've got another two months to wait, you might meet someone else in that time, your work or other life circumstances might make it impossible, or you might simply lose your nerve.

How to make it easier

I am fifty years old. I got divorced a few years ago after a two decades-long marriage. Getting involved with a young woman, let alone one from such a different culture, frankly frightened the life out of me early on. I had been with only one woman, my ex-wife, for the previous two decades, so I felt like I was almost starting over again, almost like I was a virgin all over again. I did feel nervous, for sure.
Here are my suggestions for that first visit:
  • Don't plan on having sex with the new woman in your life. It might happen, sure. But don't plan on it. If you are interested in her for the long term, you can wait for the second trip if it turns out that way. Likely, though, if the relationship is going anywhere, you will consummate your relationship on your first visit.
  • Plan to stay in a hotel near where she lives, but not around the corner. Maybe within three or four miles of a point convenient to her, such as her home or her workplace, will be near enough. This will give her a sense that you are not crowding her out. It may take her time to introduce you to her family and friends, so the extra space will allow her to manage that in a way that makes her comfortable. Remember, your arrival -- the big foreign-looking-and-sounding westerner -- is in itself a huge shock to her. Let her manage your entry into her life the way she wants. It is, after all, her country you are in.
  • Before you depart north America, make a solid plan to visit her city, town and neighboring areas. Do plenty of research before you go, to help you know the city you will be visiting. Read up on the culture, history, tourist attractions, etc..
    I perused Wikipedia for every detail of Changsha (a city with a population of over 7 million) before I ever visited the city. What's more, it gave me plenty of talking points when I was lettering back and forth to my lady from that city, long before I ever met her.
    In the worst case, if she stands you up, you have a wonderful Chinese city to experience on your own.
  • Plan as if you were to meet her every two or three days. If you really hit it off, great! You can see her every day and if it develops, she may well be spending the night with you at least once before your trip is over.
  • Although you may well see the new relationship develop in a way that presents an opportunity for you to invite her to sleep over, be aware that she will likely be far less experienced than you. In addition -- and perhaps more importantly -- Chinese women are usually more passive and in need of intimacy respect than the average western woman. So, don't make any assumptions about sexual behavior she might engage in. Instead, take it very gently and slowly. 
  • What I have found to be a real ice breaker is to give her a thorough foot massage. Perhaps you are in your hotel room, you suggest you watch a movie (which will likely be in Chinese -- go with it). Offer to give her a foot massage while she is sitting watching the movie. This will both make her relaxed, and will give you a change to become physically close. As a prelude to what might happen later, both these effects are advantageous.
  • Take it in small steps. The first time you and she are alone in your hotel room, it might be for her to simply drop you there after she picked you up from the airport. The second time, it might be when she comes to visit you the next day and you are rested and all cleaned up for the day's activities. The third time, it might be for you both to watch a movie together. Don't rush it. Take every visit as a small step towards intimacy later in your visit. Still, keep your eyes open for the cue from her to -- for instance -- invite her to stay the night. Remember, Chinese ladies are reluctant to give any bold invitation to intimacy. A strong "I am available to have sex" message would be in conflict with her cultural need to appear virtuous. Instead, she will be far more subtle. It might be by lingering a little longer than the previous night. Look out for that cue and be ready to respect and maintain her virtue by being the one to come up with the idea. It might start with holding her hand while watching a movie on the hotel TV. It might be how she responds if you put your arms around her waist as she looks out the hotel window.
There are many reasons for taking these steps. Most of all, it takes a lot of psychological pressure off your potential future wife (you are here in search of a life long partner, right?), so she doesn't freak out at the last minute and not show up. I fear that was exactly what happened with the first lady from Chnlove I went to visit. It also takes pressure off you. Likely, you are a good deal older than she is, and perhaps this is the first time you have ever been with a woman so much young that you, so you may naturally feel a little bit intimidated. I know I was that first time. So give yourself a break and, long before you visit her, make it clear to her that there is no pressure to have sex (I never actually use that term with any lady I communicate with on Instead, I use the term "make love"). That way, if anything happens on that first visit, it will be spontaneous and no one will suffer from performance anxiety. That is, if you take things slow.

Once I booked my flight, I had some eight weeks to go before I traveled. I spent the time working out regularly, eating well, and generally taking care of myself, in order to be my best when she saw me for the first time.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Getting stood-up at the airport in China

Perhaps I should have seen this coming, but the first woman I went to visit in China didn't show up at the airport where and when we agreed to meet. After a bit of communication, I learned that she simply lost her nerve at the last minute and decided not to go to the airport. Neither did she email me to give me a heads-up. She just didn't show up.

I had been communicating with her for about 3 months -- from about August of 2011 -- every single time via the Chnlove website. We had exchanged so many personal and intimate feelings and dreams, I felt we had a close relationship. Enough, I thought, to take the chance and go to visit her in person. I had the ticket booked from San Francisco to Beijing, and Beijing to Guangzhou. She was to take a relatively short trip from an outlying town to the arrivals hall at Guangzhou airport to meet me as I walked through the door.

One of the downsides for the men on Chnlove is, you can spend quite a bit of money before you ever get to meet the dame of your dreams, assuming they even show up. Still, I do feel it is still worth it. There are some spectacular women on the site, the likes of which you could never date if you met them Stateside.

I took it on face value that the lady I was to meet was advised to keep her personal contact information to herself until she met the man in person, so I didn't even have a cell phone number to text her on. The only means I had to contact her was her profile on Chnlove. By the time I arrived in Guangzhou, I had burned up probably $400 on communications with her through Chnlove, and another $1,000 for the flight and related costs. So, you can understand that I was a disappointed. Still, it wasn't about the money. I felt let down, and I didn't want this latest experience to make me bitter or cynical about Chinese women. I know women -- and men -- are the same the world over. Sometimes things just don't work out the way you planned, so I took the airport no-show in my stride and made the most of my trip.

After waiting for about three hours for her, I went to a small, local hotel, fired up my laptop and sent a letter to her via Chnlove. Was she OK? Was she late? I asked, although I knew the answer deep down in my heart. It would have been easy for her to find an arrivals hall in her own neighborhood airport. She had to have changed her mind, I knew in the bottom of my heart.

It would be another five or six hours after I sent the late-night letter before she would receive it, since it had to be translated by the agency, who wouldn't even be due in their office until 8 or 9am. So, it must have been after 11am when I got a reply from my no-show lady. She was so sorry she lost her nerve, she said. She "wasn't ready to meet me" and was "a little scared", and so on.

To be honest, it was a bit of a relief. She and I had shared so much and built up so many expectations that I felt I couldn't meet half of them. Still, I wanted to meet her and to explore how we might get along without a single word of common language. It could have been a lot of fun, with or without intimacy.

We traded a few more letters back and forth that day, but I was planning an alternative vacation as the day progressed. I stayed in Asia for the two weeks, travelling around, rather than pay for an adjusted flight and scurry back to the US right away.

I didn't get angry with her, but I was disappointed in myself. I should have had at least organized a few telephone conversations with her before I got on that plane to visit her.
I gave her another invitation to meet me in the same airport on my way home two weeks later. She couldn't meet me, she said, offering the excuse that her employer wouldn't give her the time off to make the trip to Guangzhou and back mid-week. I thought it was odd, really, since she was very eager to keep letters coming and the communications lines open.

That was that, I thought.
I knew if she wasn't going to make the effort to redeem herself by taking me up on the second invite, I wasn't going to fly again to China to meet her, and risk another thousand-plus-dollar airport stand-up. So, I quietly departed, and set her profile to <blocked>. There was no point in paying for any more $4-a-page letters from or to her. After standing me up in the first place, I felt she needed to do something big to show me she was genuinely interested, and she missed that second and last chance.

Now I am back State-side, chatting to a few more ladies on Chnlove. If I ever do make another trip out there, which I likely will, I will be sure to visit a woman who I know will show up at the arrivals. In addition, I will have a back-up plan. Right now I am chatting with three different ladies, all from the same town of Changsha. In another month or so, I will visit their fair city. Perhaps I will simply say that I am "visiting the city" and "we should meet up some time during that visit". That way, there will be less pressure on everyone, and if anyone is a no-show, there are at least two more in the wings.

What is the moral of this story?
Before you book any flights, you should at least have had a few telephone calls with your lady, and perhaps a few webcam chats too. As well as that, you should have her cellphone number and a way to contact her when you land. Lastly, a "backup" lady might not hurt either. If all that fails, and you truly are alone in a Chinese city, know that there are worse fates. Almost every tiny corner of China is interesting. Every back street, every country lane is stepped in history. Take out your camera and go for a walk.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Divorced dad made to feel like a criminal

I've been working since I was 21, but really, since I was 14.
In high school, I took on every bit of part time work I could so that I could have a few things, like a bicycle (a 10-speed racer) and other toys.
Needing to make ends meet in our modest household, my mother took 1/3rd of everything I earned, for as long as I lived under her roof. In addition to household costs needing to be met, she said, it was good training for me. Before during or after my childhood, I never got a dime of allowance. and I was fine with that.
Good training all right, for what was ahead.

I put myself through college, paying every last dime of school fees, accommodation and spending money along the way. It meant working every last hour that God gave me, but it was an incredibly empowering experience to put yourself through college like that. It was clear to me later that this early training made me a good hard worker when I eventually worked full-time in real jobs.

By the time I was 50, I had raised three kids into the late teenage years (so far), set aside money for their college fees, almost paid off a modest house in the Bay Area, and had put my then-wife through college in a great university locally.
Never in my life have I ever collected any kind of government assistance, dole or any so-called "free money". I have paid my taxes, obeyed the law and stood by my responsibilities to my kids and ex-wife.
I've never been arrested, I'm a home bird dad and spend all my money on my family.

Some things, though, don't work out.
After twenty years of marriage, my ex and I split up. She grew one way, I grew the other. Small issues grew into big issues, and we found ourselves before a judge in a divorce court.
Neither one of us did anything wrong; neither of us "caused" the divorce. We just woke up one morning in different universes.
I'm told that happens a lot.

Within the judgement of her getting 60% of our entire assets, she got the house, primary custody of our kids, hefty child support from me of course going forward, and three years of generous spousal support.

So here I am, back down to a 700 square foot apartment, alone. And I'm paying for two households instead of one. After the kids' college fees are taken out of it, the lawyers are paid off, a new household is paid for, and the thousand divorce buzzards take their piece of meet, I ended up being worth about $200k. Not much to start with in the Bay Area at 50 years of age.

Prosecuted for having been a husband

The legal process was very interesting. It made me feel like I was being prosecuted for having been a husband. It felt like I was going to be made pay for some crime I had committed, or an obligation I did not meet. "In the interests of the children", I was told, things were going to be taken care of.
I even had my own lawyer telling me "you better make sure that child support payment turns up every month on time". It was funny to hear that after all I had done for 25 years was pump money into my family. I cringe to imagine what it must be like for men who actually did something like beat their wife or became an alcoholic or were just a dead-beat.
My attorney was a good one, I was told by many. I got "about as good a deal as I could", I was told.
The judge bought into the whole picture my ex-wife painted of me being a laggard and a money waster. That, despite the fact that we had a million dollars of assets to fight over, and I was the only one who worked for three decades. She really believed she made the money, since she had been managing it for years. Dogged determination paid off for her: she somehow imprinted that idea on the judge.

I decided from the beginning not to go on the attack. I thought by "taking the high ground", I would at least not appear petty. I thought the judge would see the scathing attacks on my character and personality for what they were. As it turned out, the judge seemed impressed with the aggressive go-getter attitude of my ex-wife.
My naive believe that he would see it all for what is was didn't pan out. My strategy was that I would treat her contributions to the marriage and family with respect. I believed that justice would prevail and anyone that mattered would see the truth through any smoke screen.

Sitting on my couch looking back, I see what my role was: The Worker.
Looking forward into the future, I see what my role is: The Worker.

It's hard not to feel cynical. I worked all my life, believing that a reward would come of it. Instead, I hand over the lion's share of everything I worked for to someone who ground me into the ground every day I came home from work.

Why is divorce so expensive?
Because it is worth it.

"The next time I feel the urge to get married, I'll find a woman I don't like and buy her a house". (From the movie When harry Met Sally, i think).