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In Hong Kong I found the men, especially Chinese, to be more traditional – asking what kind of food I preferred, opening doors, and almost always picking up the bill for dinner. My friend had found success using dating apps, and has now been in a relationship for six months.
Over the years, I spoke about dating and relationships with many men in my life – my father, uncles, cousins, and colleagues, who shared their philosophies about the sexes. As a first-generation Chinese-American, I was born and raised in the United States, before moving to live and work in Hong Kong, where, for a few years, I lived with my then 89-year-old grandmother. I downloaded the apps, posted a headshot, and filled in the essentials. In the coming days I received numerous “hi” and “hellos” only to be met with silence when I thanked them and asked for their name.
I was outdated, and confused by cultural and generational gaps.
The unwritten rules had also shifted when it came to what constitutes a date.
“Age doesn’t matter to me, but the truth does,” I replied. I soon realised that dating apps were just a pool full of guys who were looking to hook up.He’d asked me to join him for coffee, dinner and movies, and complimented me on how great I looked. Most men were likely to turn down the offer and insist on paying.On the first couple of dates he paid, then he asked me to split the bill. My six years of living and working in Hong Kong had seemingly solidified my expectation that a man should foot the bill if he asked you out.“Men should take care of the big things, such as the house, the car, and trips, and women can find a way to pay for other things,” my father once told me. In my profile I said I was seeking a long-term relationship: no one-night stands. One person who replied seemed nice enough, asking me how I was doing, and whether I’d like to go to dinner. “Well it’s all the weightlifting and eating right,” he said, as he wolfed down a plate of buffalo wings.Within minutes I received dozens of “likes” and several text messages, but then realised they could not be from mature adults. When I turned up at the restaurant, the only person I saw looked like a college kid. He flinched when I half-jokingly asked to see his driving licence.