China Elevator Stories

“Do You Have A Boyfriend?”

I chat with an employee at a Spa in Shenzhen.


Ruth Silbermayr
Ruth Silbermayr


I’m at a Spa to get a massage and start talking with the girl working there. A while into the conversation, she asks: “Do you have a boyfriend?”
I answer: “I do.”
“Where is he from?”
“He’s from Northeast China.”

She inquires: “Do your parents approve of your relationship?”
“Of course, why wouldn’t they?”
“That’s great. Many Chinese parents would be much more traditional.”

“What do you mean by that?”
“They’d be afraid that if their daughter lived abroad with a foreign boyfriend or husband, they might not be able to help her if she gets into a dangerous situation or if her guy doesn’t treat her well. They wouldn’t be able to just travel there and help her in this kind of situation.”

“I see. I have met many Chinese women who seem to be happily married to foreigners and whose husbands seem to treat them fairly well.”
She asks, surprised: “Oh, really? So relationships between foreigners and Chinese can work out pretty well then.”
“I believe they can.”

Have you ever been asked about your relationship status by a stranger?

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