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By my late teens, when my friends were chasing football players, I had developed a thing for men with long hair.So at the ripe age of 30, I have given up on trying to find my Mr Right. In Beijing, even the most average Western men are able to attract pretty Chinese girls, who seem to be under the impression that they have all the style and sophistication of Daniel Craig.As a result, the streets of the city are filled with smug-looking Western guys holding hands with their pint-sized Chinese princesses.Most Western women shy away from the prospect of having a Chinese boyfriend: they find them too traditional, overly effeminate (it doesn’t help that many carry handbags and adore boybands such as Westlife), and the cultural barrier too immense to overcome.To me, though, these obstacles seemed like things that would make a relationship more interesting.Living as I do in a city as vibrant and bizarre as Beijing has its good points – and its bad.
Well, yes, but also having to open their eyes to the possibility of romance with expat men that under any normal circumstances they wouldn’t go near.
Quite why I once agreed to a second date with a guy from Sweden who wore white socks that came up to his mid-calves and who rattled on endlessly about his Chinese ex-girlfriend, I can’t be sure.
But then I always have had an unusual taste in men.
Even as a teen, instead of practising my snogging technique on a poster of Nick from the Backstreet Boys, I would be daydreaming of Lister (Craig Charles) from Red Dwarf.
And I went on three dates with a New Yorker who proudly boasted of a book he kept that contained the names of every woman he’d ever slept with (with scores).However, unlike the majority of Western women living in China, who watch bitterly as the egos of below-average men swell from the admiring looks of Chinese girls, I took an altogether different approach and chose to date Chinese men instead.