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Saturday, October 21, 2006

The 'Charisma Man Syndrome': Why Western Men are Alpha Males in China

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The following is a guest opinion from Ms. Bess Womyn, China Breeze’s Official Gender Consultant. Ms. Womyn holds a Ph.D. in Gender Studies from some anonymous jerkwater college, and is currently serving as Acting President-in-Exile of the Saudi Arabian Feminist Alliance. She is currently trying to start a China Feminist Alliance with scant success so far. I am personally convinced that she’d slit my throat with a carving knife if I didn’t let her use this space to stand on her little soapbox and wag her knobby, bony, incredibly long index finger at my readers. So here goes...

It's one of the world's better-kept secrets. I can personally confirm that the phenomenon I am about to describe is almost unknown among North Americans. So, if you are reading this in China, don't tell anybody back home.

Guys, if you go anywhere in Asia except for Hong Kong, you might as well have a leather jacket issued to you as soon as you step off the plane, because you are the Fonz. Welcome to Alpha Male status. The first thing you will notice are dweeby-looking western men with calculators in their pockets walking arm-in-arm with Chinese supermodels. I call it "the Charisma Man Syndrome".

After a couple of weeks your friends back home are going to start asking why you cancelled your return flight. A couple of decades later they'll still be asking you the same question. There are several theories on why this is the case; let’s explore them one by one.

Complex historical, sociological and anthropological reasons

Gimme a break. Actually this was the topic of my Ph.D. thesis but hey, we're not in the ivory tower anymore.

They want your money

It stands to reason doesn't it? China is a third world country, and most western countries aren't. What blows this theory out of the water is the fact that if anything this disgrace is even worse in Japan, where (relatively) poverty-stricken English teachers date models that make five times as much as they do.

They want a western passport

Well, marriage to a westerner is indeed the quickest, surest route to a western passport. And more than one westerner has been left weeping bitterly in the Arrival Lounge when his new Asian wife climbed out the window of the airport Ladies' Room to freedom. But again there's the counterexample of affluent Japan, where not all that many local women are seeking western passports but still flock to western men.

They want free English lessons

Yeah, but why do they wanna learn English in the first place? So they can talk to western guys? Plus, my extensive research has shown that accomplished western Language Nerds who refuse to speak any language but Chinese do just as well as (if not better than) starry-eyed China Greenies fresh out of the airport.

It's a status symbol in China to have a western boyfriend

Yeah, and it's a status symbol in Spain to have a matador boyfriend. What a lame theory. It begs the question of why having a western boyfriend became a status symbol in the first place. After all, it's no status symbol in Australia to have, say, a Mexican boyfriend.


I'm not even gonna touch that issue. Suffice it to say that I don't buy it.

The grass is always greener…

So why aren't women in the United States clawing each other's eyes out for a Chinese boyfriend?

Asian men are somehow inadequate

This theory is too hot to handle so I'm gonna have to keep my mouth shut, although I do have some very spicy opinions on the issue.

By the way, I HATE the Charisma Man Syndrome with a passion that would terrify you. As a matter of fact, if I ever get the chance I'll...

Thank you, Ms. Womyn. We hope to have you back soon with your diatribe on "Why All Western Men in China Should Watch "Madam Butterfly".


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