Today I tried out a website called Moluren, a chat site that pairs you up with a random complete stranger. It’s great practice for intermediate Chinese learners, if you’re willing to slog through lots of cybersex requests before you hit on a real conversation.
(This website is recommended HIGHLY for those who wish to learn how to have cybersex in Mandarin).
Eventually I started chatting with someone who said they were a young guy from Shanghai. We tried to talk a little innocent politics, but too many words were blanked out for us to understand each other. (Apparently, even words like “government” are too sensitive for Moluren). We had to steer the conversation somewhere else.
Well, last night I’d been reading some relationship blogs and was struck by several stories of Western women having trouble meeting Chinese guys. Was it language/culture barriers or something else?
Wanting to test the waters, I asked,
好象是的，我就不太喜欢。(Seems like that’s true, I don’t like them too much).
你也不喜欢？为什么？(You don’t like them? Why not?)
因为你们身上的味道比较重，我不习惯。(Because your body odour is quite strong, I’m not accustomed to it).
是的，不过你们的身材很棒。(Yes. But your figures are great.)
I asked if he was speaking from personal experience, and he said yes, he had a few foreign female friends. He elaborated, telling me that this smell was “mysterious and unidentifiable” but definitely nasty and was compounded by our choices of perfume.
This guy obviously may have been lying through his teeth and he not might even have been a guy. However, I’m inclined to believe that chatroom anonymity can make people a little more open about stuff like this. Well, either we do smell or this particular guy has a bunch of stinky foreign girlfriends.
Maybe it cuts both ways. I had an African woman tell me the other day that she wouldn’t date a Chinese guy because of “hygiene issues.” The guys in my office mostly smell fine so I suspected at the time that it was prejudice.
But now I wonder if there isn’t something deeper in cultural preferences for certain body odours and cleaning habits. When you go on a date you worry about how you smell anyways; how much worse to worry about some type of ‘cultural’ odour you’re giving off!