Son of Tiger Mom aka Momma's Boy

I see them everywhere.  Soft skin.  Lanky.  Quiet.  Unassuming.   Boringly modest.  Painfully lacking in self confidence.  Long since conditioned to doing as their told.  Sorely lacking an identity.

And a few of them like my daughter.

My oldest daughter, a high school student, once asked me if I would mind if she had a boyfriend.   One to have long since understood the impracticality of keeping my child away from the opposite sex, I simply put on my best stern face and said something silly like “we’ll wait and see”.
But please God keep these momma’s boys of Tiger Mom away from my girl.

I already know the type of boy my daughter will eventually marry; someone opposite of her of course.  Meek and docile for one.   Someone conditioned to listening to a woman.

Scary thought indeed.

I don’t want my girls to marry a robot.

Unfortunately, we don’t have many non Chinese friends.  Thus my children mingle quite a bit with their Chinese peers.  I obviously have no problem with that until I found myself wondering one day just who my daughters first boyfriend might be?

Will it be the quarterback of the football team, or the star of the Math Team?  Will it be the 3rd basemen of the high school baseball team or a member of the Science Olympiad? 
Oh Heavens!

And what of down the road?  A decade or so from now?  Will my future son in law and I have much in common?  Will he be interested in the local politics of our community? Will he pass the week in great anticipation of the upcoming Saturday game?

Or will he spend his Saturday’s instead writing code?  Will I have to teach him how to throw a spiral?
Allow me to be selfish for a moment:  there are a lot of handsome young Chinese men out there in our community, all very smart and with a very bright future.  However, most likely…..I’d prefer she marry someone more attuned to my culture. 

And yeah, that’s pretty selfish of me.

Chinese boys today are without question momma’s boys.  They are intelligent, somewhat driven, quiet and unassuming, with a strong odor of modesty.   Their fathers nearly absent from their upbringing.   It is here however, I must admit theirs is not a false modesty.  First generation Chinese-American boys in America are truly modest.  However, this modesty is more a reflection of the mental beatdown many of them tend to get in childhood. 

The downside of this mental “we will decide what is good for you” upbringing is that many of them grow up unable to make a decision.  Indecisive.    Lost and wandering once they finally leave the nest.

Without question they will all grow up and be successful and be wonderful contributors to society.  They will make lots of money.  Enough to buy a big house!  And their culturally inclined subservience to their elders….well, I’ll like that a lot, too.    And they will without question have plenty of female Chinese suitors.   You know, the kind of guy Tigermom has told their daughters to value in life.  I’m just not sure I want this kind of fellow as a son in law.

From a selfish point of view, what will we possibly have in common?

I know damn well as I’m watching kickoff he’ll be thinking of some IT problem at work.
Sure, I’m painting a picture with a very wide brush.  I accept this point of view many of you will without question have.  And yes I often see our Indian neighbors frequently playing touch football in the backyard.

But my daughters in social situations are simply not around anyone non-Chinese.  Ever.  Except in class.

We have Chinese friends who in high school have indeed started to have boyfriends.  All friendly, Chinese guys.   I’m surprised at their openness.  Then I wonder if they’d really allow their daughters to have a boyfriend….if he wasn’t Chinese?   Methinks it awkward at best that would happen.

“Don’t date a white boy, Pingping, your grades will suffer!”

“His 小弟弟 will surely be too big for you!” (Ok, I made that up, this particular conversation will surely not take place)

“If you don’t date a Chinese boy you won’t get into Harvard!”

“No boyfriend for you until your GPA is 4.4!”

We had friends that once casually mentioned to their daughter the only way she was gonna have a boyfriend was if she went to Harvard first. 

No comment.

I’ve never brought up in any serious fashion who my daughter can or cannot date.

But I’ll be honest;  I have told her only half jokingly no wimpy Asian kids allowed, and no boys straight from 大陆。 Absolutely not.  Ever.  Your Chinese boyfriend must have been raised in this country.   Those of you new to this blog may think I’m being racist, and my answer to you is first go live in China for 20 years than come back to me on this one.    

I don’t want a spoiled child that has gotten everything he’s ever wanted to be my son in law.  One that has never “eaten bitterness”.   I don’t want an only child as a son in law.  I don’t want a kid that has spent 80% of his waking hours in one form or another preparing for a single exam that will dictate the rest of his life to be a part of my family.

And I don’t want her even around the kid down the street.  You might remember him;  state piano champion with thin, gangly arms the width of noodles.   Get a mosquito bite and it’s off to the ER for him.   Probably never smelled the grass in his own front lawn.  Probably never even mowed his lawn.
I much prefer a 文科 to a 理科. 

Do I make sense?  Of course not!

I don’t make sense at all!

While a 文科 will always be a great conversationalist and buddy, do I really want a 文科 to pal around with?   Of course it’s better to have a quiet, dormant 理科 paying the mortgage of that great big house my daughter will own.

At the end of the day while I’m impressed with the good manners and positive attitude of all these young China boys around me, I know only too damn well how different their childhood has been from mine.

I realize as such it is not someone similar to me that I should seek out as a future son in law, but someone that can best provide for my daughters family.   Except I’ve taught my children nothing if not to seek financial independence for themselves.  There is no need for a woman to financially depend upon a man in this day and age, and ours will not.

We all have our prejudices and in our own feeble minds our prejudices make perfectly good sense to all of us:

“Why you’d bring a Jew home?”

“Why you’d bring home a Gentile?”

“Why you’d bring a black boy home?”

“Why you’d bring a white boy home?”

We are all perfectly at home with our prejudice.   I admit I have no problems with mine.  I sleep well at night.


  1. Last sentence is great. I'm gonna have to borrow that.

    My China wife hates Chinese men. I can't see my daughter ever being attracted to one. My poor daughter just has an aversion to Chinese people in general... So does my wife for that matter. 10 years into the US and she can't stand being around 'em anymore or their one-dimensional education-education-and-education train of thought, or just their plain inability to think abstractly about anything, ever.

    My psychological diagnosis of you: I think you're a lonely island of "abstract thought" in your shallow Chinese-heavy life, hence the reason you take to blogging. Your poor mind needs an outlet.

  2. haha oh No! Are my readers psycho-analyzing me??
    Thank you for not adding the word "feeble" between "poor" and "mind".
    I'd say your analysis of myself is deadon. Well done.

    I do upon occasion come across those Chinese mom's that are not Tigermom "material". And you know what? Their fine with that. They live comfortably within their own skin. Yet I sometimes wonder how a bonafide tigermom must feel to see her child at the end of the day only wind up at a state school....?

    Glad to hear your wife is comfortable not performing to stereotype. I think that does take both courage and a ton of self confidence. And emotional support from you! As to your wife's aversion to Chinese Men, unfortunately for me, I am frequently surrounded by Chinese women that would never dream of having a laowai husband. But I know they all fantasize about the experience.

    Thx for writing!

  3. By democratising being hard on Chinese, I mean by: "How will I feel like I am better than these lazy loawai if their children can sign up to take the same Harvard online degree programs as my children?"

    Open access to education may be the greatest existential threat chinese civilization has ever known. I hear they also have algorithms to identify cheaters :).

  4. Well I don't know what to say about the inlaws opinions being wife seems to take her parents thoughts to heart, though she is happy when they leave. I have felt as well that Google Translate seems on the surface to detract from one's linguistic capabilities. My Chinese though even to this day is not appreciated the way I think it should be.

  5. You raise interesting points. That is, democratizing education would destroy the ability of the Master to control the narrative. I'm sure China has online classes though, albeit only in topics such as English perhaps.

    As for your first paragraph, Chinese feel much resentment. A future post.

  6. A lot of stereotyping and internalized racism in this post.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

KTV in China

The worst sex I've ever had with China Girl is with China Wife

Pros and Cons of a Chinese Wife