And one more time again, Part 2

Never marry a Chinese 1 percenter.   I’m assuming of course you are not one yourself.

You will have no chance.  Zero.  Zilch.  Your glimpses of bliss and happiness will be far and few between.  

“What does love have to do with it?”

Nothing boy.  Not one damn thing.

But it could be worse.  I only married an 80’s era 1 percenter.  

“What is that you may ask?” you may ask?

Answer:  it is a member of China’s Communist Party.  You see, back in the 80’s no one had a car; everybody lived in an apartment with no elevator.   Everyone rode a bike.  One’s “wealth” was based solely on who you knew.    Or your membership in the Party. 

One’s Party status dictated the job you got, and the apartment you obtained.  It dictated how near to, say West Lake you lived.

I remember when I lived in Guangzhou.  The Japanese Consulate had just opened up at the Garden Hotel.  They of course had a Chinese lady working there.  You would think she could speak Japanese, right?  Not a word.   So how did she get the job?  Did the Japanese hire her?   Was there a competitive interview process? Of course not!  Her father was the leader of the local “trade union”.   Even more ironic, this lady not only lived at the Guangzhou Foreign Language Institute, but could not speak a foreign language!

This particular University was one of China’s best foreign language programs.   Full of excellent Chinese speakers of Japanese.    And yet the consulate was forced to hire a Chinese lady that couldn’t speak a word of not just Japanese but of ANY foreign language.

But having read my other posts on wealth and prestige in China in the 80’s, you already know that one’s social status was calculated in an entirely different fashion back then. 

Unfortunately, I’m here to report back that in This New Century folks one’s status with Family of China Wife is measured in very stark terms indeed.    You laowai, gotta show the money.  Being a nice guy just doesn’t cut it anymore.  Have a phone line and central air?  That is so 80’s, Boy.

Having a good job don’t cut it.  China Wife don’t care about your job.  Nope.  China Wife cares about your SALARY!   Your sensitivity, willingness to wash the dishes, help old ladies across the street….cooperatively going a few moons without a good romp in the sack, No Sirree!

Today, more than ever before, laowai’s status as a filial son in law is simple:  the more cold hard cash you bring home, the more you are seen as a success in life.   Your income, Boy, is the sole measuring stick you are judged against.    

Having a tough year?

“But I had a great year, last year!”

Ehhh….so what.

It’s all in the here and now.  No one cares about either last year or next year.  That’s all forgotten, like yesterday’s paystub.

It’s all about the “here” and “now”.

Got it?

It’s hard being married to a Chinese under these circumstances.  I mean, nobody in China in 1991 really asked or cared what the other guy made.   Mother in Law from Hell cared more about your “government job” and “Party Potential” than anything else.   Nobody owned any stocks.  Much less an apartment.   In short, one’s sense of self worth wasn’t in play.

Boy have things changed.

To be married to China Girl today one has to understand that.  

It is especially daunting if one is a laowai.

You all know how oft I’ve repeated the importance of NOT marrying an only child.  By doing so you are in effect asking for the inlaws to move in with you.  Relegating yourself to “Temporary Guest” status.

However, if China Wife has many siblings you may wonder how that impacts you?

Not only will you be on the hook for China Mother in Law’s medical bills in the States’ (or wherever you may live), you can count on possibly being the “go to” fellow for any sort of family medical emergency.

“Welcome to the family.  I need an operation. Can I borrow 50,000 yuan?”

More often than not though it may be as simple as,

“I really want to buy an apartment in that new development.  Can you spare the 2 million yuan deposit?”

Laowai’s ability to make and earn cash will be the sole metric for which you are judged.  Right or wrong, good or bad.  Don’t forget the Chinese have no Christian Ethic.




Too often one hears from the Chinese,

“He drives a Civic and lives in a small house, must not have a good job?”

I am constantly telling China Wife that many people here in America simply choose not to “display” their wealth in a public fashion.

The neighbor down the hill in my subdivision?  The one still driving the turquoise beat up Honda?  Yeah, he and the local Venture Capitalist just happen to share the same name.   (How about that!)

It is hard for laowai to accept.  It was for me.  No Man wants his value predicated on how much he earns.  Just as a Woman does not wish to have her value based on the size of her tits. 

And I know oh so know that one’s value more than ever before is related to one’s wealth or yearly income.  It’s just that with Chinese it is a more brutal experience.  The look in the eyes of a Chinese is more stark and unforgiving.    One’s value as a person is related more to income and value creation in Chinese society than anywhere else.   There is no romanticism involved.   And there are certainly no cheerful “wait til next year, Honey” utterisms coming from the Mouth of China Wife.

I know of what I speak. 

I’ve ridden up and down the valley of success and failure a few times now.   But our decision as a couple to marry was especially fateful as she very much missed the boat on “true wealth” by only a few years.

Crazy China Mother in Law to this day regrets the fact her daughter married a “poor” American man with an unacceptable family background.    One can rightfully argue I simply had terrible luck getting the zany M&L I did.   To pour salt into a wound, I figure my China Mother in Law will not die until 

I’m around 70. 

But as I’ve gotten older and love from a marriage drifts away like smoke from a fire, one’s value to China Wife becomes more dominated by material progress and little else.  A cool balm on a burn.    My situation is unique.  China Wife sees the wealth of New China and wistfully wonders what could’ve been if she’d stayed behind.   Laowai is inevitably compared to China New Wealthy, and comes up short.

Before laowai says “I do” he needs to get his relationship with future China Mother in Law straight.  Real straight.  Because how goes China Mother in Law is how goes China Girl.   If China M&L can’t keep “money” and “you” out of the same sentence you have my permission to take a step back.   

(Take two)

And he needs to understand the meaning of Money and Wealth and Success and how China Girl connects those to her man.   You need to get a really good sense of how your value to her will be determined.  How many boxes will you have to check, Man?

You will be able to clearly judge how you value yourself as a Man down the road.  As an Individual.  And your definition of such must be solid, certain and unshakeable.  Not only because China Girl cum China Wife will without doubt develop her own mindset of how you are to be judged too.  But also because if you just look up and behind China Wife you will be able to see China Mother in Law whispering in her ear.  Focused, determined and with purpose.   Always looking around for a replacement.  Always keeping that backup plan for China Wife in her back pocket. 


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