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Cantonese Dating Culture: 14 Colorful Facts You Should Know

April 28, 2022
Are you curious about how to date 拍拖 (paak3 to1) in Chinese culture? Well, the mystery ends now because today, we will unfold the Cantonese dating culture.

Who doesn't want to be loved or be in a relationship? Nowadays, most people are eager to find love or romantic relationship, hence the emergence of different dating sites and apps. With the influence of social media and international films, the hype about finding a romantic relationship gets stronger. But, when it comes to Chinese culture, dating is different.

Hong Kong is known for its fast-growing economy and beautiful skyscrapers. Having one of the busiest cities in the world, many people are wondering about the dating situation of the locals. Today, we will discover the Chinese dating etiquette of Hong Kongers.

 

Chinese Dating Culture

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Before we start, let me just clarify one thing. Hong Kong is a special administrative region of the People's Republic of China. Because of this, they share culture and beliefs. But, nowadays, there are fewer people in Hong Kong who identify themselves as Chinese. There are Hong Kongers who don't want to be called Chinese. But, since we are talking about culture and traditions, we cannot eliminate that mist of the people who still practice Chinese culture.

Hong Kong is one of the Asian regions with an incredibly rich culture when it comes to dating. The Chinese dating culture is very different from the Western dating culture. In Western culture, dating doesn't necessarily have to mean something. There are lots of shows about blind dating a random person. In Chinese culture, when you begin dating, you're welcoming the thought of a serious relationship.

There are many things to expect when dating Chinese guys and Chinese girls. There are also many Chinese dating rules to consider, which you may find odd if you're used to dating Western men or western women. We will unfold all of these things below.

Pressure From Chinese Parents

In the Chinese culture, parents put extreme pressure on their children to get married fast. Certainly much more than in Western countries.

It's called embarrassment when they are already in their 30s but are still not married. Another reason is because of their aging parents. Because of this, they attend matchmaking sessions and even have fake boyfriends and girlfriends to get their parents off their backs. It is pretty hard, especially for Chinese women because, in their culture, women aren't the ones who make the first moves.

Matchmaking Sessions

Finding someone to date in Hong Kong is pretty hard because people are busy. That's why when they start dating, they want it to be serious. But, how can you be so sure that the person you date suits you?

Also, what's the main reason Hong Kongers go on matchmaking sessions?

Matchmaking sessions have always been part of the Chinese culture. It is brought by the parents' pressure to get married. It is common in their culture to plan a specific date and meet someone who could be your potential match and become a life partner.

Dating Among Their Race Is Possible

It is not a common practice nowadays, but they believed there was no better match for them than their race in the old tradition. With modern influences and industrialization, Hong Kongers are more practical in dating now.

No Middle Ground

If foreign men or foreign women date Chinese people, prepare yourself for cultural differences. One of these differences is the lack of a middle ground. In Western, there are certain stages of dating relationships before they enter into actual serious relationships.

They usually start by meeting, which can be personal or online. Then a first date will be the beginning of ice breaking. Which is the most crucial stage because it is where people get to know each other. 

If they didn't like the first date, there won't be a second one. Simple as that. But, if they pass all these stages, they will proceed to be "in a relationship." That includes changing their Facebook status, meeting friends and families, and not cheating.

For Chinese people the process is different. 

Dating For Marriage

Chinese couples date with marriage on their minds. There are no middle stages, no casual dates, and no one-night stands. Chinese relationships are more serious because they want it to end up in marriage when they start dating. With the extreme pressure from their parents and the struggles of finding a partner that matches them, they don't have time for casual dates that will lead to nowhere.

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The Marriage Market

Can you imagine being married because of convenience, not love? Well, if you want to date a Chinese girl or Chinese guy, it's good to know that they have this thing called the marriage market in the Chinese culture.
This market is no joke, and it can be as big as it can be.

What's more interesting about it is that parents are usually the ones who are behind this. Imagine going to a job fair while holding your resume. It is like that, but you won't be looking for a job but a partner.

Parents usually sit with lots of other parents and advertise their children to their potential in-laws. When a match is found, they will continue to arrange a meeting for the kids in private. And, if everything goes well, a wedding will be held within months.

Getting Married Early Is A Tendency

Because of the culture, young Chinese women's parents and grandparents are the ones that put pressure on them to marry, whether they are ready or not. Elders prefer to marry their daughters to older men because they are more reliable, earn enough money, and usually have a promising future. Above all things, Chinese people placed a high priority on marital stability.

But, nowadays, young Chinese women are more empowered and have more control over their own life. In fact, there's also a blog that says Hong Kong women would rather be alone forever than date Hong Kong men.

No matter how much we talk about women's empowerment nowadays, there are still different countries and cultures where women are meant to serve their families, husbands, and children. Many Asian women are still getting married early not because of love but because of culture and convenience.

No Detailed Conversation

In the Western culture, they go as detailed as possible when they date. A person will want a better understanding of the person they are dating before moving to the next step of their relationship. A deeper understanding can help you decide if you want to push through to the relationship or not.

But, in the Chinese/Cantonese dating culture, they avoid detailed conversations like talking about their income, expenses, living conditions, and more. They usually prefer to talk about family and friends on the first date.

No Casual Dating

The younger generation usually does casual dating, but, in the traditional Chinese culture, when the date happens three or more times, they are likely to be interested in having a serious relationship and getting married.

Showing Affection Is Taken Seriously

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In their culture, showing affection is a big deal. Chinese people do not say or do sweet things for nothing. They mean every "I love you" and "I miss you." They do not do that to flirt or send mixed signals to Chinese women.

Giving Gifts

Gift-giving and materialism are also common to move for a Chinese man to court a Chinese woman. They tend to give gifts even if it's too expensive. But, you have to know that dating a Chinese girl is not about material things.

As I said above, Hong Kong women are more practical and more aware of their self-worth. So, when they started dating a guy, it just meant that she saw him as a potential life partner rather than just dating partners.

Couple Shirts Or Matching Outfits

There was an era in the early 2000 when couple outfits were very on-trend. This is also common for couples in Chinese culture. Some may find it a little too much, but for them, it's sweet. Also, there's nothing wrong with flaunting your relationship, given the struggles of finding a partner in their culture.

Checking Each Other's Phone

It may be a sign of a lack of trust in other cultures, but to them, there's nothing wrong with that. This is one of the cultural differences you will experience when dating a Chinese man or woman.

Valuing Parents' Approval

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Filial piety is one of the family values taught and practiced in their culture. Before they decide to get married, they need to ask for the approval of their parents first. Sometimes, even how much you like the person, if their parents don't approve, there will be no wedding.

 

Dating Chinese Women

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Cultural differences can affect one relationship so much. They all need to work it out from values down to dating etiquette. So. for western men who are into Hong Konger, here are some of the things that you must know:

Complimenting The Woman On First Date

When meeting a woman, it comes naturally from a man to compliment her. But, a woman knows if it's an empty compliment or a sincere one. If you really want to be in a relationship with a Chinese woman, it's important to let the woman feel that she is appreciated.

Women Don't Start Conversations

In a very conservative culture, women don't start conversations. Partly because they're afraid of offending the men by revealing too much about themselves, this is also one of the characteristics common among Asian women.

Virginity Is Important

In Chinese culture, virginity is really important. Men and women tend to wait for marriage before engaging in sexual intercourse. It is not surprising since casual dating is not a thing in their culture. They are not as liberated as the western culture, where the one-night stand is common.

 

Dating Chinese Men

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If you're a woman, what is it like to be dating a Chinese man in Hong Kong?

Men Being The Decision-Maker

Men being the decision-maker has always been a part of their culture. They follow a patriarchal system, but couples nowadays tend to be more open about gender roles.

They Don't Care About Green Card

Some people want to marry foreigners in the west for legal purposes, but Chinese men are not after that. They don't care about that. They do not feel the need to leave their home country just to get the perks of having a western wife.

Living Apart Is Okay

Aside from cultural differences, another problem of a foreigner having a relationship with a Hong Konger is the distance. Fortunately, Hong Kong men don't mind living apart. They don't mind having a long-distance relationship.

 

Words And Phrases About Cantonese/Chinese Dating Culture

Talking about Cantonese dating culture isn't complete without learning some vocabulary. Here is some dating vocabulary in Cantonese. If you want to know more romantic words and phrases, you can read the blog post I love You In Cantonese And 30 Love Phrases You Must Learn.

CantoneseJyutpingEnglish Translation
拍拖paak3 to1date
相睇soeng1 tai2blind date
鮮花sin1 faa1flowers
女朋友neoi5 pang4 jau5girlfriend
男朋友naam4 pang4 jau5boyfriend
賞面同我食餐飯嗎?soeng2 min2 tung4 ngo5 sik6 caan1 faan6 maa3?Would you like to go out to dinner with me?
你今個禮拜尾得唔得閒?nei5 gam1 go3 lai5 baai1 mei5 dak1 m4 dak1 haan4?Are you free this weekend?
我哋聽日幾點見?ngo5 dei6 ting1 jat6 gei2 dim2 gin3?What time shall we meet tomorrow?
我哋喺邊度等?ngo5 dei6 hai2 bin1 dou6 dang2?Where shall we meet?
我可唔可以再約你?ngo5 ho2 m4 ho2 ji3 zoi3 joek3 nei5?Can I see you again?
我車你返屋企ngo5 ce1 nei5 faan1 uk1 kei5.I will drive you home.
今晚好開心.gam1 maan1 hou2 hoi1 sam1.That was a great evening.
你好靚nei5 hou2 leng3You’re so beautiful.
你好靚仔。nei5 hou2 leng3 zai2You’re so handsome.
我暗戀你。ngo5 am3 lyun5 nei5.I've got a crush on you.

 

Fall In Love With The Cantonese Language!

Communication is key to a strong relationship. So, no matter how much money you have, how sweet you are, or how good you are with words, everything won't make sense in the long run if you don't know how to communicate properly. To be able to communicate, you should learn how to speak their native language - Cantonese. Luckily, Ling App can help you do that.

Learn Cantonese

With the advanced features and well-developed activities, you will learn Cantonese and communicate with your possible partners. You can also learn beyond that and learn about their culture by reading blogs like this.

When you go to Hong Kong, you'll easily fall in love with the beautiful places, and you might also fall in love with a person. But, aside from all of these, you can also fall in love with their beautiful language. So, learn Cantonese with Ling App now.

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