Dating in Taiwan: A Foreign Woman’s Perspective

Somewhere in the fictional version of New York City, Samantha Jones and Carrie Bradshaw are shedding tears for me. After 9 months of living in Taipei, I’ve just about given up on men in Asia.

I’m not converting to lesbianism by any means, but I suppose I’ve abandoned the idea that I will meet anyone worthwhile during my stint in Asia.

In case you haven’t already figured it out, foreign women get the short end of the dating stick over here. We are hands down, the least sexually satisfied demographic in Asia.

I did an unscientific poll and asked female foreigners living in Taipei, Hong Kong, Tokyo and Seoul what their dating and sex life is like and almost all of them gave me the same answer- it’s non-existent. They all agree that celibacy and singledom is a begrudgingly accepted part of life.

I won’t bother getting into how easy it is for any male ex-pat to find a girlfriend and/or f&ck buddy. We’re all aware of this fact and have certainly seen mismatched couples consisting of bombshell local chicks with ‘bottom of the barrel-esque’ foreign guys.

If I sound bitter, I’m not.

I’ve had more than my fair share of mock-relationships with both locals and foreigners. Hell, I even had a short-term fling with a Taiwanese celebrity. Trust me, I’ve seen the broad spectrum of men Taipei has to offer.
But, if you want to know why female ex-pat’s have a tough time finding a boyfriend or decent fling the answer is simple: we are the unwanted demographic.


I don’t have a bloated sense of entitlement nor do I have unrealistic expectations when it comes to men. If I could find a Don Draper + Daniel Henney + Johnny Depp mix of a man I’d probably spontaneously combust from the endorphins alone but, I know that’s never going to happen. And in Taipei? Hell. F&cking. No.

The simple fact remains that both locals and foreign guys have no interest in dating us.

Let’s start with locals:

‘Unwanted-ness’ is a two-way street especially with this group. Here’s my justification for that statement:

1) Physical attraction to locals for me- dwindles at a very, very low percentage. Puffy hair, shiny marshmallow jackets, skinny jeans and flip flops in the winter don’t exactly get my panties soaking. Maybe local men are an acquired taste, like betelnut? I find both revolting but, that’s just me…

2) The language barrier is a huge strike, because in case you didn’t already know- women love talking. Decent communication can be shirked initially, however the minimal scope of topics can get old, real quick.

3) Local guys are very shy compared to foreigners. You can’t come on too strong nor can you wait around for them to make the first move. Rock and a hard place, anyone? Being shy was cute in high school. It isn’t anymore.

4) How many local guys do you know who would be open-minded about dating a foreigner? I wouldn’t imagine very many and if they exist, they must be hiding under a bridge somewhere.
Suffice to say, a foreign woman dating a local man probably won’t end up working out.

So now, let’s move onto the foreign men:

We aren’t considered desirable because for most guys it’s a ‘been there, done that’ type of attitude.
1) Male ex-pats come to Asia to experience the culture and more importantly to become acquainted with the local chicks. For many of them this is their first taste of Asian women. Why would they bother with a native speaker? They can go back home in a year or two and find plenty of girls like us over there.

2) The language barrier works in their favor. Most foreigners know they don’t have to ‘really’ be serious about this girl because it can’t go anywhere. It’s a fling and breaking up with a girl because of communication issues is one of the best and most legitimate excuses a guy can have in Asia. A foreign guy will want us is if he’s been in Asia for a while and MISSES having a decent, witty and smart conversation.

3) Local women will let foreign guys treat them like crap without consequence and stick around. Many foreign guys I’ve spoken to admit that they know they can get away with murder when it comes to locals. As much as the guys crave the ‘Asian’ experience in Taiwan, these women crave the ‘Western’ experience and will put up with Johnny American being a jerkoff, just because his blonde hair and blue eyes are just so darn cute. Foreign women have a lower tolerance when it comes to bullshit and guys are well aware of this. Sticking to the local demographic bodes well for the Western player.

4) A lot of male expats come to Asia because they can’t score with chicks back home. Physically inferior and socially inept in the West can equate to Brad Pitt-likeness in the eyes of a local. If we didn’t want you back home, we won’t want you over here.

As you can see, the odds are simply not in our favor. We have more things working against us than for us. Yes, I knew coming to Asia would mean a significant downturn in my dating life. I’m simply making generalizations related to the difficulties most foreign women face while living here.
If all I wanted were just a bang, it wouldn’t be very hard. But, it’s not about sex or a lack thereof. I just want someone whose company I can enjoy during my time here.

If it goes somewhere, great.

If it doesn’t, that’s fine too.

You might not agree with the points I made, but unless you’re a female in my situation then you really wouldn’t understand. I’m always hoping that I’ll meet a guy who will break the stereotypes I listed above. I refuse to remain jaded and cynical. I want to enjoy my time here in Taipei and share it with someone.
Maybe I just need to morph into a local. Do I slap on some fake lashes, rock a pair of shiny tights and carry a purse with sequins in order for a decent guy to want to take me out on a date?
Say it ain’t so cause, I really hate neon clothing.

About the Author

Bee is a Canadian expat 'banana' living in Taipei and working as an English teacher. Always on the search for the perfect slice of pizza, she enjoys getting out of the city and often writes in third person.

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