Perhaps you have ‘dated’ Chinese girls before? You may have taken them out on a ‘date’ or maybe several ‘dates’ only to be spurned in your advances. You probably paid for a few nice meals and spent considerable time with them, thinking that things were going very well. Obviously she must like you a lot if she went out with you so many times! So then you try to kiss her and get hit with bitter rejection. That’s because your ‘date’ was more like an appointment.
The word date in Chinese literally means a meeting. Many times, it has no romantic connotation whatsoever. From MDBG.net (fantastic Chinese dictionary site), the word ??yue?hu means “appointment / engagement / date … / to set up to meet.” It simply means an arrangement to meet. The exact same word you make use of to question a girl out is how she asks her dentist to meet her for a cleaning!
Don’t be amazed if she conveniently twists the context of this word to her advantage. The word itself serves to secure Chinese girls’ interests. If you take them on a few dates and she decides there is no sexual/romantic connection there then she simply says she never imagined there was any romantic implication! This might cause you to ask, “Well how come she seeing me if she didn’t have any interest?”
This is where “face” comes into the discussion.
If you know much about Chinese culture, you have certainly have heard of face before. Chinese girls think that by merely being with you they are offering you face. By merely being out in public with her she is doing you a service. This has a deep reference to a prior article I wrote about Chinese girls having a sense of entitlement. Only a Chinese girl can give you face, not the opposite way round.
The reason this leads to this type of issue is because Chinese girls maintain this mentality when they arrive to the USA. It might take them over 1 year before they fully understand the idea of “dating” in English. Obviously if you ever ask a girl on a date in English there is a romantic implication there, but it will take a Chinese girl some time to realize this. The way to combat this issue is to basically be honest with her and after a couple “dates” let her know that you’ve got romantic feelings and prevent getting the run around.
It is important to recognize that this isn’t an isolated phenomenon. Translation can cause issues and you need to be careful of the language you choose so as to make your speech concise and clear. You have to be aware of simple things like calling a lady funny signifies that she is humorous in English, but in Chinese means weird or irregular. It is not easy to identify these complaints and not using a little bit of research so go out there and learn some Chinese for yourself!