*WARNING: I do not think Asian men or women are stupid. This is a satirical post mixed in with personal opinion, read it with a grain of salt*
I Like Stupid Girls (Chinese Version)
I like to believe that the majority of western men don’t date women for looks alone, and intelligence plays a small role in the selection of a partner. Personality–most importantly, intelligence–plays a huge role in who we want to date or spend the rest of our lives with.
Not for Asia.
It was about two years ago when my friend got a new girlfriend. He had been single for quite some time and, despite being 25, had never truly had a girlfriend. When his friend set him up with a fellow girl from Hunan, he was elated to meet her. On the first date they hit it off, and by the second date things were starting to get serious. As his best friends, he wanted us to meet his new girl and give him some very important feedback.
She was small, petite, cute–a shy little figure that managed to glow in a pure, innocent kind of way; almost as if rainbows were shining out of her in all directions and smacking us with this dumbfound joy. When I talked to her, she smiled and giggled and was squeezibly cute, and I couldn’t help but smile back. It was like looking at a baby panda.
After sending her off home, all the dudes and myself exchanged opinions about my friend’s new gal. He was blushing pink; everyone said she was gorgeous and sweet. I patted him on the back with approval.
The next line from his friend’s mouth, however, threw me back a notch:
That’s Chinese for
“She’s a bit stupid.”
Now if you’re surprised as I was, don’t worry, that’s normal. I shook my head in disbelief and blurted out, “you shouldn’t say that, it’s rude!”
My friend laughed and said, “Mary, in Chinese, 笨笨的 may mean stupid, but it also denotes a feeling of being cute. I mean, she’s just so unaware of what’s going on around her, like a lost little puppy. You look at her big, beaming eyes and can’t help but think ‘awwwwwww.’”
“But, doesn’t it have a bad meaning as well? To be called…. well, stupid?”
“Of course. But in this situation with my girlfriend, it’s more of a cute stupid than a real stupid,” my friend added.
I wasn’t quite sure. Either way, my final understanding of the conversation was that stupid=cute.
Chinese women seemed happy or completely fine with the fact that their boyfriends called them stupid.
“Well I wouldn’t be happy to be called 笨笨的,” I interjected. “It’s kind of insulting in the USA.”
He went on his long ramble about how China and the USA are different, but the point remained the same:
As a woman in China, being called stupid was not only normal, it was a compliment, and it was something to strive for.
I Like Stupid Girls (Japanese Version)
My best Japanese friend K has a Japanese girlfriend that is, well… super Japanese. I really don’t know how else to describe her. I bet if you open up ‘Japanese woman’ in the dictionary, her face pops up. She’s shy, cute, and well mannered. She is extremely polite, talks in a quiet voice and quivers when any sort of attention or the conversation starts to focus on her (like a scared kitten). She does her nails multiple times a week and dresses in long, billowing layers covered in floral patterns (like I said, very Japanese).
Like most Japanese women, she’s extremely cute. Her manners make me look like a cave woman. Whenever we go out to eat, she somehow manages to pour everyone’s water and refill the glasses right at the exact moment they become empty. She distributes everyone’s food into separate bowls while I’m digging into the main dishes with my dirty chopsticks. As soon as we sit down for dinner (no matter where, noodle shack or not) she will place a clean napkin on her lap, peck the corners of her lips when food smudges in the crevices, and cover her mouth when she laughs.
Mannerly, obedient, cute, giggly—she is the epitome of what every Japanese man wants.
So, I asked the dudes yesterday, “Have you met K’s girlfriend?”
“Yeah, she’s really polite,” said one. “Very cute.”
“What do you think, TK?” K said to friend no.2.
That’s Japanese for:
“Kind of an airhead.”
The word “天然” actually means natural. Maybe I just took the meaning the wrong way? Maybe they meant to say she’s very natural, very down to earth?
“No, it means kind of stupid,” TK confirmed for me. “Just, you know, kind of in her own world. Not really here. Not really thinking.”
“Isn’t that, uh, not a good thing?”
“Depends on the context,” the other friend (we’ll call him Kuma) said. “In Japan it kind of has this cute connotation.”
Oh god, I thought. Here it comes again.
“Most Japanese women don’t mind being called this. It means they’re cute. It isn’t necessarily bad, it just depends on the situation.”
So it wasn’t just a Chinese thing, I thought to myself. I guess most Asian men just want someone that stares blankly, nods their head when spoken to and looks like a fluffy puppy. I mean, who needs intelligence when you have someone with big, round eyes smiling at you and giggling at everything you say?
My conclusion just adds to the evidence as to why western women just don’t get Asian men very often. Us American are straightforward and loud and we don’t (well, most of us) wear cute floral pattern dresses with hair bands decorated in butterflies and rainbows while giggling at every single thing. Compared to a Japanese woman, us westerners are rough, tough, mean, loud, bossy and annoying. I mean, why date a woman who’s going to argue with you about Chinese and Japanese governmental policies when you could just have someone that smiles, laughs and brightens your day with her clothing–all without challenging your ideals? I kind of see the appeal. Maybe.