Saturday, February 9, 2013


In my last blog entry I described my most recent dating in China experience a blind date set up by a friend. To be precise, my fourth blind date in China and, as I said there, my last. In case you’re keeping tabs, in three of the instances I did not want to continue with the woman and in one instance the woman did not want to continue with me. That’s sort of the way my love life was before I came to China, so there’s no reason it should be any different here.

Now, this was a truly blind date, the type where you don’t see the other person before you meet for the first time. And the experience got me thinking about the role that physical attractiveness plays in a relationship not just with Chinese women but with any woman. In the original blog entry, I did not talk about physical attractiveness but I want to discourse on the issue here, for the same reason that Bertrand Russell said he wrote about any subject, namely, he did not know what he thought on a subject until he wrote about it. So in retrospect I am wondering what role physical attractiveness played in my decision not to continue after the first date?

I don’t want to sound shallow. But my first response is that it had quite a bit to do with that. I say this because of a phenomenon that I notice on blind dates. Now, as I said above, in this Internet age, true blind dates are rare things. And with good reason.Thank God for I started dating back in the days before Internet dating. In those Dark ages, you put an ad in the paper and if you were lucky you got a phone call back and then set up your own blind date. It’s been a while since those days, but my blind dating in China experience has brought back an experience that I had almost forgotten. And it’s this. The first moment I see someone in a blind date situation, I have in instant reaction.

The best way I can describe it is by something that the ancient Greek philosopher Socrates would report, that he had an inner voice that would warn him away from courses of action although it would never tell him to do anything in a constructive sense. Just so, with these blind dates, I have a sensation within a nanosecond. And, like with Socrates, it doesn’t always occur, but when it does occur it never impels me towards the woman but pushes me away, tells me ‘nope, this is not right’. It’s a reaction that is not related to the rational faculty and so can’t be overridden by it. And, as sad experience has taught me, I ignore it at my peril.

So on that first meeting at the blind date I wrote about I did indeed have that negative reaction. But I squelched it, perhaps because I did not want to seem like a shallow person, like I was going to decide the course of this thing on looks alone. Hadn’t I grown wiser with age and able to look beyond the physical? Hadn’t I at least grown older with age and at least have to adjust my expectations?

But at the end of the day, and speaking only for myself, I find there has to be a physical component to a relationship whether dating in China or anywhere. If we compromise on that, I think we are lost. I’d rather live alone. This doesn’t mean the woman has to be in any classical sense of the word beautiful. Indeed, the great thing is that we all have very different standards of beauty. And the great thing about Chinese women is that there are so many types of beauties. But we have to trust that sense of attraction, which is not entirely unconnected to the soul. Rather, it is what Joseph Campbell said, “the eyes are the scouts for the soul.”

Peter Vernezze blogs on various topics about Chinese dating,Chinese women and things Chinese. To read other blog posts visit at

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