To further complicate matters, prostitution in China is very different and a lot more complex than it is in the United States.
Just yesterday I decided to go for a full body massage because we are in the process of changing apartments and I pulled a muscle in my lower back (which is ever so easy to do when you’re 54 years old and porting around a belly that's suggestive of a second trimester pregnancy). I decided to try a new place that, in fact, my wife had pointed out to me, just a couple of blocks from our apartment.
The prices seemed a little high, even for Guangzhou (138 yuan for a 90-minute Thai massage), but that included a buffet lunch and I could quickly see that this was an upscale place. It’s one of these establishments, reminiscent of the plush bath houses in the north of China, where you are assigned a locker, completely disrobe, take a shower, are given a pair of loose shorts and shirt to wear, and then have the option of eating, moving into the lounge and falling asleep on a cushy recliner, or going directly upstairs for the massage.
I was there for a massage so I went upstairs immediately. The masseuse, I would later learn, was 24-years old and, I would say, very pretty (from Hunan province). The massage wasn’t the greatest that I’ve received in China but it did the trick. During the course of the massage, there was some occasional banter in which the girl asked me about my age, where I hailed from, whether I was married, and what I did for a living.
About 15 minutes before it was time for the massage to end, the girl abruptly stopped what she was doing, sat down next to me, took my hand in both of hers, and—with all the earnestness and tenderness she could muster—told me how much she liked me and asked if I would be willing to take her on as a “second wife” (ernai). If I hadn’t already been lying down, I would have fallen over from shock.
First of all, there was absolutely nothing sexual about the massage so I was taken completely by surprise: It was quite professional from beginning to end and I could tell from the atmosphere that this was an entirely legitimate place. Second, although no one has ever become physically ill from my appearance (to the best of my knowledge), I am no Brad Pitt either and, as stated earlier, I am not exactly in the best shape of my life right now.
This girl was looking to be loved and supported by a “good” man and clearly felt she was no longer competitive for an “excellent” Chinese man (she also indicted that, generally speaking, she didn’t like Chinese men for reasons I couldn’t fully understand due to my limited Chinese language skills). Based on her brief proposal, I believe she would have been willing to accept anything I was able to provide her with, no matter how relatively little that might have been. There are some, especially in China, who wouldn’t even define this type of relationship as a straightforward sex for hire arrangement, i.e., prostitution, because she was clearly looking for someone who would sincerely care about and nourish her. Of course, I begged off as I am happily married and I won’t be returning back to that establishment as, if I were assigned to her again, it would send the wrong message.
This type of arrangement would probably be ideal for you and it’s one that you can find anywhere in China. Of course, it does require that you speak at least some Chinese as these girls have not spent 12 years learning English (not that everyone who does can speak any English either, including quite a few “English majors”).
I have some additional thoughts I want to share with you and I think they also further clarify the main points I have made throughout the section on dating, sex, and relationships.
One of the main reasons average (or worse) looking Western middle-aged men can find a suitable companion in Asian women is because they value security and dependability far more than they do physical attraction. It’s not that they wouldn’t prefer to be with a man they personally find attractive, it’s just that it doesn’t rank very high as a priority when they have not only their futures, but those of their parents and other family members to worry about.
There is a necessary corollary of this fact that warrants mentioning: Any Asian girl who is not particularly interested in security and dependability, such that she is only looking to have a “good time” (friends with benefits so to speak) is most likely going to apply criteria similar to those employed by Western women with the same goals: Good looks and/or money.
There are a relative handful of young, well-educated, upwardly mobile Chinese women (Chuppies), especially in Shanghai and Beijing, who are not marriage-minded and might consider a mutually satisfying short-term relationship but, by and large, they are not going to select a balding middle-aged man with a paunch as the object of their affection. In fact, generally speaking, these are the very girls who tend to be the least interested in Western men, irrespective of physical appearance. Chinese men who speak their language and come from the same culture will do just fine.
As I reflected back on this aforementioned girl’s proposal to become my second wife, after the initial sense of flattery waned, I felt very sorry for her and her set of circumstances. If a girl this pretty had, for example, been an American-born Chinese, she wouldn’t have looked even once at me, let alone twice. Life is most definitely not fair.
Unfortunately, we can’t have our cake and eat it too. We can’t refuse to offer long-term security or cash and then hope that somehow, miraculously, girls who wouldn’t give us a second thought back home will somehow be willing to meet our short-term needs for companionship in an Asian country simply because the location happens to be halfway around the world.
Short of aging KTV girls, divorced women with children, gold diggers, visa hunters, terribly bored middle-aged women with money who happen to be married to absentee businessmen, and poor girls who are looking to improve their quality of life for as long as it lasts, particularly in the absence of a long-term commitment, it is unlikely that Western men will find women in China who would be interested in them if they are not otherwise competitive for women of the same age and relative appearance in their own countries.