The first few conversations between Minxi and me were so exciting. Both of us had gone for a long period of time without dating. Both of us had decided that we wanted life partners not lovers or girl/boyfriends. Both of us also had had run ins with the glamorous, sexy, but maybe not so real side of the internet dating game.
I don’t know if it was love at first sight. Minxi, who messaged me first, says that something in my smile appealed to her. Here's the photo she saw. Judge for yourself.
Beautiful Asian Woman meets Scruffy Beard Man?
I felt almost at once that I had found someone different and more appealing than the thousands of over sexed, painted Asian women I’d seen online thus far.
We also ran to a money issue right away. While CLL was a lot less expensive and much more genuine than the Chinese dating sites I’d visited before, the price of online chatting and other services through them mounted quickly.
Minxi and I talked this over. She was in contact with a woman in England who had met her husband through CLL. Their advice was that we really only had two choices: QQ or Skype.
QQ is the Chinese equivalent of Facebook. You can post photos, chat with friends etc. I actually managed to join QQ at one point. It’s all in Chinese however and even the noble efforts of the Google translator couldn’t make it decipherable to me.
Note on the Google Translator: You can find the Google translator on “More” tab on Google’s home page. While it does what amounts to a miraculous job of translating Chinese, it can’t read images or some kinds of boxes. The result is that you’ll get some text and descriptions more or less correctly translated but all the buttons and title bars with still be in Chinese script. Ooops.
The other choice for those wanting to converse with the lovely ladies of China is Skype. Skype is telephonic software that offers both free and paid services. The most important part for Minxi and me is that it offers free video chat.
I can still remember our first chat. Mixni has this dynamic and fully engaged personality. She had met some bummer folks online too and was as excited as I was to find someone promising. Her English was way better than my Chinese but those early conversations were still pretty difficult. Looking back now, I don’t remember the difficulties only the enchanting woman I'd met. Then again, I do remember some funny non-bilingual moments.
At one point, we were joking about pushy men. Minxi said that men could be fierce like a dragon.
“Don’t worry.” I said. “I’m only a small dragon.”
“A small dragon. Xaio, xaio dragon.” I said, trying to translate to Chinese as I went.
She burst into hysterical laughter. Turns out that “small dragon” is a metaphor for, um…for a man’s ah…sex organ. In my experience it’s just generally a bad idea for a man it refer to himself as a small anything in Mandarin. You’re just opening yourself up.
It is important to note that China is not an open society and the government feels free to check into the activities of its citizens. Online is no exception. While Skype boasts that its video format is basically impossible to decode, you really shouldn’t write or say anything to your sweety that could get her in trouble with the law. This isn’t really as scary as it sounds. There are more than a billion people in China and the government there is not at all concerned that you may be busy romancing and falling in love with one of their own. In fact, they are a nation of amazingly friendly people and would probably wish you the best. Just don’t type anything stupid, or try to get your girlfriend to show you anything she couldn’t show on the street and you’ll be fine.
I sort of wish Minxi and I could go back to those early days of chatting. She had been alone for five years dealing with her father’s failing health. I’d been alone about three years. With each conversation it became clearer and clearer that we each had found what we were looking for. Within a month, we abandoned CLL completely. Within two months we started talking seriously. This raised a whole new set of challenges though. After all, how do you get serious with a girl who lives 13 time zones away?