I was playing backgammon with my friend Martin by the soccer field when a young Chinese woman approached us. She climbed onto the wooden platform where we sat and asked if she could watch us play. Not the most exhilarating game for spectators, I thought, but of course. We began chatting with Christina and within the first two minutes, were much more absorbed in the conversation than our game. Luckily, I got a few fluky rolls and we finished playing quite quickly.
Christina, 22, is originally from Guangdong Province. She’s not a Tsinghua University student, campus tourist, nor is she working in Beijing. So what was she doing on wooden block platform beside a soccer field on a Thursday afternoon at Tsinghua University?
Scoping out the lads. Or in Christina’s words, “looking for a boyfriend, potential future husband…ideally German or Italian.” Martin and I looked at each other and smiled hesitantly, not knowing if she was serious or not. Oh, but serious she was! Christina regularly commutes 1.5 hours from her home on the other side of Beijing to Tsinghua University (and sometimes to nearby Peking University) in hopes of meeting a Caucasian boyfriend, “ideally German or Italian” she tells us, whom her friends advise her are more responsible than men of other nationalities. “Martin’s German,” I joke, but Christina has a very specific profile in mind.
She claims that she’s tired of living in China and not interested in Chinese men. How about an Australian? I suggest as my Aussie buddy rode past us on his bike. Nope. Canadian or American? Nope and nope. We asked her to describe what kind of man she was looking for. “I like handsome blond Germans…Italians are okay too…they’re more responsible than Canadians or Australians.” I’m not sure what her source was, but she was quite adamant about that idea. Well, everyone’s view of handsome varies quite a bit, I said, and asked if she could be more specific.
“I want someone who is 10/10,” and then pulled out a photo of her dream boy on her cell phone. “Do you watch Gossip Girl?” No, I don’t. “He’s Chase Crawford. 10/10. But I can settle for someone who is 9/10 too.”
Martin and I laughed a little. Huh, “well, my idea of a 10/10 is quite different, but regardless, I don’t know if Tsinghua is the right place to look for a Chase Crawford look-alike,” I said. She said that’s just a guideline, and she’s willing to settle, so long as the boy is a blond German or Italian, between 21 and 28 years of age, and scores at least 9/10 on her appearance scale. Martin and I named off a few of his German buddies for fun.
It’s not all about the looks, I told her. You have to scope out someone with a good personality too, which usually entails meeting them first. Christina asked for some advice on how to do so. We suggested searching for a language partner – lots of people want extra Chinese help… just advertise for a Chinese-German or Chinese-Italian language swap. She quite liked the idea. “Also, I’m playing a soccer match tomorrow. My international students team vs. a team of German boys. You’re most welcome to come watch,” I told her. She was really excited to hear that.
Christina has ventured to all the foreign student bars around campus, regularly sips coffee at Paradiso Café (a favorite study spot for exchange students, me included), and even recognized some students walking past us as people she’d seen before. “He’s American,” she pointed out to Martin and me as a guy passed by, “I can tell because I’ve heard him talk American before.” She’s got her game on, no doubt.
I invited her to dinner in our canteen so that we could chat a bit more. I found her extremely interesting, and it was the first time I’d ever heard of anyone doing anything remotely close to what she was. Christina knows exactly what she wants and has found a creative and dare I say logical way to go about it. If you want to find a German or Italian lad and can’t afford a plane ticket to Europe, go where the Europeans are in Beijing. The age range of university students is just about what she’s looking for and so what better place to find a potential partner than on an university campus?
So, Mr. single, responsible, 21-28 year-old, blond, German or Italian, Chase Crawford-resembling man, there is a nice young lady searching for you all around the Tsinghua University campus. If you are out there and reading this, please reply to this post and I will connect you with my new friend Christina.
You can thank me later for playing matchmaker.