*Note: generally not applicable to large urban areas such as Beijing, Shanghai, etc.
For the last three years, I've lived in two small-sized cities in China (avg. pop. 1 million) and I've met quite a variety of girls. They all have their differences but they all share similarities, some of which make them ideal partners and some that can drive men away, especially foreigners who are expecting a Western-style relationship. Now we all know that Chinese girls are gorgeous and affectionate and nearly every foreign dude that comes to China eventually picks one up (or several). Here is some advice and suggestions for anyone wondering what to expect from a foreign guy/Chinese girl relationship. Of course individual results may vary, and I hope I do not offend or condescend in any way. I'm just giving my honest opinions from experience and observations.
-Affection: Chinese girls are very emotional, and while this can also be a con, they will devote themselves heart and soul to their man if they feel that he really loves them, or at least reciprocates their affection.
-Eagerness: Chinese girls are waiting to be swept off their feet, and since they are used to being treated merely as sexual objects by most men, it doesn't take much to make their eyes sparkle. If a man shows genuine interest in them as a person and not just as a midnight snack, she will have no hesitation giving herself to him, body and soul. A misconception among foreigners is that Chinese girls are easy to get into bed, but I think it's more of an eagerness to find her man that makes a girl jump into bed with him so that she can keep him interested, but more importantly because she is happy that he loves her.
-Sex: Chinese girls have firm, tight bodies, are very flexible, and are up for anything. She might be shy and coy in public but when the lights go out, there are no limits. Sometimes they might need a little persuasion but it's all just a game and actually makes them more tantalizing. They are also very expressive, if ya know what I mean ;-).
-Excitement: a boyfriend makes a Chinese girl feel complete and validated, and a foreign boyfriend brings the possibility of new worlds and ideas being opened to her. Every girl (and boy) dreams of far-away places and exotic locales, and a foreign boyfriend can make this a reality for her. Of course a girl will not choose a foreigner over a Chinese man simply because he can take her to new countries, but this is simply icing on the cake.
-Family: this is a pro and a con. Initially, it may be difficult for the girl's family to accept the foreign boyfriend (because we know all foreign guys are playboys and heartbreakers who just want sex) but after they realize that he is making their daughter truly happy, and that he loves to drink beer, the family will warm up to him and invite him to their home often. The girl's family is usually from the countryside or suburbs where old-fashioned ideas of chastity and gentility are still rooted, so don't expect the girl to admit to her family that she is living with her boyfriend or for the man to be able to hold her hand in front of her family.
-Attachment: for a Chinese girl, her boyfriend is her support, her anchor, her big brother. An old saying in China goes: "A girl is the bird, and a man is the tree in which the bird finds safety." The girl is expecting the man to take care of her, not looking for a soulmate. A break-up is very difficult for a Chinese girl, because it means she is adrift in the big, wide, unpredictable world. She may not have the job or social skills to be successful, and though she might be able to make a living and be independent, she would much rather have a man to guide and support her. Now I'm not saying that Chinese girls are lazy shopaholics who don't want to work (though I'm met many of these too), but for a Chinese girl, being alone is the worst feeling in the world and she will cling to the relationship with all her might, even if it's time to let it go.
-Lack of hobbies: in general, Chinese people have developed few unique hobbies because of such extreme emphasis on work and study, and most girls have the same interests: shopping, fashion, QQ, singing, calligraphy, reading, maybe an instrument. You're going to have a hard time finding a girl who writes avant-garde poetry or makes mosaics out of coffee mug fragments. Most of them have no interest in philosophical or historical discussions, and they usually like dramas and romantic comedies. In my own experience and most of my friends' as well, the girls we are with become predictable and eventually boring. In a Chinese girl, you're probably not going to find a vivacious and fiery personality. I'm not saying she'll be dull- far from it. Chinese girls are full of energy and pep, but it's not directed towards unconventional pursuits.
-Safety: historically, Chinese are not risk-takers (hence a very stable country with a huge population). Chinese children are coddled by their parents are steered away from any danger no matter how slight, and they are not encouraged to engage in dangerous/adventurous activities (compare the number of Chinese children wearing arm and leg casts to those in Western countries). In China, risk is unnecessary; safety means stability and ensured survival. Thus it's difficult to get Chinese girls to try anything that might even have the illusion of risk, like a roller coaster or zipline. Of course, the non-adventurous blandess has already been pried loose by her willingness to date a foreigner so she'll probably try it with enough prodding, and she might love it or not. But in my own life, I've found a little risk and adventure becomes contagious and I've done some wild things to get that natural high and it's usually no different for Chinese girls.
Bottom line: Chinese girls are sweet, loyal, sexy, feminine, helpful, and above all, loving. They love to have fun, try new things, and are happy just to spend time with their man. I had a girlfriend for two years (and a couple short "flings"), yet the most gratifying aspects of the relationships were physical. I truly did love my girlfriend, but not as deeply as I could have if her personality and spirit captivated me as much as her heart and beauty. She loved me because I provided her with what she wanted and needed, and I loved her back because of this, but this isn't the kind of love that lasts a lifetime.
All things considered, you probably won't find your soulmate/love-of-your-life in a small Chinese city. The bigger cities have more varieties of girls, and there are many reasons for this, but the fact is that smaller-city girls are more serious about marriage and taking care of their families, so they're not thinking as much about hobbies, entrepreneurial ideas, etc. And like I've said, there are always exceptions, and everyone has different tastes and needs. I've met guys that are perfectly content to have the arm-candy/bedroom-entertainment girlfriend who lets them drink with their pals till the wee hours of the morning with little or no complaints. In my observations, I've noticed that more often than not, the foreign guy gets a girlfriend because it's easy, she's hot, and it's better than being alone. It's hard for the male ego to resist a sweet, adoring girl who loves to be with you and help you. The "just because" girlfriend is easy to find and just as easily replaceable. But the girl that truly connects with your soul- that's going to take some searching, and that's the way it is in any country.