Nikki Aaron has been living and working in China for 5 years. Originally from Leicester, pretty blonde Nikki now lives in Beijing and works as a news anchor for a Chinese news network. Having embarked on the adventure of a lifetime in China, she soon found that her dreams of finding ‘the one’ were crippled by her choice of location. She sums up her experiences in a hilarious book where Nikki speaks candidly of the dating battle-field faced by female expats in China. Here we print an extract of her book ‘Beijing Flings’.
My friends have often marveled at my peculiar taste in men. Even as a teen, instead of practicing my snogging technique on a poster of Nick from the Backstreet Boys, I would be daydreaming of Lister from Red Dwarf.
By my late teens, when my friends were chasing football players and boys with cars, I had developed a thing for men with long hair. The longer the better, the scruffier the sexier, and don’t even get me started on dreadlocks. This is a period that my friends affectionately tagged my ‘Yeti phase’.
Adventure, rebellion, escape
As time went on, my taste developed, however even today a man with long hair will still turn my head. Just weeks after my graduation, I found myself in China, and waist deep in Chinese men (no pun intended). The Asian men served as a fitting replacement for my ‘yeti’s’…they differed from what society deemed conventionally attractive…and to me they represented adventure, rebellion, and a whole new escape from the status quo.
But why is it that I have been attracted to these types? Why do any of us have a particular weakness for a type of person? Well, it all comes down to psychology and the instincts of our inner cave dweller. What people fail to recognise is that falling in love is actually quite a rational process.
Movies and romance novels would have us believe in destiny, love at first sight, and soul mates; however the real reason why we are more inclined to open our hearts to one person and not the next, is determined by what they can offer us.
In the book How to Make Anyone Fall in Love with You, Leil Lowndes discusses the ‘What’s in it for me’ principle of love. She writes, “Lovers unconsciously calculate the other person’s comparable worth, the cost-benefit ratio of the relationship, the hidden costs, the maintenance fee, and the assumed depreciation.”
The ‘what’s in it for me’ principle can also account for why your taste changes with age. As a studious teen, for me, long-haired men signified rebellion and adventure. It’s also an attraction that may have stemmed from a childhood crush on John Lennon (the Yoko years).
Chinese men, the key to a new language, culture and belief system
By the time I had arrived in China and discovered Chinese men, I was more mature and eager to explore the world beyond hairy-headed men. Chinese men were just another aspect of my quest to uncover China (again, no pun intended). As Aron et al. (2006) found, relationships that provide opportunities for one partner to grow are deemed rewarding. Therefore many people are attracted to a partner who is competent in a novel skill. For me, Chinese men were the key to a new language, culture, and belief system; therefore they held an irresistible appeal to my thirst of adventure and knowledge.
And it’s not just me; we all have a subconscious check list that we run through whenever we meet a potential mate. Whether we decide we’re attracted to this person all depends on whether they fit our needs at that particular time, and ‘tick the right boxes’.