When you start to date a Chinese man, you normally take him over from his parents with factory settings. There are no pre-installed repairing, cooking or laundry, let alone cleaning applications. Some of the Chinese parents do not include their children in household chores, whether they do not want to bother their spoilt little princes or they believe that it would only bother them to teach their boys how to do everything around the house. As the average Hong Kong boy, Mr. Panda never had to help at home. And although he was told to be a lazy bum who shouldn’t be in the way when they did the housework, his life with his parents somehow set the bar for his life with me quite high.
Maybe he just wanted to mentally prepare me for the time we moved in to an apartment together when he bought me a cookbook with Cantonese recipes back in Hong Kong… But really, I should have already realized what lied ahead of me as his mom cooked a multi-course dinner which was set on the table 7pm every day, no matter how stressed out or sick she was. A Swiss watchmaker could not have done better. She stood in the kitchen for more than an hour every evening to prepare a decent meal for her men, because ‘it is her job’.
Apparently Mr.Panda assumed I would do the same as soon as we moved in together. He assumed that after university classes and part time job, I would happily cook a warm meal every evening too, just like his mom did. As I am
a tough bit** an emancipated woman, I did not want to yield and waste my precious free time in the kitchen every evening while he would watch TV or play video games with his friends and struck. (I finally get it! This must be one of the reasons why Chinese mom recommended a Chinese girlfriend who would cook for him every evening without bit**ing around a word of complaint.)
Also, I am not the almighty fairy of housework. Dirty socks and his best friend, dirty T-Shirt, do not fly to the laundry basket by themselves every night as I wing my magic wand I certainly do not like to clean for hours every week like his mom did for him. I just look like I know what I am doing because I, surprise, know what I doing, since my mom has taught me. I just want to get done with all the annoying work so I can go on and do what I like to do in my free time in a clean environment. And I certainly will not clean the dirt we both make alone all the time besides university classes and part time job while he would watch TV or play video games with his friends. I also want to play video games with my friends instead of doing annoying household chores all alone.
After a rusty start, we arranged ourselves quite well. We split the housework equally, everybody could pick their favorite chores, and we decided to cook together. Althought Mr.Panda was a bit sour about all the additional work, he came used it after a few weeks. So far so good. It was very stressful for me to cook with him in the beginning. I had to teach him all the basics, like when water cooks or how to clean and cut vegetables. But, he became better really fast and is now even cooking me meals when I get home late or am sick. Now he definitely cannot talk his way out of helping me anymore, he definitely cannot say that he cannot cook as an excuse anymore.
Oh yeah: When we moved out, his mom happily declared that as from now on she did not have to cook for us every evening anymore. She was so happy she finally had more free time. And here I forced myself to eat with them almost every evening, even when I was not hungry or too tired. If I knew there was the chance not to eat Chinese food every day for five years straight, I would have seized it.
So much for proper communication. Doh!
Did you also have troubles to live up to expectiations your partners had for you as their girlfriend/wife/partner? Did you also struggle with some as they were just too old-fashioned or sexist?