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.

Expectations of me and why I do not want to live up to them
Dinner for five grown ups and two kids

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.

Mr. Panda cooking
Mr. Panda with a hendheld electric mixer, beating egg whites over a double boiler

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?

Expectations of me and why I do not want to live up to them

17 thoughts on “Expectations of me and why I do not want to live up to them

  • September 1, 2015 at 21:23
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    Glad to see that you and the Panda have found a balance at home! How does he do with Austrian cuisine? Does he enjoy it, and is he learning to cook it?

    I really enjoy your blog, and the visual design is very nice too!

    Reply
    • September 1, 2015 at 23:44
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      Thank you! I am really glad that you like my stories and the design – I still struggle with both haha. But it helps to hear a lot that you like it. 😀

      Mr. Panda loves Wiener Schnitzel and also knows how it make it. But we don’t cook it too often because it is fried and afterwards the whole kitchen stinks of oil – and of course we two too. Luckily they sell them everywhere here. As I grew up near the Italian border, we cook a lot of Italian food too, and he actually can cook Lasagne and quite a few Pasta dishes already. He always cooks me something tasty with a nice salad when I come home late. He already knows how to spoil my palate. 😀

      Reply
  • September 2, 2015 at 6:37
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    I’m glad Mr. Panda learned to do his part. You must be very persuasive. It’s important to share the work.

    I was lucky, my Chinese husband was already a good cook. He taught me to cook Chinese food. Even though he grew up with maids, surprising to say, he was also handy around the house. In fact, he was proud to be able to do everything for himself. Maybe being a mechanical engineer had something to do with it.

    Reply
    • September 2, 2015 at 15:51
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      I am persuasive and I demonstrated stamina in not giving up. I sometimes got a feeling that he did a bad job just so I wouldn’t asign him to do something the next time again. Oh he was so wrong. 🙂

      And you really were lucky that we could do everything so well from the beginning. I think I am lucky too that he is trying so hard with everything and we can now share the work. If the worst came to the worst I would have ended up with a lazy good-for-nothing guy. But I probalby wouldn’t have started to date him if he was like this. 😀

      Reply
  • September 2, 2015 at 15:21
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    Well done, Betty. Vorsprung durch Interaktion!

    This may not be a typical case of most Chinese girls from Hong Kong ie cannot cook. Her upbringing was not traditional either even by Western standard.

    Many years ago, I was friendly with a Chinese girl who was raised by her grand mother. She told me she couldn’t cook. Her grandma never taught her how to cook and asked her to concentrate on building her relationship with a prominent, wealthy Chinese man whose family lived on Hong Kong’s Peak. She married the guy. The wedding present from her in-law was a house in London.

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    • September 2, 2015 at 16:00
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      That sure is another way to avoid to learn how to work around the house.
      I definitely am too proud to dance attendance on some rich guy and am happy with the normal life I have here. D:

      By the way, I am quite lucky that I can cook, many women my age here can not. My mom doesn’t like to cook, so I had to cook myself lots of times if I wanted to eat something warm in the evening. My mom still doesn’t like it now, but now she always cooks something nice for us when we visit my parents haha 😀

      Reply
  • September 4, 2015 at 4:01
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    I’m glad he has come around! One of the important things about international relationships is to learn to compromise with each other. I wouldn’t be able to do the traditional Chinese wife role because I am not used to it!

    Reply
    • September 4, 2015 at 6:53
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      I think nobody should be used to it in this day and age.
      Unfortunately too many women still think they can only please men if they act like their slaves. 🙁

      Reply
  • September 6, 2015 at 10:35
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    It’s good that he learned you are not his maid/mother! Housework should be shared if both people work outside, why would it be only the woman’s responsibility?

    In China, it seems the traditional roles have reversed. Many women don’t want to cook or clean and it is the husband doing everything… I don’t know if it was his mum or his ex wife, but my bf can do anything at home, haha. We both don’t cook much, though… for me the main problem is that the fridge is usually empty when I arrive home on Friday evening and we don’t have a big supermarket within walking distance! I should definitely plan ahead what to buy for cooking…

    Reply
    • September 8, 2015 at 9:11
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      Hahaha exactly! We once had an argument about housework and suddenly he said “Yes, mom!!!” Needless to say I was furious about it and screamed “Do you make out with your mom??? You don’t, do you?” back. He was so shocked that he never said it again. 😀

      I sometimes feel China is one or two generations behind Europe, because it was exactly the same before too. Just like they are missing the Mao years or something like that. My grandma was still a housewife who only lived for my mom, but good thing my mom already thought differently. I learned so much from her and am really grateful for that. I feel like we are in an equal relationship, not like I am a slave who is good enough for any guy to serve him!

      And another tip: for these occasions I have some easy meals frozen at home, like curry or so. I can easily heat them up if we both are too tired too cook something, and it is still a full meal and tastes grate. 😀

      Reply
    • September 8, 2015 at 9:14
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      Hahaha then I fit the role perfectly. I know how to make these and already did so. Maybe I’ll post some pictures in the future.
      I love to cook and try new things, maybe I just don’t like to be forced to do so? 😀

      Reply
  • September 8, 2015 at 16:32
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    I love food art. Please publish it on your blog.

    I like to cook and eat but food art, too much work.

    The parents of one of my friends refuse to eat the food cooked by the vegan daughter because they don’t like the way she presents her food. They are English.

    You may win brownie points with your in-laws if you present them with food art. NO?

    Reply
    • September 9, 2015 at 7:46
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      It is so much work to prepare such flashy food,and then you always eat it so fast – it is such a waste. So I always take lots of photos. I will eventually post them later.

      Chinese parents already know that I can cook and they are happy that I bring them stuff over frequently. They love the less sweet cakes I make. And Chinese dad loves my muffins 😀

      Reply
  • September 9, 2015 at 2:11
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    I don’t know how much of this is cultural and how much is upbringing. I can’t say that Chinese men just don’t cook and do housework. I think it depends. My husband certainly had to do a lot growing up and knows how to cook well because of it. But he grew up during the 80’s and early 90’s when China was still quite poor and parents couldn’t really afford the time or money to spoil their kids like they do today. I do Chinese kids today are very spoiled and many of them (both male and female) aren’t taught to do much of anything, even as young adults. The same can be true of American kids, I guess.

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    • September 9, 2015 at 8:34
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      Yes, I also think it depends on the upbringing. Little princesses and princes who can’t do anything by themselves and are not aware of others’ feelings are currently raised all around the world.

      I just had the feeling that Chinese parents were just too impatient to teach their children. It can also be the other way around I guess haha 😀

      Reply
  • October 1, 2015 at 4:48
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    LOL over the lack of factory settings! Luckily for me, my Chinese-AMerican Hubby loved to eat and his parents were terrible cooks. So he taught himself when he lived on his own. He was an accomplished chef by the time we met.

    Reply

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