Why are Taiwan men so friendly to me?

Dear MeiGui;

Taiwan people are great! I am a newbie here hailing from the U.S. heartland; and although I speak no Chinese whatsoever, I’m having the time of my life making new friends both with my Western colleagues and the local people. Now, I realize that I am probably riding the high point of the cultural shock curve as I have never before traveled abroad; well, my former husband and I did take the kids camping in Canada once, but that doesn’t really count as it’s more like crossing a state line with border guards; however the openness of this society astounds me.

What I really can’t believe is the number of local men asking me out on dates.

Every time I encounter a Taiwan man who is able to speak English, the first thing he does is to ask me out for lunch, dinner or a snack. For example, yesterday afternoon I was late for work, so I hailed a cab. As soon as I got into the cab, the driver asked me if I had already eaten lunch. As a matter of fact, I hadn’t because I had been in such a rush to get to work. When I told him that I still hadn’t eaten, he suggested eating at a beef noodle restaurant near the English school where I work. I really did want to accompany him for lunch, but as I was running late, I couldn’t.

Furthermore, yesterday was not the first occurrence of this kind. It happens on buses, in markets, at the park — everywhere. Each time I accept the invitation, the local man nervously obliges me. However, even though I do give out my telephone number on these dates, I have yet to receive a call back. I guess Taiwan men are more timid than U.S. men.

Why do you think these men aren’t calling back? — Midwest Mom

Dear Midwest Mom;

The question, “Have you eaten?”

is just a standard greeting in the Chinese language. These men were probably quite shocked that you actually expected to go out with them to eat. But you go girl! Sooner or later, I’m sure you’ll get a call-back. — The things people do for face, MeiGui

Dear MeiGui;

Perhaps, this has nothing to do with my love problems; or maybe it has everything to do with them. I’m really not sure, so I’m asking you.

I recently reviewed the “You Know You’ve Been in Taiwan Too Long” giant list on the Internet; and out of the 132 statements, I could only deny 16; on the condition that the word “motorcycle” be replaced by the word “bicycle.”

I don’t like motorcycles anymore, because the police now really consider driving under the influence an offense; plus a crazy old man in my neighborhood gave me an old mountain bike for free. And in the interest of current updates, I would have to change “Everything you own is pirated” to “Everything you own comes from the RT-Mart.” I could even relate to the “picking nose” thing; and as for the statement about best friends back home, I don’t have any left. How scary is this?

Still, I am single. What’s happened to me? — Culturally Lost

Dear Culturally Lost;

I could only deny five of those statements, and I’m single, too. Frightening, isn’t it? — Be careful ‘not’ to go home, MeiGui