Wednesday, August 23, 2006

ah, America

There is a 22-year-old Chinese engineer Lu on my basketball team. He is going to college in China (清华), and here in California for an internship. He wants to learn more about the culture in the States, and I like hearing about how things are in China, so sometimes we talk about the differences.

One day, Lu asked me how people date in America. I gave him a rundown of the typical stages, from meeting to exchanging contact info to dates to relationship.

Me: ... So at some point after you've gone on some dates, you have a talk about whether you're exclusive.

Lu: Oh, in China, it is assumed that if you go out two or three times by yourselves, then you implicitly agree to be exclusive.

Me: Yeah, in the US you usually have to state it explicitly.

Lu: Is that also when you say "I love you" to each other?

Me: No!!!!!! That usually happens much later. Often months later.

Lu: Oh. In China it happens early on. Actually, we say "I love you" in English quickly, but "我爱你” ("I love you" in Chinese) later.

Me: Huh.

Lu: American dating is so much fun! One needn't have too much pressure hanging out and making out. In China the fifth time you date a girl, you'll probably have to ask her to be your girlfriend.

Me: In the US you can just have fuck buddies. If you're into that.

Lu: What is that?

Me: From urbandictionary,

7. a special friend that you fuck.
Example: "would you like to be my fuck buddy?"

Lu: I see.

[ ... much later in the conversation ... ]

Lu: btw in USA is it polite to ask a girl you meet to be your fuck buddy, according to the example sentence in urban dictionary?


Anonymous said...

"much later in the conversation".. it sounded that he still remembered fuck buddies.

Anonymous said...

I think young, immature men particularly enjoy the concept of "fuck buddy". Thankfully, over time morally mature women have refuted the concept and this has helped to maintain some semblance of virtue in society. This notion of virtue or morality has nothing to do with religion or religiosity.

Your blog today is instructive and revelatory. I've learned that even in China, an atheistic country, (and I myself am non-religious)there is behavior which can be called virtuous. And like everywhere where virtue exists, women are the gatekeepers of it. In contrast, this notion of "fuck buddy" is a very libertine, egocentric, and morally corrosive concept, and a direct assault on the virtuous notions in your intern friend.

For a woman who routinely chooses the role of "fuck buddy" for herself in a relationship, what does this say about her self worth? What virtue is left to be found or discovered in such a woman? What allure, what mystery does she hold for a mature, moral man--or a man seeking a serious relationship with a virtuous woman? I would invite you to go read or re-read Doestoevsky, who makes some of the most elegant philosphical arguments against the type of egoism and moral relativism that has led you down this fuck buddy path. (Begin with "Notes from the Underground" and then Crime and Punishment and "Brothers K." I think you will get more out of it than when you read these books as a teen.)

Boys want one type of woman to be their fuck buddy, and men want another type of woman to be their wife and mother to their children. What mature man wants to marry a woman, who will also be the mother of his children, who has no virtue? What moral lessons can she possibly instill them? It is a mark of maturity in men to understand this. Some boys figure this out when they are 16, others not until 35, some never so long as they can assure themselves an perpetual supply of willing, virtueless women. It is women who control the supply.

Of the two characters in your blog today, the irony is that the young male intern from an atheistic and communist state is ultimately, though the innocent lamb, the more virtuous. And this is as he tells us and we find out,because the women in his society have insisted upon a moral social contract which he must respect if he has any hope of getting through the gates. If he had access to a willing supply of "fuck buddies", would he have reacted with such surprise to your comment? Would he have as much respect for the women and the social contract in his own society,as is evidenced from your conversation? I hope he resists your corruptive influence. Women have, as they have always had, the power. The power to command respect, and the ultimate power to define and preserve what is virtuous in society.

Or you can just give it away whenever it feels good.

Which type of woman do you want to be?

Anonymous said...

A cute boy.

ben said...

Man, the anonymous philosopher who left the comment questioning female morality is a sexist jerk. If a woman wants to be someone's "fuck buddy" it is no more or less moral than if a man chooses to do so. Its incorrect to assume that every woman wants to be a moral, virtuous and dutiful wife. Furthermore, the idea of sexual promiscuity as immoral is completely cultural and relative...which I believe was somewhat Niniane's point in demonstrating the differences between Chinese and American culture. Mr. Anonymous (I'm going to assume its a Mr. as its usually men who condemn women for immorality when sex is involved) may subscribe to one set of morals, but that doesn't make them THE set of morals. Immorality comes from ignoring one's own morals, not someone else's.

Anonymous said...

I am a woman who considers herself a feminist and I agree with a lot that anonymous 8/23/2006 11:42 AM said. The analysis of "fuck buddy" is correct. Being somebody's "fuck buddy" means relinquishing self-respect and it means giving full control to a man only to become a sexual plaything.

The idea of having a "fuck buddy" is reprehensible to me personally.

Ben is missing the point.

Anonymous said...

我同以他说的, 的确啊. 你喜欢没美式还是中式啊?

ben said...

at what point does being a "fuck buddy" imply that the woman is giving full control to the man? is it because of the traditional stereotype that men like sex and women don't? isn't that sexist? if two people want to have sex and not be in a committed relationship, why is that naturally worse for the woman? why do we need to impose this double standard of morality on women?

and am i really missing the point when you have to qualify that the idea is reprehensible to you personally? i mean, if you could give me some sort of neutral reason why it has a negative impact on women that doesn't have anything to do with your personal morals, i'd be interested. otherwise, you're just judging people who differ from you.

ben said...

by the way, maybe i should qualify my own statements by saying that i'm not personally a fan of the fuck buddy concept and have no desire to be in that sort of relationship as i have learned that it is not right for me. that said, i believe people should not impose their own morals on others and therefor am able to rationally defend the concept without confusing my own personal feelings on the matter. if a man and a woman, or a man and a man or a woman and a woman decides to have sex, there is nothing inherently moral or immoral about that. just as there is nothing moral or immoral about breathing or drinking water.

i can't believe we live in 21st century america and people still find the need to impose their beliefs and judgment on people who's actions do not impact them in the slightest.

Anonymous said...

>i can't believe we live in 21st century >america and people still find the need to >impose their beliefs and judgment on people >who's actions do not impact them in the >slightest.

First, it is the modern american that relentlessly impose democracy idea all over the world, many of whose long term cultures do not fit into the american ideology at all. Why is it hard to believe?

Second, promiscuity is by any mean immoral by today's standard. Check Bible, wikipedia, or whatever moral books you may find. You may oppose it, then you are not only statistically the minority of our society, but the wrong belief holder de facto.

Third, if something is moral/immoral, one has the absolute right to impose the idea on others. Otherwise he will see his children growing up in a weird way and his friend living a weird life. What is morality for? "The reward of living morally is individual flourishing", which is happiness. (A Study of Life as the Root and Reward of Morality. By Tara Smith). If you are denying the morality of the society, you are destroying the stability of the carefully built social criteria of happiness.

-- another Mr.Anonymous

Anonymous said...

at what point does being a "fuck buddy" imply that the woman is giving full control to the man? is it because of the traditional stereotype that men like sex and women don't?

The act of having sex represents a loss of control. More so for a woman then a man because she risks getting pregnant and statistically will catch any std much easier then a man. Sure we have contraception and protection however there is always that risk and women stand to lose more then men from having sex. This has nothing to do with not liking sex.

Also emotionally women are more likely to bond with a man after sex then men with women. This may have something to do with the fact that women have greater quantities of oxytocin then men.

So both emotionally and physically the woman is the loser when having promiscuous sex.

And no I am in no way implying that I wish to dictate what others do. These are my beliefs and I would advise my friends accordingly but I do not wish to meddle in other's personal business unless they ask my opinion, nor would I prematurely judge someone.

ben said...

hmm...well, i apologize sincerely to niniane for turning this thread into an argument...

as for the other mr. anonymous' comments. actually, the definition of promiscuity is to not restrict something to one class, sort or person. the bible may provide moral judgment on it, but that makes it no more factual than a man rising from the dead, converting water into wine and an arc housing 2 of every animal specimen on earth.

wikipedia has this to say about promiscuity: "What is considered socially acceptable sexual behavior, and what behavior is regarded as "promiscuous", vary widely among different cultures."

as for your right to impose morality on others, im going to have to disagree. it may be different in eastern nations, but in the US as well as most western nations, morality is a personal concept and not something that should be imposed on others.

as for your concerns over america imposing democracy on nations whose cultures do not fit into that paradigm, i whole heartedly agree with you. the policies of the united states that attempt this are wrong and should be stopped. yes, i just criticized my government...something that is considered morally reprehensible in other places.

its not my intent to imply some sort of american superiority or to suggest that i favor a society of degenerates. i merely take issue with the condemning of people's actions based on one's own private morals and the further perpetuation of sexist stereotypes that say it is far worse for a woman to enjoy a sexually promiscuous lifestyle than for a man to do so.

i feel like there is a war going on in the world today between people trying to live their lives and people who feel it necessary that everyone live their lives in the manner that they themselves do. this is apparent in america with our conservative christian republican party attempting to legislate morality. its present with followers of militant islam who wish to irradiate infidels who do not comply with their strict ways of life. i take issue with the moral judgment because of this. because i believe, in this world, it is your right to live how you wish to live unless you are hurting someone else.

**steps off of the soapbox**

Anonymous said...

The first "philosopher" errs on many accounts. Many of the traits that are considered virtues impact other people- thoughtfulness, politeness, and compassion, for example. But if two people agree to have a noncomitted sexual relationship, no one is hurt. What, then, is so immoral or unvirtuous about sexual promiscuity? Moderation may be a virtue, but why is sexual immoderation, rather than gluttony or materialism, specifically condemned? I know the historical reason for this- it boils down to the fact that in the past, there was no reliable birth control- but there is no justification for it now.

Also, your statement that women are the gatekeepers of sexual access and that they have "always had the power" is wrong. In many cultures, women are so totally hidden away and controlled that men are the gatekeepers- pimp to client; fathers to sons-in-law. What women have today in our society- the same power that men have, to choose potential sexual partners and to refuse or accept- is good, but it is a historical anomaly.

I'd also like to comment on "respect." There are many examples of cultures where women are not as promiscuous. Most of them have much less respect for women. When women are not free to make the same choices as men, they have no basis on which to make themselves respected. Similarly, when the "right" choice (abstinence and chastity, in this case) is so contrary to nature, so many women are going to be set up for failure- how can they be respected, then?

This issue of women "giving something away" when having sex is an interesting one too. It's clearly a metaphor, but for what? Virtue? Only if having sex is not virtuous. Respect? Only if having sex is inherently degrading. And why is sex only non-virtuous and degrading for women? It might be true that more men than women like casual sex and are able to have fuck buddies without getting attached to them. But it's clearly not true that all the women who do these things are somehow duped into them. If that's what you think, you think there are a lot of stupid women in the world.

Finally, I'd like to take issue with his implication that Niniane is a "corruptive influence." He asked about dating in the US, and she answered honestly. It's not her fault that he wants to know how to obtain a fuck buddy. And besides, even if she were sleeping around with a strange men every night, it doesn't change the fact that she's brilliant and millions of people use software she's written and so you should respect her anyway.

Anonymous said...

What an amusing thread. Why is it that a woman can not enjoy sex as much as a man? There are plenty of women who take the physical act for what it is and do not anything more than that. That doesn't make them weak, immoral, lacking self-respect or giving control. Shame on those that think so.

Anonymous said...

What to blame when it was only a good chat between friends?
N is candid while her young friend is just innocent to a different culture.

Moral codes vary from place to place, person to person, time to time.

But the debate is really classic.

Anonymous said...

ya r all missin da point.

dis story is for introduction of a cool asian friend of her (see da pic?) 'n a funny joke about cultural difference.


kim said...

hmm, i wonder what his NEXT question will be? ha ha :)

Anonymous said...

And besides, even if she were sleeping around with a strange men every night, it doesn't change the fact that she's brilliant and millions of people use software she's written and so you should respect her anyway.


chinadoll said...

lu looks underage

KE Liew said...

It's funny how most developing countries learning attitude is so full of excitement of western cultures. :)

That aside, I sometime wish some would know that point of reference is very much important in any discussion. And from what I notice, none of them have a solid unchanging and absolute point of reference that stands upright. Some may say there isn't one, I say, there is one.

aburton1a said...

Everyone single should not live a celibate life. go find yourself a Fuck Buddy - Its easier than you think!!

Fuck Buddy

Anonymous said...

Haha v true indeed!!

Anonymous said...

Whether mall or female, anyone that gets around sexually is a slut. Being a slut simply means you have no self respect or morality or standards. You are simply cheap, easy and loose. You can say in America morality is subjective, but in reality we have many moral codes, such as not to steal or kill. The law itself is the imposition of a moral code; we prosecute murder while in other cultures murder may be acceptable. Moral subjectivity is a myth because if it was real, it would be universally applicable; not just applicable to some cases like killing or stealing. Sexual promiscuity is exemplary of the moral decay of modern America, bringing with it increased stds, bastard children, messed up children and broken homes; which of course brings about other problems like increased crime and welfare. You can say sexual promiscuity is simply the enjoyment of sex; but most people simply have sex in order to be accepted and fit in (peer pressure) and because they see it on tv and being the "thing to do." After all, their idols do it so it must be right. Sexual education reinforces this moral degradation by essentially telling kids to "get over your hang ups" and "go do it."

Anonymous said...

I have read this thread and have something to add.
I am a male.
Due to talk of women retaining their "virtue", maintaining morality and religious guidance, I remained a virgin until I was 29 years old, because I thought women would appreciate that kind of self-control and respect toward them.
Yes, I was born in the USA and I am caucasian.
I eventually came to realize that by abstaining from sex, that I was abstaining from true emotional intimacy and preventing romantic relationships from developing - relationships that could have turned into marriage. And NO the women, for the most part, did not appreciate my restraint in abstaining from sex. I found it often frustrated them and they would move on to some other man, even if they said it was "sweet" that I was a virgin.
Also, from listening to hundreds of friends' and acquaintances' relationship stories through the years and how they found their spouse/true love, I have come to realize that there is NO one way to find love and happiness. There are some people who agreed to have sex without commitments, which is essentially a "fuck buddy", but they ended up finding that they really cared for each other deeply, and eventually married.
And, if you think about it, when a relationship enters the sexual stage, it really is just a form of a "fuck buddy", because at that point, even if waiting until marriage, there is that transition from "romantic interest/friend" to "sexual lover".
Anyway, the "virute" of women and the degradation of sex is often overstated in American society.
People in the US have a unbalanced view of sex for the most part (again I'm born and raised in the US). Sex is a beautiful thing that is part of life's journey and should not be treated like it's a heavy weight on our backs that we carry out of duty and can only engage in after a series of contractual agreements of commitment and serious negotiations are agreed upon. Sex is intended to be an enjoyable and fun experience. It is just that sex should be engaged in conscientiously, selectively and in moderation.
A "fuck buddy" can be a beautiful, inspiring and positive experience when the 2 people are open about their intentions and feelings - but this is true of any relationship. Alternatively, married / relationship sex can be an ugly, deflating and negative experience. Sex in and of itself is not ugly. It is the nature of the relationship, and the communication and the compassion/understanding in that relationship, whether "fuck buddy" or married, that ultimately makes the experience positive or negative. One step into understanding is not to be so quick to label everything. But, I've said my piece. I just wanted to give my view, and don't believe this post will change anyone's opinions.
I'll just say once more that I went the celibate route and carried the serious notions of sex until I was 29 years old. Just have fun, be considerate of others and enjoy life.