While respondents praised Chinese men for certain qualities -- "looking after one's family," "willing to spend money on women," and "relatively serious about relationships between men and women" -- the admiration ended there.
Negative impressions ultimately dominated as the women criticized Chinese men as "not so gentlemanly," "poor physique, not enough exercise," "no personality, lacking unique opinions," even condemning them on perceived personal hygiene problems.
Back in 2010, I discovered a post on a now-defunct blog authored by expats in Shanghai.
The post was written by a white American woman based in Shanghai and titled, "So, how's the dating scene?
Whether in forums or blogs, the negative online discourse about Chinese men is consistent with Psychologist Zhang Jiehai's findings from surveys on "Chinese Men in the Eyes of Western Women" as reported by China's Xinhua News Agency in 2010 (I provided an English translation on my blog).
This Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences professor surveyed over 100 Western women from diverse countries including France, Germany and the USA via questionnaires, and then interviewed over 20 of them in a focus group in Shanghai.
" The photo leading off the post was a still from the 1980s American movie featuring Long Duk Dong, considered one of Hollywood's most offensive Asian male stereotypes.
My heart melted at that first sight of his big sesame-oil brown eyes.
"Whenever I arrive at the airport in America, the first thing I notice is our men, how handsome and how tall they are," one of my white female colleagues mentioned over lunch.
"I'll just stare at them for hours, as if I was Chinese and had never seen a foreign man before in my life." At least that woman wasn't as blunt as another colleague, who used to bicycle with me through the streets of Zhengzhou.
One American participant in the study actually blamed Hollywood for projecting a poor image of Chinese men around the world, and I couldn't help but wonder if she was thinking of at the time.
Zhang's findings -- that Western women from around the world have consistently pejorative ideas about Chinese men -- remind me this isn't a problem confined to some insular expat circles in China.