Archive for the ‘Online Dating’ Tag

Sunday In Qingdao, China   3 comments

Now some people may ask why come to this part of China.  I mean other than being kind of China’s epicenter for most things that have to do with the sea, what would bring me here is the question that many people have asked.  Well, I traveled to Qingdao for two reasons.  The first, as I have admitted many times I am curious.  I am the proverbial curious cat.  I love off the beaten track places.  Once I heard the name of the city, saw the photos and read the description I wanted to go there.   Now the other reason is a little more complicated.

I had met Blessing online; on one of those international dating websites that cater to people who want to date and mate across cultures.  She was pretty, smart, a business woman, the right age and spoke English.  I remember thinking, Blessing – was that an omen or what?  Since our meeting, we trailed each other almost every day for months; emails, photos, disclosures about life and sharing our philosophies about living.  We talked on SKYPE, live chatted on msn and I found myself wanting to know – could one really fall in love with someone you only knew through your computer?  Yikes!!!!

The possibility of meeting Blessing only provided comfort to a decision that had already been made.  I had wanted to go to China for years, but never had the time.  No, never took the time to go.  My sister had gone last year.  Her visit made me want to go more.  After talking to my sister, who went last year, about the visa application process, we both used Travel Document Systems (TDS), which turned out to be an excellent service, I took to leap.  You send your passport, the China visa application form (available on the Chinese Embassy website) and the fee to TDS and they take care of the rest.

I must admit I was surprised when the Chinese embassy not only approved my visa application, but also gave me unlimited visits for a 12 month period.  Usually they only give applicants for tourist visas one or two visits during a 90 or at most 180 day window.  It made me wonder whether about Blessing’s name as someone I was going to visit had anything to do with it.  Her now deceased father had been a party official.  It also made me a little nervous.

But, as the time approached for me to depart for China, our conversations became increasingly distant.  Just the opposite of what I thought, and certainly wanted to happen.  The excitement of meeting for the first time; thoughts of spending time together; and all of the problem solving avoidance that can go with romance across cultures had drifted into a gulf that I felt was growing between us.  Our conversations were consumed by her family problems.  She was turning her business over to the people who worked for her.  Her life was being turned upside down and health problems followed.  All of which became the focal point of our conversations.

As my train arrived in Qingdao, I had no idea of whether I would see Blessing.  I came with hopes – I am optimistic that way.  But I did not let myself count on it.  I am also realistic that way.  I, along with what seemed to be a football stadium full of people escaped the train to climb a long steady incline though the station to the mass of people waiting, vending, and hanging out in the sunlight on the other side of the station’s doors.  I had arrived and nobody knew it.

English is spoken by a few people in China, mostly in the cities.  And that includes written English.  I caught a break arriving in Qingdao as the one of the guys who saw the look of “I am really confused” on my face helped me negotiate a taxi to my hotel.  We wrestled to put my oversized bag in this gasoline smelling old three wheel vehicle driven by one of the nicest people who I met on my trip to China.  She spoke no English but went out of her way to make sure that I knew I was in good hands, even if I was sure that her care was very safe.

After three days of no response from Blessing to my emails or calls, I wrote the following email to her.

“It is obvious that I will not see you this trip. I do want to thank you for introducing me to Qingdao.  I have had the most amazing day of my trip to your wonderful country.  I am just very sad that you were not here to share it with me.

Sincerely

Wayne           

I had just walked the boardwalk, as I had done several times before about 5 kilometers, perhaps hoping that this would be the day I would see Blessing there.  Qingdao possesses one of the most social beaches that I have been on in a long time.  Qingdao is a family city.  And though the city itself is about 9 million people, the beach and boardwalk on Sundays is a comfortable place to walk, eat, play, exercise and people watch.   As on this day, like all of the other days I walked the board walk, I was the only person that I saw that looked like me.  Not another man with chocolate-brown skin in sight.  Most ignored this minor oddity.  Many smiled. A few wanted to take pictures with me.  And some stopped to chat.  I had grown comfortable in Qingdao pretty quickly.  And Qingdao had grown comfortable with me.

But this day was different.  Sundays are wedding days in China.  And in Qingdao, for those that have little money to pay for the expensive rituals weddings have become in China, they come to the beach to rent wedding gowns of any and all fashion, tuxes or suites that make the man look like he could afford his new bride and many bring their wedding friends to dress according to the tradition of having many bridesmaids and groomsmen at one’s wedding.  And they bring photographers to capture their special day in poses that ranged from the traditional to romantic to, WHAT are you sure you want to do that.

There must have been thirty or forty couples on the beach that day.  As I strolled I saw women hiking their dresses, revealing the jeans they wore underneath, to get that photo that would be their memory of being together in fun and in love for years to come.  I walked past many couples that day, thinking these are memories in the making.  Their smiles, some exchanging happiness glances with me, were contagious.

My blessing was a different experience that the one I had planned n Qingdao.  Given the opportunity, I would return to Qingdao.  I got a chance to hangout in a few dance clubs, drink coffee at the Starbucks in a downtown plaza, visit a wonderful aquarium full of kids and sea life I had never seen before and eat fresh caught squid grilled on the beach.  And on that beautiful Sunday as I walked alone, I kept catching glimpses of what is possible when one takes a step of faith into possibility.  As you can see from the photos below, it was a day full of romance.  It was a day full of hope.  It was a day full of love.  It was a day full of joy.  It was a day for forgiveness.

Looking for Love Online: A Latin Woman’s Experience   Leave a comment

International online dating has exploded.  Cupid Media, itself, claims more than 20 million customers.  Yet there are few protections for users.  Savvy adventurers make promises and use economic disparity to their advantage.  Those with hopes that their lives will be made better by what they cannot find in their own country are left, often alone, to navigate the gulf between their dreams and reality.

In 2005, the United States government adopted The International Marriage Broker Regulation Act (Subtitle D of Title VIII (Sec.831-834) of United States Public Law 109-162),[1], or IMBRA, requiring background checks for all marriage visa sponsors and limits serial visa applications. The law also requires background checks for consenting adults who wish to communicate when using an international pen pal service. The impetus for its introduction was two cases (including the Susanna Blackwell case in 1995 and the Anastasia King case in 2000) in which foreign women had been abused and eventually murdered by men who had used a K-1 fiancée visa issued by the US State Department to bring them to the United States.

Yet, aside from obvious abusers, the online dating industry is immune from such regulation and interactions between users are whatever they deem these interactions to be.  Furthermore, there is neither a handbook nor orientation for managing differences in culture, education, morals, societal norms, religion, value systems, economic isparity or power imbalances.  Online dating has become a reality in relationship formation in today’s world.  The attached link continues the series “Looking For Love (or Whatever) In Latin America.” Mi amiga, I have removed her name, and I met online almost three years ago. Though we have actually never met we have had conversations, given each other advice and become social media friends. What follows is the translation of a discussion we had on her online dating experiences.

When did you start looking for a friend or boyfriend online?
Mi Amiga – Three years ago

What sites do you use?
Mi Amiga – ColombianCupid, LatinAmericanCupid, Cybercupido and La Casa Del Amor. But I am not active on the last two. I like LatinAmericaCupid the best because I have found very good friends on that site. But I have not found my true love.

What advice would you give others that want to look for love or friends online?
Mi Amiga: I would say that there are many things to look out for. There are many men just looking for sex and many women looking for easy money. There are not many people that are looking for real love. It is a place where many people are looking to satisfy their own interests. Sometimes you will find ugly men, without taste, without teeth but they send money. And that is what is important.

Tell me about some of your experiences meeting or talking to men online
Mi Amiga: The first person I met on LatinAmericanCupid we talked all day and at night for three months. Later he came to visit me. But he was not just here (in Colombia) to visit me. He had plans to travel to various cities. Medellin, Santa Marta and Barranquilla but first he came to Cali. We were very happy. We went out to dinner and to have sex in his hotel. But later I saw what he had, in his suitcase, lots of condoms (she laughs at this point). It was obvious that he was not going to use all of them with me. He was here for five days. Always with me! I thought that all was progressing well. The last day, at the airport, he said that I was not going to be the woman he was looking for. He said thanks for the attention but that he was going to continue looking…. I have not heard anything more from him.

Another guy I met, we talked every day. He is a nice guy but he has some self-esteem problems. He is fat. He asked me to marry him (she had not met him face to face) and I had hopes. But he likes to have his woman under lock and key, behind closed doors. We talked more. He told me that he had problems driving because of the pain he often felt in his head. I felt afraid to continue. So I preferred to not talk with him further. In reality online many offer marriage. Because of this I don’t believe nothing or in anyone. But Wayne this was a serious situation. He bought bicycles for my sons. He said that I would have no money problems (if I married him). He would send me money. He would get me a Visa. I would have a house in my name and I would have no problems. But these things they have prices.

I also met an ex-baseball player. Very famous in Baltimore. He played for the Orioles. He said every minute that he loved me. All of his family knew me. He would call and I would talk with his sister, mother and his child. We talked liked this for seven beautiful months. I changed many things in my life during this time. I only had time for him. I did not talk with any of my friends. No men. I did not go out. I did not connect to my Hotmail. I would only talk on Skype with him. If he called at 3:00 a.m. to say I love you I would enter MSN to talk with him. I loved him a lot. And my sons and parents were also happy for me. He came to Cali to visit me. We met happily at the airport. We kissed a lot. He came to my house first to say hello to my family. His kisses were beautiful. He said he wanted to make love a lot with me. I was planning this before. So we went to his hotel. And nothing happened. I do not know why. He could not do anything (get it up). Later he apologized because he is gay. Later he disappeared and changed his hotel. Later i saw him in the mal with other women. A friend of mine, that knows him, had told me that he had another woman in Brazil. And the same thing happened to her. He could not make love to he either. So, I confronted him about this. And he said yes, it is true. So, here I am with this tall well-built former baseball player that could not make love. Caramba, at least he did not lie to me.

I also met a guy from Cuba on ColombianCupid. He was a very good friend. I could tell him my problems and he would always want to help. But later he said that he wanted to have sex on the internet. He wanted me to show him my breasts. And he wanted me to masturbate for him. He would always call for me to do this. Then I said no, I did not want him to be my friend anymore (she laughs).

The last guy on the list came to Cali. I also met him on Colombia Cupid. He has business here. Over the past three years we only talked a little. He would always talk about his children. But for my birthday he was here and invited me to go to dinner. Later we went to a disco. We spent three days together. We went to dinner, lunch and to walk ne the malls. On his last day here we had sex. It was delicious (she laughs). We continued talking afterwards. But later he started to tell me about his desires to experiment with some things with me. He said he would give me money if I would have anal sex with him. I will not do that. I told him I was not a prostitute. He is very handsome. A gentleman. Very intelligent. But he is not a man to make commitments. He did not want to have a serious relationship.

Sometimes do you have sex on camera for men? Masturbate or show yourself naked?
Mi amiga: Yes, various times. With the guy from Cuba and with a guy from California.

How do you feel when you have sex for others on camera?
Mi Amiga: Very nice. There are times that I have done it without effort. With pleasure for the person that was watching. I like to feel desired. I like to feel that another is attracted to me.

Do you have more that you want to say?
Mi Amiga: Yes, this is an experience. I have not been online in a while. I have not found anyone important to me. Now I have a beautiful relationship with a much older man that worries about me. He lives here. He is interested in my life and makes me laugh. I hope whatever I have said helps.

Posted September 19, 2011 by Wayne in Uncategorized

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