Archive for October 30th, 2016

Of Tigers and Feathers – Day 66

Further adventures in the land of OkCupid. Because why not?

A message I received:

Ni hao ma Ekatje,

I live in Los Angeles, California, USA. I was inspired to write to you because you seem to be a happy, compassionate and educated woman. I would love to learn more about you. Care to tell me some things that are not in your profile? I invite you to visit my profile. Is there anything more you would like to know about me?

Wo men zai liao ^^

My name is [redacted]. What is your Chinese name?

ps: my Mandarin is very simple. I would like to learn more from you to show you respect.

I found the message baffling, to be honest. Simply, confusing.

My entire profile is in English. I flatter myself that it’s in proper English, with no indications that I would find it difficult to navigate in the language and would be more comfortable using Chinese. Rather, I don’t understand in which ways he thinks learning Mandarin from me would be showing me respect.

Respect for my perceived culture? Respect, again, for my comfort should this go somewhere? Respect for my potential wishes involving possibly future children being brought up with my language? I don’t even know. Genuinely at a loss.

The Pinyin for “ni hao ma” and “wo men zai liao” – why use Pinyin? Chinese is a language of endless homophones, so we’d run into problems even if he had indicated accents, but those are without accent marks. Why not simply copy and paste Chinese from Google into the message box if we wish to communicate in Chinese? Sure, I am pretty sure I know what he’s trying to communicate because I have some grasp of the language, but… in a way it’s like netspeak, except much much worse.

I’m not so much nit-picking at a perceived lack of effort as – if he wants to know my Chinese name, which incidentally is something that I haven’t really used much in the last thirty odd years, then it’s senseless for me to give it to him if he’s going to use Pinyin for it. My name is specific, with particular characters that have meaning. Calling me Chen Yingcheng is just going to make me cranky for all the reasons that I found it irritating when my friends used to insist on calling me Ting. 陳映澄 is my name. Chen Yingcheng isn’t, no matter that it might be the Romanization on my passport. Which I still don’t have, funnily enough.

And yes, I’d give it to him with family name first, because if I’m giving you my “Chinese name”, by golly you might as well use it properly.

For those who want to play devil’s advocate – he could have simply asked me my name rather than specifying my Chinese name. There’s an assumption there that I don’t understand.

This possibly might be nit-picking – I have stuff in my profile. Why not simply talk to me about stuff I’ve put out there that presumably I want people to engage with? Why ask for more things that I haven’t put on the profile before striking up a rapport? It smells a little of entitlement, although I will admit to possibly being cranky over the weirdness with the Chinese.


People I want to talk to don’t want to talk to me. People message me who I don’t particularly want to engage with. All the weirdness happens here because online dating is truly strange.

Day 66, y’all.