Strong, independent, assertive and outspoken, they were interesting to admire from afar, but no man would ever dream of striking up a conversation with one. The pervading theory though, among expats and Japanese alike, was that Japanese men were in fact attracted to western women but were just too intimidated to do anything about it. They were straight-forward and open-minded, for one thing. I asked for help reading restaurant menus and subway signs. Not true for their Y-chromosome-carrying expat buddies though. But as wide-spread as the problem seemed to be, it was one that many women avoided talking about. While the female expats spent Saturday nights alone, crying into their Ramen bowls, their male counterparts drank freely from the dating pool like they owned it. For the most part, I was happy for them.
Even the socially awkward deserved to love and be loved. And through their Western, wire-rimmed eyes, they viewed relationships as an equal partnership, which was something the more traditional, close-minded of Japanese men still struggled to do. This would never happen anywhere else in the world. Not that I wished it otherwise. And very, very alone. They were straight-forward and open-minded, for one thing. They were true success stories. Not true for their Y-chromosome-carrying expat buddies though. All of them resembled the aging, stringy-haired members of the band Metallica. I asked for help reading restaurant menus and subway signs. And all of them were pressed up against the model-thin bodies of a heavily made-up Japanese Beauty Queen. It was hard to be a single, western woman in Japan. But as I realized a few weeks into my stay in Japan, I was also mysteriously, frustratingly invisible. But it was hard not to feel jealous. I inwardly congratulated myself for having beat the odds. Most days I felt unattractive, unwanted and worst of all, unfemale. I figured that so long as they treated their girlfriends well and both partners were happy with the arrangement, what did it matter if their peculiar quirks and bizarre comments got lost in translation a little? But they were the minority. Because everywhere else, Barbie ends up with Ken, not his underemployed, socially-awkward, samurai-sword-collecting neighbor, Kevin. This post may contain affiliate links. Strong, independent, assertive and outspoken, they were interesting to admire from afar, but no man would ever dream of striking up a conversation with one. Most western women came to Japan single and stayed that way. When not even a short skirt or slinky top attracted more than a passing glance and even construction workers, who could usually be counted on for a leer, regarded me with bored, blank expressions, I felt like a Martian. But as wide-spread as the problem seemed to be, it was one that many women avoided talking about. But in Asia, dating rules defy all logic or evolutionary law. Western women were so different, so foreign, they were virtually un-datable.
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