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There are hardly enough books depicting foreign women with Chinese boyfriends or husbands. When you have a Chinese husband or boyfriend, sometimes you feel as if you belong to a lonely club. One of my dearest e-mail friends, a woman from Germany, once found me on the net because she had a — then — Chinese boyfriend and yearned to find someone to share her experience with.

Off the top of my head, I can think of Rachel De Woskin’s Foreign Babes in Beijing: Behind the Scenes of a New China and Repeat After Me: A Novel, Nicole Mones’ Lost in Translation, and Pearl S. So I began to wonder — why are there so few Chinese guys and foreign girls becoming couples?

Average Chinese men tend not to earn big salaries in China, unless they are, for example, bosses, high-powered execs, or an in-demand talent.

Of course, some of it has its roots in the usual stereotypes — stereotypes in the Western World.

According to Sheridan Prasso’s book, The Asian Mystique: Dragon Ladies, Geisha Girls, & Our Fantasies of the Exotic Orient, Asian men in general have long been losers in the world of mainstream American media: If there are some admirable aspects of the portrayals of Asian women in Hollywood and on TV, it’s hard to say the same of the portrayals of Asian men.

Rarely have they been depicted with traditionally masculine traits.

With a few exceptions, Asian men on screen have been small, sneaky and threatening — or spineless, emasculated wimps, or incompetents who may well be technically proficient in martial arts, but impotent when faced with white man’s superior strength or firepower. Even today, Asian American men complain that action heroes such as Chow Yun Fat and Jackie Chan rarely get the girl.

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It’s true — the sight of a foreign woman and Chinese boyfriend or Chinese husband is much rarer than its counterpart, the foreign man and Chinese woman.

If you go to any major city in China, you will invariably run into the foreign man-Chinese woman pairings in any major tourist or shopping destination; not so with foreign women and Chinese men.

Generally, the pressure to split up comes from the family since, after all, in China, marriage is a family affair.