01 March 2010

Romantic Obstacle

Nothing demands as much intensity as our longing for romantic love. All too often we want to embark on a relationship depending not on the sophistication of mind or how many interests we share, but simply to strip ourselves of the habit of contemplating pages of diary full of evenings alone. But is it so hard to find someone who is able to shed light on us and fathom our soul? Are we not allowed a blind faith to locate a creature who can appreciate little things in us and after making love, exchange information with us in an infantile, affectionate language?

It is not an uncommon phenomenon in Hong Kong that women often complain good men are hard to find either for their ungentlemanly behaviour or their reluctance to take responsibility. Men of Hong Kong are living in a critical moment where patriarchal power is reduced and feminism is upheld. If women become less susceptible to criticism, it is perhaps because men had been in supreme power for too long. However much importance is attached to feminism, I fear it comes the time when attitudes of women should suffer analysis on equal terms.

The women of Hong Kong have been in the habit of finding pleasure in their love of conspiracy. If we happen to gaze and smile at a lady who displays much physical beauty, her intuitive reaction should be the most unpleasant. Encouraged by the feminist vision of sexual equality, rather than taking pride in her own physical candour, the lady considers the act of being treated as an object of beauty a potential shame. Assumptions are immediately made on the ground that men are brainwashed by the fantasy depicted in pornographic films.

If we wish to offer help to a charming lady who gets lost in a less urban area in Hong Kong, she may worry at length whether there is any hidden motive behind our act of showing her the direction.

The need of women to marvel at the reasons of men's suspected generosity, however, is not hard to understand. During lunch hour, it is not uncommon to hear a conversation from the table across about skilful prostitutes from mainland China. If we go over the browsing history on their computers, we should not be surprised to find out most of the minutes of their days are devoted to intensify their sexual lust. Little wonder why women find it hard to associate their gazing with artistic merits.

This mindset, however, equally deprives them of the chances to locate rare species of gentleman because they have fatally generalised all men in Hong Kong are of the type they usually run into during their lunch hours. Disappointed, men are denied even the slightest chance to approach them. But what is wrong with appreciating one's physical beauty even if our intention is sexually anchored? Is it not being considered an object of desire a compliment itself? Should we allow our superstitious faith that sexual motives must necessarily lead to bad consequences?

In order to remedy the inextricable relationship of men and women, the solution lies in a mutual agreement. The nature of a romantic relationship, like politics, aims at compromise and negotiation. Our hope in achieving perfection can only be realised by giving up some qualities of our own. For all I know, men of Hong Kong are full of vices. But what women demand from men invites us to the paradox which sexual equality is acknowledged while at the same time gentlemanly behaviours are celebrated which is deemed impossible without a modest degree of patriarchy. Before women revise faults of their own, our romantic ideal will not eliminate our cynical nature.



  1. nice piece! i do find need to be realistic in love rather than romantic after the education from my ex. I've learnt that it's not quite possible to talk about romantic or expecting a guy can be romantic after all....

  2. It is reasonable to expect men to be romantic. It's just that the definition of romance is different for men and women so women can't expect a man to be romantic in the way they would be. I find that savoring the little expressions of thoughtfulness goes a long way. An email to let you know how his day is going or a picture of a place where he's at and a note that he wishes you were there with him: very romantic gestures, perhaps even as much as a grand display.

    As far as women's reaction to being stared at, well I'm not a Hong Kong woman but I've visited Hong Kong and experienced it. There's a difference between subtle furtive glances (what I experience in the States) and shameless unrelenting stares. The longer a man stares at a woman the more she suspects that he's visualizing inappropriate things, which makes her feel debased rather than an object of desire. I think women in HK are so used to it that they consciously ignore it, which makes it less likely that men will change this behavior. So moral of the story: if HK men changed the way they looked at women, perhaps women will change the way they perceive it.

  3. true, sis! as a HK woman, I need to gather up the strength to ignore the stare. Otherwise, I'd be too intimidated to dress up at all, like many women here. If only I knew how women from other countries handle the situation!


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