‘I love you’. Just three words. But three words some typical Asians like those of Chinese heritage find hard to say out loud when it comes to dating and romantic relationships.

我爱你,只有三个字。但当谈到约会和恋爱关系时,一些传统的亚洲人,比如中国血统的亚洲人,却很难大声说出这三个字。

There’s this common stereotype: Asians are reserved about expressing romantic sentiments towards each other. In a progressive world where traditional and modern perspectives collide, sometimes this is still true, and sometimes not.

有一种常见的刻板印象:亚洲人对彼此表达浪漫感情比较保守。在一个传统观点和现代观点相互冲突的进步世界里,有时这是正确的,有时则不是。


Providing by way of giving and protecting is commonly how stereotypical Asians show love. Love involves practicality, and a touch of materiality to impress: building up comfortable surrounds by providing food on the table, a roof over heads and clothes on the back. While the One Child Policy in China has been phased out, it has resulted in many more males than females in the country. Many Chinese men are inclined to save and own flashy cars and prime accommodation to catch the eye of potential, highly sought after female companions and settle down, in a time where hierarchical Asian family values still exist.

通过给予和保护的方式来表达爱通常是典型的亚洲人表达爱的方式。它包含了实用性和物质性:通过提供餐桌上的食物,头上的屋顶和身上的衣服来营造舒适的环境。中国的男性比女性多不少,许多中国男人倾向于储蓄和拥有豪华轿车和高档住房,以吸引潜在的目光,追求女性伴侣,然后在这个亚洲家庭价值观仍存在的时代安定下来。


For stereotypical Asians, saying I love you entails being physically apart, geographically distant. A lack of physical presence doesn’t mean a lack of presence in a relationship. Research from the University of New York shows Chinese couples frequently ‘live apart together’ in long distance relationships: frequently a parent works outstation where the dough is to raise a parachute family and younger couples willingly live apart to give each other space.

对于典型的亚洲人来说,说我爱你的时候往往意味着两地分离,地理上的遥远。不过无法共同生活并不意味着在一段关系中缺乏存在感。纽约大学的一项研究表明,中国夫妇经常远距离分居,努力赚钱建立一个“降落伞式家庭”,而年轻夫妇也愿意分开住,以便给彼此空间。


Though I’ve never heard my Chinese-Malaysian parents say ‘I love you’ to each other, I’ve never had a problem with anyone saying the phrase to each other. I’m not that liberal with the phrase out loud myself. Probably nothing to do with how I was brought up. As a shy person with social anxiety, making the first move on anyone is a no-no for me.

我从来没有听到我的马来西亚华人父母对彼此说“我爱你”,我自己也不太喜欢大声说出这句话。也许和我的成长环境有关系。作为一个有社交焦虑症的害羞的人,主动出击对我来说是一种禁忌。

And so love is a feeling for many typical Asians, and the essence of ‘I love you’ starts off with an emotional connection, less so physical affection. in the mid 20th century, sex was seen as a tool for procreation, sexless military dress-sense advocated and adultery punished in the midst of women becoming victims of sexual violence. Today discipline is still common in conservative (Confucian) Chinese families: conventional order of family is highly valued while sex education is swept under the rug, and passionate physical intimacy and public display of affection are seen as immoral.

对于许多典型的亚洲人来说,爱是一种感觉,“我爱你”的本质始于情感上的联系,而不是身体上的感情。在20世纪中叶,提倡中性的军人着装,性只被视为生育的工具。今天,在中国传统的家庭教育中,传统的家庭秩序被高度重视,而性教育仍被掩盖,激情的身体亲密行为和公开场合亲热被视为不道德。


I love physical intimacy. To an extent. Once I had a three-hour sushi dinner with an Asian guy; we’d hung out with a couple of times previously. After the meal, he walked me home. I said I was freezing that winter night. He grabbed my hand. I gripped back. He pulled me close, our bodies pressed together. When we reached my place, we stood face-to-face. Our noses almost touched. But ever the slightest bit, with certainty I backed away. Nope, no kiss.

在某种程度上,我喜欢身体上的亲密接触。有一次,我和一个亚洲人共进了三个小时的寿司晚餐,之前我们还一起出去玩过几次。饭后,他送我回家。我说很冷,他抓住了我的手。我后退了一步,他把我拉近,我们的身体紧紧地贴在一起。当我们到达我的住处时,我们面对面站着。我们的鼻子几乎碰到了一起,就差那么一点点。我往后退了一步,没有和他亲吻。


Sometimes it’s hard to tell if someone loves you as the person whom you are. It’s one thing to say to someone you love them, and another to show you’re not just lusting after them. Sometimes after a few dates with Western male expats, Chinese girls start talking about marriage and planning their futures with them. Unless you feel you’ve met the love of your life, it’s confronting to have intimate conversations with a stranger.

有时候,很难判断一个人是否真正爱你。对某人说你爱他/她是一回事,向他/她表明你不只是对他/她有欲望是另一回事。有时候,在和西方男性外国人约会几次之后,中国女孩开始和他们谈论婚姻和规划未来。不过除非你觉得你遇到了生命中的真爱,否则与陌生人进行亲密对话是一种挑战。

This begs the question: what is love? Love is complex. Love is the big things together like lavish candle-lit dinners, holiday getaways, jewellery gifts. Love is the small things together like taking out the garbage, sitting together after a long day. Love is the unspoken routines between each other, and the petty disagreements too. Love is what it is when we agree, and more so when we disagree with each other and move along together. Each relationship is different; saying I love you is different in each relationship.

这就引出了一个问题:什么是爱?爱情是复杂的。爱是一件重要的东西,比如奢华的烛光晚餐,节日出游,珠宝礼物。爱也许就是一起做一些小事,比如倒垃圾,在漫长的一天里坐在一起。爱是彼此之间不言而喻的默契,也是琐碎的分歧。当我们意见一致时,爱就在这里,当我们意见不一致时,爱更在这里。每段关系都是不同的,在每段感情中说“我爱你”也是不同的。

In this modern multicultural world, there are heterosexual couples, mixed race couples, varying age-gap couples, same-sex couples, long distance couples, and so on. same-sex love is still characterised by invisibility in most of Asia where traditional society norms dominate the status quo. For some Asians, saying ‘I love you’ is a private affair more than ever and consequently, love and ‘I love you’ knows no boundaries. As Oscar Wilde said on truly loving someone:‘You don’t love someone for their looks, or their clothes, or for their fancy car, but because they sing a song only you can hear.’

在这个多元文化的现代世界里,有异性伴侣,混血伴侣,不同年龄段的伴侣,同性伴侣,异地恋伴侣等等。在亚洲大部分地区,同性恋仍是禁忌,传统的社会规范主导着现状。对于一些亚洲人来说,说“我爱你”在任何时候都是件私密的事,因此,爱和“我爱你”是没有界限的。就像奥斯卡.王尔德在《真爱一人》中所说:“你爱一个人不是因为他的外表,他的衣着,或他的豪车,而是因为他唱的歌只有你能听到。”

More times than I can count, guys wink at me in the middle of conversations, in social circles and especially at the many corporate offices where I’ve worked. A wink is silent, an ever-guessing message. It could be a sexually suggestive sign, flirting, a greeting, an affirmation, a sign of sexism, a combination of it all, anything. Not that I mind being winked at. some winks turned into meals together and good company.

在社交圈里,尤其是在我工作过的许多公司办公室里,男人们在谈话中向我眨眼的次数多得数不清。眨眼是无声的,是需要不断猜测的信息。它可以是性暗示的信号,调情,问候,肯定,性别歧视的标志,是这些中之一,也可能是其他任何东西。我并不介意别人对我眨眼。一些向我眨眼的人变成了可以一起吃饭的伙伴。

In general, you can date multiple people at once before committing to a committed relationship with someone. For many younger generations Asians today, love and saying ‘I love you’ is a fluid game. Dating shows in China attract millions of viewers, shows where women make demands from potential male suitors and men taking their picks from bevies of girls to find their match. Dating apps such as Tinder, QQ, Momo and Tandan give one the possibility of finding their match or a ‘quickie’ literally right now in China.

一般来说,你可以同时与很多人约会,然后再和某人确定恋爱关系。对今天的许多年轻一代来说,爱和说“我爱你”是一个不固定的游戏。中国的相亲节目吸引了数以百万计的观众,节目中女性向潜在的男性追求者提出要求,男性则从众多女孩中挑选合适的对象。现在在中国,像Tinder、QQ、陌陌和探探这样的交友应用程序,让人们有机会找到自己的另一半或进行“速配”。

The smallest moments between each other speak the loudest love.it’s the subtle moments between us that matter and knowing true love is more than just a good fuck. Moments like that random hug whilst walking down a busy street. When we tell each other off because one of us is really being crazy or an idiot or a crazy idiot. When we pick up the phone anytime and text each other that ‘wtf’ moment going on our end. Just being ourselves with each other, speaking and acting our minds. Knowing we got each other’s back. As author E.A. Bucchianeri said on presenting each other our deepest sides: ‘Love is supposed to be based on trust, and trust on love, it’s something rare and beautiful when people can confide in each other without fearing what the other person will think.’

彼此之间最细微的时刻,最能表达出最大的爱;重要的是知道真爱不仅仅是一次美好的性爱。当漫步在繁忙的街道上随意拥抱,当我们互相责备对方,因为我们中的一个真的疯了或其中一个是白痴,当我们随时拿起电话,互相发短信,那个“wtf”的时刻就要到来了。做我们自己,说出我们的想法。让彼此知道我们都在互相支持。正如作家 布奇纳里在向对方展示我们内心的深处时所说:“爱情应该建立在信任的基础上,而信任又建立在爱的基础上,当人们可以相互倾诉而不用担心对方会怎么想时,爱情就变得珍贵而美好了。”

Love is a mystery, and love is intimidating as much as it’s amazing. The more you love and the more emotionally attached you are to someone, the harder you’ll fall but the easier it is to say ‘I love you’ in one way or another, no matter where you are from, who you’ve been and who you are right now.

爱情是神秘的,是令人生畏的,也是令人惊叹的。你爱一个人越多,你对他/她的感情就越深,你就会越容易说出“我爱你”,无论你来自哪里,你曾经是谁,你现在是谁,以何种方式。

How do you say ‘I love you’ to that special someone?

你是怎么对那个特别的人说出我爱你的呢?