Mariko Tokioka knew exactly what she wanted to do after her previous company Quipper was acquired by Japanese giant Recruit. “In London, I wanted to meet someone who shared my culture and language, and could talk to my parents. No, as a Japanese expat in London as COO of Quipper, she wanted to create a dating services that matches Asian singles who are based overseas.”” Thus she went ahead and founded East Meets East.
Furthermore, the subject raises sensitive racial and gender issues that make many women hesitant to talk openly about their feelings for fear of coming across as bitter, stereotyping bigots.What makes Asia a sexual paradise for expat men but causes females such angst?Carl Janowitz, a certified marriage and family therapist who's practiced for eight years in Thailand, feels stereotypes play a role on both sides of the cultural divide.Fairly or not, many Orient-based employers worry that single Western women will make a less-than-stellar adjustment."When I first interviewed for a job in Asia, my boss asked whether I was expecting to date," says Jennifer, a teacher who worked in China for four years."If we give you the job, are you prepared to go two years without a date?" Most women, especially if they're new to overseas work, can't imagine a potential employer asking such a question. How dare the interviewer make such glaring (hetero)sexist assumptions! Why would he ask anything so blatantly inappropriate unless he was actually serious? After all, I was fully prepared to forego running water, electricity, refrigeration and the English language, but had never considered the toll that working in Asia would take on my love life."Women need to consider that the available men will be searching for younger, Asian women," says Molly, who's worked in Indonesia, Myanmar, and China."After 12 years of living in various parts of Asia, I've finally realized it's nothing personal, just the way it is." The Upside: Freedom, Growth and Cultural Accessibility While the challenges are real, signing a contract in Shanghai, Bangkok, or Jakarta need not sentence a singleton to years of bitterness and frustration.And this can create a much smaller “dating pool” for single expat women." Stereotypes and cultural friction might also explain the relatively small number of Western women dating Asian men.When asked what factors women should consider before accepting an assignment in the Far East, even singles who have made a successful, long-term adjustment to the region don't sugarcoat.