Love in Hanoi
Even so, the interest she has just sparked in Vietnam is out of all proportion to its sales. After the book was published, Shine wrote a related article for CNN's travel website, CNNGo, posing the question: “Why do Western women find it hard to pair up with Vietnamese men, whereas Western men can pair up, in a jiffy, with gorgeous Vietnamese women?”
Shine suggested Vietnamese men were wary of Western women, certain they wouldn't want to take on the traditional role of looking after children and in-laws.
“Western women of all ages go to countries like Indonesia and Nepal to team up with local boys in a trice. I know of several instances of women having a fling with a local in next-door Laos, and any number of cases of women finding themselves a Japanese partner,” said Shine.
She revealed the fact that, in general, Asian women are more appealing to Western men than Asian men are to Western women.
The author of the book also pointed out some reasons why Vietnamese - especially Hanoian - men are so notoriously unwilling or unable to charm a Western woman. She said “the bride will be younger than the groom” and “the girl will be a virgin - an unlikely condition for a Western woman - although, of course, this is not expected of the groom.”
She shared, “My friend Phuong taught me a Vietnamese proverb: Du co gia den dau thi nguoi dan ong van chi cu xu nhu mot cau be con -- Even as he gets older and older, a man still behaves as a little boy.”
“Many Vietnamese consider that at 30 a woman is well past marrying age, and her life therefore has little meaning. She’s unlikely to find an unattached older man, and younger men aren’t looking in her direction,” she wrote.
She also told a personal story: “My local café employed a cute Vietnamese guy, only a couple of years younger than me and seemingly interested in a roll in the hay. I was pretty thrilled when he approached me flirtatiously for a chat one day. Then he wiped the floor with me.”
The boy said with a smile, “Me and my friends, we talk about you! Yes! We say you must have been very attractive when you were 12 or 15.”
Finally, she said, “I’m now officially out of the running”.