A weird marriage proposal

There was this teacher in my university in Beijing. Well, he was not a teacher, just an administrative staff in the office, but he was called laoshi by all the students. He was a couple of years older than me.

We met when the university was organizing an event which was going to be attended by several personalities from the education world in China. The foreign students had to prepare a song to sing in the event, to show how international the university was. The teachers also wanted to organize other performances and I was selected to participate in a Chinese opera show (I was to be 女驸马 nüfuma). This guy was in charge of the rehearsals and that’s how we met.

I don’t remember when or why I gave him my phone number, I guess it was just to receive notifications for the rehearsals. So he started texting me and we went for dinner several times, also with my friends. He acted weird. When we were together he would tell me I was fat and that I needed to lose weight, but then at night he would text me and say that we should meet more often, that he wanted me to teach him how to dance, and things like that. I didn’t know what to think. I wasn’t interested in him in a romantic way but I didn’t mind meeting with him, sometimes we had interesting conversations and he taught me slang Chinese.

It started getting weirder, to the point that once he told me that if we got married, his parents would give us their apartment and their car. Wait, what? Getting married? We weren’t dating, there had been no physical contact between us at all, we hadn’t kissed or even held hands, he had never told me directly that he liked me, and he was talking about getting married?

Was this situation a consequence of cultural misundertanding? Did this guy believe that, because we were meeting sometimes to eat and chat, we were dating? But I had Chinese male friends or acquaintances before and they didn’t assume we were dating just because we were meeting. And what was that about the apartment and the car? Did he think I would agree marrying him if he provided material things?

I kept telling him that we barely knew each other but he insisted that he was in love with me. I told him I liked him as a friend. Ok, I know that’s cruel, but what else could I say?

A few weeks later I got a job and moved to Shanghai. I haven’t seen him since (this was around March 2010). A few months ago he sent me an email, though. Asked me if I was dating anyone. I told him the truth.