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In the still, he's locked in an awkward slow-dance embrace with a girl an entire head taller than him, but that's not even the worst of it.

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Or so I thought, until one day when I was sharing lunch with my colleagues.

"Whenever I arrive at the airport in America, the first thing I notice is our men, how handsome and how tall they are," one of my white female colleagues mentioned over lunch.

He always opened doors for me and wouldn't leave my side until he escorted me all the way to the entrance to my apartment.

He helped me buy a bicycle at the secondhand market and even gave me a ride there on the back of his black metal bike.

All the American girls I knew liked flirting with the local Spaniards, and why not?

The experience of being in a foreign country and culture somehow liberated us from our usual American expectations for men and dating itself. We could even reinvent ourselves and what it meant to be in love with someone.

My heart melted at that first sight of his big sesame-oil brown eyes.

And I as I came to know him better, he didn't disappoint me.

It seemed natural and normal to do the same in China.

I didn't know much about China back then -- a time when I could only communicate in Mandarin with a dictionary and lots of patience, and where my entire cultural knowledge was amassed from the library books on China I borrowed during the summer.

But I figured surely I wasn't alone in my feelings.