I’ve thought about this subject a bit and occasionally felt guilty about it. Frankly, I’ve only got one pretty close male Taiwanese friend myself, and admittedly I used to have a relatively larger number of female friends before I settled down with one girl.
Here’s my take on it. Yes, the reason some/many/most ? Western guys have mostly female local friends is – surprise surprise – due to the sex factor. However, before we start castigating and making snide remarks about fetishism, let’s try to keep a balanced view.
I think it’s pretty natural when living abroad to hang out mostly with one’s own…why do you think there’s a Chinatown, a Koreatown, a Little Italy and so forth in so many US cities? While with a member of the opposite sex it’s fairly easy to put aside one’s cultural differences and communicate on a fairly universal level (at least until the initial attraction wears off), it’s not so easy to be chummy in a platonic way. There’s the language barrier, the sports barrier, the music barrier, the re-run barrier, need I go on?
I know I’ll probably get ragged out for this opinion, and yes, I do think the way many of us Western males in Taiwan act is mercenary, if not racist, but at least let’s try to be realistic. I don’t see many Asians living in Western countries worrying so much about whether they’re being sufficiently sensitive to that country’s culture or filling their quota of local friends. But that’s a whole 'nother topic…