Another companion even snuck a look at my phone while I was sleeping, and started sending flirtatious text messages to one of my contacts, whom she knew to be white, male, and single.

(I found out about this much later, when he informed me, amused, of the messages he had been receiving late at night.) These girls are hardly “gold diggers” or loose women; most are churchgoing “good girls” with dreams of upward mobility and international travel that are tragically inaccessible to most Papua New Guineans. I find it hard to explain that dating works differently where I'm from, and that few American men in their twenties and thirties would be interested in, or even aware of, the possibility of striking up a long distance relationship with a Papua New Guinean girl.

People slip easily between discussing the qualities of commodities and the nature of the persons who use them—sometimes arguing, for example, that Papua New Guineans are poor because they spend all their money on “Chinese rubbish” and thus have trouble saving up to improve their lives.

love or dating site in papua new guinea-3

Many ask me about immigration opportunities, fantasizing out loud about, for example, going to pick fruit in Australia and nabbing a man at the same time, or going on a tourist visa to America and “just staying forever”.

I should emphasize here that most of these fantasies are just that: a way of expressing frustration with male behavior and marital restrictions on PNG women, as well as the unfair limitations on international migration and travel that Papua New Guineans face.

Unlike PNG men, girls tell me, white men are uniformly kind, monogamous, non-violent, non-jealous, sober, and financially responsible.

They never hit their wives and don't cheat with other women.

Papua New Guineans know they are exploited as both a resource-rich site for extractive industries and as a dumping ground for cheap, poorly made goods.

Girls often compliment my athletic sandals not in terms of their being attractive or fashionable (which, in my opinion, they are not), but as being “strong.” They link this “strength” to their overseas origin, and often complain in the same breath that “we Papua New Guineans wear rubbish sandals that break quickly, because they're made in China.” They request gifts—usually phones and shoes—“from America”, apparently assuming that goods on the American market are not made in China.

Moreover, many of them have met women who have been married to or otherwise involved with white men, and their life stories are not always fairytale romances.

In many cases, desire for “white men” is actually desire for an imaginary life of leisure and plenty known primarily through TV, movies, magazines, and observations of the lavish lifestyles of tourists and other expatriates.

Did the thought of intimacy with Papua New Guineans disgust them?