Desperate and dateless,men learn new tricks

Updated: 2011-02-15 07:31

(China Daily)

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BEIJING - Finding one's better half can be a tricky business in modern China, with hectic work schedules, nagging parents and a gender imbalance conspiring to make selecting a partner a nightmare for single men.

According to the "2010 China Marriage and Relationship Survey Report", released on Monday, 260 million Chinese are looking for love - 180 million singles and 80 million concerned parents.

Eager singles swamped matchmaking events held in Beijing during the Chinese New Year holidays, with an estimated 50,000 people attending a week-long event in the capital's Ditan Park, according to organizer, a popular matchmaking website with more than 40 million registered members.

"I am the third oldest in my family, and everyone has a girlfriend except me," said 29-year-old insurance worker Chen Nan, who said he felt pressure to step up the search for a wife.

People taking part in the event, mainly white-collar workers in their late 20s and early 30s, flirted and exchanged phone numbers and pieces of paper.

According to, more than 70 percent of participants were in fact anxious parents hoping to fix up children too busy or shy to meet members of the opposite sex.

An army of 50-somethings jotted down notes from rows of sheets of paper strung up between trees showing singles' personal details. Some compared details with other parents, held signs up promoting sons and daughters, or organized dates on their behalf.

"My son is very busy with work - not just busy, but extremely busy. He has to work overtime a lot and doesn't have opportunities to meet girls," said a woman who gave her name as Mrs Li and has a 26-year-old son who is an IT worker. "I don't know if he is worried, but I am quite worried. That's why when I saw the event I rushed straight in."

China has been suffering severe gender imbalance for some time, with the latest figures showing that 118 boys are born for every 100 girls.

As a result, more than 24 million bachelors could find themselves without spouses by 2020, according to a report from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, which attributed the imbalance to gender-selective abortions as a result of traditional preferences for male children.

For young men feeling the pressure, some help is at hand.

If You Are the One, a matchmaking TV show which gives men 20 minutes to sell themselves to 24 female guests, has become the most-watched TV program in East China's Jiangsu province.

Though some contestants may end up holding hands at the end of the night, the success rate remains low.

But for those who really need help, there are dating coaches such as Chris Wu, who runs seminars and an online forum with friends to teach single males how to meet and keep women. In worst-case scenarios, Wu personally teaches them how to pick up a woman on the street.

Wu's business partner demonstrated for a 25-year-old student, who gave his name only as He, by getting a passing woman's number on the first try. After a couple of embarrassing knockbacks, He managed to get a number too.

"I am very excited, I feel like life is full of surprises," He said. "It's just two ordinary people meeting on the street, but it could turn into a love story."


(China Daily 02/15/2011 page7)


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