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It's dating, mom, not mating

ZUMA-8 minute date club.jpg
Tournament opens at Beijing speed dating club, 2004

This is one of a series of letters written in the years 2002 to 2006 to a foreign advice columnist at 21st Century, an English newspaper published weekly by the China Daily.

Dating in China is a brief intro to marriage, a required ritual that wraps up around age 25. Young adults give their parents the final word in picking a spouse: usually a well-studied man with access to money or a task-conscious woman willing to take care of elders from both sides. So goes the rule book according to over 40s and nearly all ages in the countryside.

But city dwellers are telling their middle-aged parents there’s a revised edition out now. It describes dating as a way to meet a lot of people for fun. Selection can last till age 35. Mom and Dad can vote on the eventual spouse, but no veto power.

But the new version is a mere pamphlet, compared to the hallowed hardbound epic of the past, when adult children come down to picking a mate in the face of outraged parents who have sacrificed so much for their only child. A showdown can start before the suitor even shows up:

Student letters to a foreign agony uncle

Dear Ralph,

I'm a 25-year-old lady. I'm a tall and good-looking girl. My salary is also not bad in my city. To my parents, I'm old enough to marry. I still do not have a boyfriend. (I had a boyfriend last year. We said goodbye after I realized we really did not love each other.) So they are anxious to push me to find a good man. Most friends and classmates are going to marry or already have married. But I have not found the man who loves me and who I love. Sometimes I intend to find a future husband through a matchmaker. I'm afraid of pressure from family and society. What should I do?

Helena, via e-mail

Dec. 2, 2002

There are currently 2 Comments for It's dating, mom, not mating.

Comments on It's dating, mom, not mating

through 5000 years of civilization, chinese society has yet to improve upon the efficiencies of arranged marriage when pairing its young.

Well, the 5000 years old system was already destroyed. (matchmakers and all) The currently system is under 100 years old and always changing.

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