By my count, there were about 2, males and 2, females listed on the wall, but women still outnumbered men at the event. As I was reading some of their cards, a girl caught my eye. Looking like she was in her 20s, she had long, nicely dyed brown hair, and was dressed in a denim shirt and black leggings, sort-of Korean style. We looked at each other. I felt like a drunk driver being interrogated by a police officer on a highway.
It turned that I was indeed on a highway: She ignored me and passed right by. Marriage marketing The more I explored the expo, the more it seemed that everyone—whether they were men or women looking for partners, or their parents, or matchmakers at the 40 agencies that had set up booths at the event—was efficient, focused, and single-minded except maybe me.
On walking into the palace, I had been year-checked by several mothers, who all turned away after learning that I was born in One matchmaker guaranteed she would never charge me a penny, even if I found a date with her agency. She told me her agency had a staggering gender ratio: Quartz This may seem odd.
After all, by , China is expected to have 24 million more men than women aged 20 to An economics professor recently proposed women be allowed to marry more than one man to curb the imbalance.
A recent nationwide survey shows the average age of marriage in China is In the post generation mine , the average marriage age is even lower, at Quartz The event was introduced as a special design for Asian people who are too shy to start conversations with the opposite sex. It was basically an assembly line.
Five men and five women would sit around a table covered with red cloth, and chat for six minutes. Then all five men would switch to another table, in clockwise order. There were 10 tables altogether, so each session took an hour. This, then, was the official way to have a nice, thorough, personal conversation with someone you liked.
After participants, including I, had sat down, the host began to pick one person from each table to introduce himself or herself. Some were nice, others were just awkward.
Xu, , from Yancheng, Jiangsu province After more than 60 seconds of awkward silence, Xu was still staring at a brochure on the table and seemed to have no intention of talking either to me or to the other guy sitting next to her. She told me she was forced to come by her mother and aunt, both of whom had come with her. I said I was more or less in the same situation. We talked about our hometowns, universities, and occupations. Then I ran out of topics. She remained more interested in the brochure than in me.
We friended each other on WeChat. About an hour after the event, I saw her post a status update: Xu, , from Shanghai Xu was an attendant on the Shanghai subway. She loved watching movies, shopping, and playing badminton. She said she would only like to date Shanghainese. She kept on talking with me in Shanghai dialect though I tried to reply in Mandarin, which I thought was more appropriate at an event full of people from all over the country. Fang, , from Shanghai Having just graduated, Fang now works as a biology teacher in a key high school in Shanghai.
I said I had been interested in biology back in high school and mentioned a question that told you the genes of the parents and asked her to calculate the probability of a child having double-fold eyelids. She said she thought guys her age were too immature and inconsiderate, judging from her past relationships. She joked that I was too young and should go hunting for a date on a university campus.
At the end of the day, I met a nice mother… After the exhausting hour-long roundtable talks, I walked out of the venue. I thought I should call it a day. But one person was waiting for me—Ms.
Chen, the mother of a year-old daughter. She had come up to me earlier when I was grabbing a bite in a square where a love-song singing contest was being held. Only one guy had gone on stage, and he was completely out of tune. No one was listening. She was a year-old college graduate in computer design, and now worked for a startup developing a Japanese mobile app game. She would like to know more about me. But there were some things she needed to check first. Did I mind that her daughter had graduated from a college for professional training but not a university?
Did my parents and I mind her daughter was not from Shanghai, but from Wuhan in central China? Finally, how often would I come back to Shanghai and where would I live in the future? It depended on me and my other half. We exchanged phone numbers. I offered to friend her daughter on WeChat, but she said she would prefer to talk to her first. She said her daughter was too shy for this kind of occasion.
They married when they were 30 and gave birth to me only two years later. Some of their friends already have grandchildren. They are about to retire, and they picture buying an apartment for me in Shanghai, helping my future wife and me clean the house, cook dinner, and take care of our child or hmm, two children.