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Wedding Bell Blues by Justin Mitchell

I was at a western style Beijing cafe a few evenings ago with a 29 or 30 year old Chinese woman I'll call L who politely interrupted our conversation about editing her resume to take a cell phone call. A rather lengthy one it turned out, and in Chinese, but I could tell she wanted it to end long before it did.

"Do you mind if I ask who that was?" I asked.

"Oh, just some man asking me to marry him," L replied casually.

"Do a lot of guys propose over mobile phones here? No wonder there are 1.3 billion of you. So romantic!"

She laughed. "My parents' friend recommended he call me. I've never met him. Only on Internet. And I think I am not interested. I just want to be polite. I don't want to marry, but my parents are very worried."

Nearing 30, L has a lot of company here. Single, professional, educated, ambitious but with parents and relatives pulling as many strings as possible and putting the pressure on to get married and pop a grandchild. Now. Not later. I know four other women in similar situations - and it's not like there aren't a lot of men.

No Pressure On The Bride At This Chinese Wedding

Photo Courtesy www.weirdthings.org.uk/


Men outnumber women due to China's one child policy, combined with a traditional preference for boys - something which has also contributed to its shadow export industry, baby girls. Know any American famiies with adopted Chinese babies? Odds are overwhelming that the children are girls; if it's the rare boy he was or is suffering from mental or physical disability.

But as a few picky and good looking single Chinese women have explained to me it's akin to what a gal pal once said of the situation in Alaska. "The odds are good, but the goods are odd."

I explained that to L who laughed, repeated it twice slowly and then wrote it down with a Chinese character translation. She isn't looking but has friends who are but are equally frustrated.

"One says she has two, how-to-say. suitors. One is very nice but only wants to be a calligraphy teacher." She laughed again. "Very cultural but maybe not a good profession in the 21st century. The other has a good job but a mother who is like his queen. My friend does not want two mothers or bosses."

We talked some more then her text msg beeped. L flipped the phone open, scrutinized it and winced a little. "It is my 'new husband' again," she said. "His goods are maybe a little odd, I think."
 



From: Original         Author: Justin Mitchell         Time: 3/5/2010 3:53:29 PM

 
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