Not For All The Tea In China

A blog describing the idiosyncracies of working and teaching in China and life on a day to day basis. With stories of unbelievable stupidity and outright ripping off of foreigners.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Your Ugly But Lets Get Married Anyway!

In China marriage is seen as a natural progression, much like graduating from university, it's just something you simply must do. In the North of China daughters will start to get to get pressure from their parents to marry at around the age of 25. This is the time Chinese girls go husband hunting for fear of getting left on the shelf.

So many of the girls I've taught have suddenly had a boyfriend and in all seriousness have told me when they plan to marry them after only being with them for a few weeks. It's backwards in China compared to the west, we take a few years to make sure everything will hopefully workout in the future when we do marry, Chinese people on the other hand think that talking about marriage after maybe only the first week is the normal thing to do.

Most marriages are probably doomed to failure, not necessarily divorce, as the idea of the family unit is imbedded deeply within the Chinese psyche, but more often than not, unhappiness is the result. You see the thing is in China love is not a prerequisite for marriage. Only in recent years has the idea of marrying for love become more popular, but most girls still settle for security. Traditionally in China women married 'up', meaning as a way to improve status, men could marry 'down' but women certainly couldn't as this would be a big loss of face for her whole family.

There is a plus side for men it must be said, in the west for the most part, pretty girls don't go out with fat guys, girls in the west care to a great extent about appearances, but in China it's not the main factor in choosing a husband or for that matter a boyfriend. Not a day goes by where I don't see a fat guy with a hot girl walking arm in arm down the street. You see fat men are considered 'lucky' in China almost. The reasoning goes like this: he's fat = he's living well, living well = he has a lot of money, he has a lot of money = he can use some of that money to buy me expensive presents.

There is also the 'domino effect', once one girl out of a group of girls get married then within a year almost all the friends will be married too. To some degree you can't blame them. Most men if they meet an unmarried girl 27 or above will think there must be something wrong with her, otherwise why isn't she already married. This has another knock on effect in relation to foreign teachers and expats in China, the older man with the younger girl.

When I first came to China I was 29, but you try to find a girlfriend in China at around that age and unmarried, it's almost impossible, and besides....the unmarried one's at that age must have something wrong with them ;) just kidding. Also in China, as I think in most of the world, girls prefer older guys, but in the China ten years age difference is perfectly acceptable. To be frank you can't actually blame the girls, guys at around the age of 21/22/23 really don't have too much to offer most girls in the way of character, most this age display the maturity of a 15 year old in western countries and that isn't just my personal view but the view of almost every foreign English teacher I have ever met here.

You can find girls here that are different to the rest in their views toward marriage but it takes some time to seperate the wheat from the chaff, but if you are fat or 'not that good looking', don't worry, come to China and you can have a hot girl on you arm an hour after your plane lands. But leave your wallet at home when she wants to go shopping!


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