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In this she is running against cultural expectations: though China’s economic and physical landscape have changed beyond recognition in recent decades, social mores lag far behind.
In imperial China the family was seen as the building block of a stable society.
The generation born after 1979, when the one-child policy was introduced, are fishing for mates in a pool that has changed dramatically.
On the one hand mass migration means people now rarely marry fellow villagers or workmates.
During the course of the evening she is careful to let the man do most of the talking, to appear interested in everything he says and to react with sufficient wonder to ensure that he is comfortably marinating in his own ego at all times.
This proves somewhat challenging for the 27-year-old Beijinger, who is no shrinking violet.
They are looking for wives – blushing, tender, baby-making wives.
In the Mao Zedong era after 1949, work-unit bosses often arranged pairings instead.
That youngsters may choose their own life partner is a relatively new notion, so China’s dating culture is still in its infancy.
Those who do not comply are known as or “leftover women”, a phrase that has connotations of leftover, unwanted food.
In rural areas, women may be considered leftover at 25; in larger cities it kicks in closer to 30. Although marriages are no longer arranged, they are heavily monitored.
The demographic consequences of population controls have had a dramatic effect too.