Think you have it rough? Just head East and you’ll realize your love life isn’t so awful
Sometimes it just takes hearing someone else’s sob story to put your own life into perspective. That said, you’ll want to read Wei Pan‘s story. She’s a biomedical engineer living in Shanghai, China, who is having one hell of a time finding Mr. Right. Unfortunately, Chinese men just aren’t cutting it for the highly educated 33-year-old. And believe you me, she’s tried everything to meet one.
The stereotypes associated with living in China — submission, traditional values, the man of the house as king — are starting to fade. Women want more, but they’re suffering because not all men are as progressive as they are.
The ladies are choosing to marry later in life, if at all, because they’re trying to find the perfect partner instead of settling down and popping out babies. That said, in theory, China should have been a fabulous place to meet men if their views weren’t generally so prehistoric: the cultural preference for boys — aided by sex-selection technology — has created the imbalance of 118 males to every 100 females of the 1.3 billion population.
But back to Wei Pan’s story. She has an M.D. and Ph.D. under her belt. She’s pretty, she’s young (I’m 31 so going with the notion that 33 is still young) and she’s out there. She’s tried everything from online dating, set-ups by friends and social clubs like Toastmasters. With her mother in tow, she even went so far as to hit up the outdoor marriage market at Shanghai’s People’s Park, where, every weekend, parents of the unwed blanket the park with their children’s resumes. Yes, a marriage market still exists and no, we cannot have one in the U.S., but thanks for asking.
Given that she has all of the qualities of your average New Yorker (and just as successful at finding love, might I add), Wei Pan is still considered to be among among China’s ‘sheng nu’ or ‘forgotten women’. This is the kind of woman made famous by Bridget Jones: a perpetual singleton.
These ‘forgotten women’ are fighting back against existing stereotypes that have made it hard for them to find a man. They’re all educated, independent and pissed off. This has led many ladies to form ‘sheng nu’ clubs across the country where they talk about the singles scene and bemoan the fact that they are still single. Sounds like any good bitchfest you’d have with your girlfriends here, right?
One social club member, Sandra Bao, a 30-ish magazine editor says that more and more women are holding out for ‘the one’ these days. “We don’t want to make compromises because of age or social pressure,” she explained.
That’s just some women, of course. Others, like Wei, who have literally tried everything, are ready to settle for less than perfection — as most of we American women tire after years of struggling in the communal dating pool and go for Mr. You’re OK But You Treat Me Right. She’s sick and sad that men are intimidated by her accomplishments. Six years ago, on an online dating site, she met a primary school teacher who hadn’t even completed college (yeah, work that one out). After some lengthy, late night phone calls, she began to feel a spark, and when they actually met she started falling for him. But soon after, he pulled away — and she still doesn’t understand what went wrong. Sound familiar?
Still, she holds out hope that she’ll one day meet her match. He doesn’t need to be rich, but he should be someone who’s her equal in terms of intelligence, passion and salary. “I’m not a perfect lady,” she says. “So I do not need a perfect man.”
Well said — but why settle for someone you know isn’t worthy, Wei?