Finding one's better half can be a tricky business in modern China. With hectic work schedules, nagging parents and a growing gender imbalance resulting from the social effects of China’s one-child policy, it is not easy for the proclaimed 180 million singles to find a match. In addition, China’s fast growing economy not only helped to winkle millions of people out of poverty, but also created new struggles for bringing them together. Real estate prices have sky-rocket in bigger cities and paying off a place to stay for a family seems to be a lifetime project. A psychological shift towards a growing importance on material values is also visible and dating in modern China is mostly lacking all sense of romance, fun and flirtation. It is more about ‘speaking business’. “Where do you plan to live? What is your salary? Do you own an apartment?” are common questions and many youngsters publish their monthly income and housing situation on one of the dozen dating websites without batting an eyelid.
But individual solutions for these issues also keep up with the speed of change. Young couples without money get together in ‘naked marriages’, where traditional requests of financial stability and a certain income as a necessity to get married are left aside. Not only few gays and lesbians still abide by the families’ will to get married, but have found a way to lure them in with staged ‘fake marriages’ between the two homosexual groups to gain personal freedom. Conceptions of love vary widely in modern China. And every single one can tell a lot about the nation’s psyche.
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