Digging For Gold

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“I’d rather be crying in the back of a BMW than laughing on the back of a bicycle.”

A friend recently told me this quote has become quite symbolic of the way Chinese women currently view dating and marriage.

One of my roommates, who was brought up in a very traditional Chinese home and is currently single and in his late 20s, recently revealed to me that his parents habitually call him to suggest potential wives. After I heard this, I pestered Jake with questions that probably made him feel even more single. From my badgering I learned that in order to be considered a “catch” as a man in Beijing, you need to have money. I mean, let’s go buy a BMW then drive you to Louis Vuitton/Gucci/Prada so you can max out my credit card┬ákind of money. Since my roommate, bless his kind heart, is not raking in major cash, he admitted to having a hard time meeting someone he could afford to make his wife.

According to him, women that are pretty and desirable know they have an upper hand and can choose the very best suitor. Based on a long history of gender favoring, the male to female ratio in China is about 1,000 to 800 which puts males at a complete disadvantage when it comes to pairing off. It especially hinders males that earn less money to spend on women. So when a prospective wifey announced to Jake on their third date, “I expect you to purchase an apartment for me before we get married,” he did not even flinch. When he told me the next day, however, I coughed up the tea I was sipping. The fact that Jake couldn’t meet her financial demands ultimately led to his relationship’s demise.

If you consider the way boyfriends are expected to carry their girlfriends’ purses without an ounce of shame and the frequency of female hissy fits where women burst out and literally smack their boyfriends across the face in public areas, the tendency for gold digging is one of the many reasons why I may never understand the dynamic of relationships in Beijing.