By Katie Nelson
While single Chinese women face the ill-fated label of being considered a ‘leftover’ once they’re past 30, many bachelors of the same age are seen as prime candidates for marriage—as long as they can afford it.
As we’ve discussed in the past, there is an established and massive pressure for a Chinese woman to be married by a certain age. Some single Chinese women were under such pressure over the holidays that they resorted to renting boyfriends to bring home to their families for Spring Festival.
But for all of the 5.82 million single women aged 29-39 in China, there are 12 million unmarried men of the same age, according to the most recent census. So why do men often escape the brunt of the blame?
According to a recent Shanghai Daily report, as long as these men have a good job and enough dough, they’re “golden bachelors”.
“I’m not left over. Yes, I’m desperate for a happy marriage and kids of my own, and I’ve got great pressure from parents, but I won’t rush into marriage until I find the right one I truly love and respect,” Alex Zhu, a 29 year old resident of Minhang District, said. “In addition, I really enjoy my single life now.”
Zhu would like to get married before he turns 30. “But if I can’t, I will never lower my standards for a happy married life.”
Not everyone seeking a spouse is in such a cushioned position.
“Are you aware of how much it costs to date a girl? I mean a serious date that might lead to a marriage?” says Chen Weibing, 28, an office worker earning 7,000 yuan a month. “It’s hard for me to save money for the future,” Chen told the Daily. “But the tricky part is that no girl will marry me if I don’t pay for dates and gifts, but if I keep paying out like this, I won’t have money to marry.”
It’s a convoluted situation for men and women alike, but it seems that economics will continue to play a huge role in the marriage market.
As theNew York Times reports:
A generation ago, China was one of the world’s most equal nations, in both gender and wealth. Most people were poor, and tight controls over housing, employment, travel and family life simplified the search for a suitable match – what the Chinese call mendang hudui, meaning roughly ‘family doors of equal size.’
China’s transition to a market economy has swept away many restrictions in people’s lives. But of all the new freedoms the Chinese enjoy today – making money, owning a house, choosing a career – there is one that has become an unexpected burden: seeking a spouse.