Spoilt rotten by their parents and grandparents and thereby locked in a state of perennial infancy, discourse on the “systematic castration” of Chinese males raised in the single-child generation is by now a familiar sight – but this, not so much.
Earlier this week, Chinese media revealed the existence of several websites offering the services of “adult wet-nurses.” Covering Shanghai, Nanjing, Beijing, Wuhan and other big cities, these online communities count their members by the thousands.
There are two divisions of services on offer: “pure” and “impure.” The former denotes breastfeeding alone while the latter includes what the company tactfully refers to as a “deeper level of service.” After paying the RMB100 registration fee, members can sign up for either a one-night bender or a weekly or monthly plan, which for “impure” services sets you back RMB50,000. With steep prices like these, it’s clear that the clientele are the country’s crème de la crème. “All people with too much money are perverted,” one commentator theorized, “they’ve already grown weary of all conventional forms of entertainment consumption.”
Once they’ve registered, users are added to a QQ group called the “Milk Alliance” that enables them to directly connect with “milk mamas.” One wet-nurse explained that anyone who sticks to the “pure” won’t last long in the industry: “customers might go after you once or twice but never a third time… all men want something more to happen.”
Despite the centrality of the Oedipus Complex in the Western canon, its presence as a theme in Chinese literature is negligible. Some have argued that this demonstrates how theories cooked up in Europe are not universal to the human experience in non-Western cultures, but the luxury milk drinkers of China beg to differ.
One of the “impure” wet nanny services, presumably for those with Norman Bates-level attachment disorders.
By Ryan Kilpatrick