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Happy Valentine’s Day!

15 Feb

I really wasn’t expecting to get anything for Valentines because Dave HATES this holiday – he thinks it doesn’t even deserve to be called a holiday and then he shouts something about consumerism, and I quip something along the lines of, “Yeah, and Hallmark! … and set-menus of mediocre food at red-decorated restaurants… yeah!” because I actually agree with him.

Sure, it’s nice to get cards and gifts, share a nice meal or do something else special for one another but you can/should do these things any other day of the year. Why all the hoo-ha on this one particular day? And what to get the other person? Is a Hallmark card enough? Dinner? Home-cooked dinner? Trip to Paris?

On the other hand, I do like “getting into things” and always silently hope he’ll get me something….and he always does!

And so, yesterday I found myself receiving the ultimate Chinese bouquet of flowers!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Unlucky in Love in Shanghai?

20 Sep

Can’t find that special someone?

Then head to People’s Square.

Actually, send your parentals as there’s a specific area in People’s Square that is designated for finding a suitor for your son or daughter that is unlucky in love. Hundreds of printed and laminated profiles are strung up between the trees and everyday parents trawl the market. The profiles depict what I can only guess to be gender, birth year, height, monthly income and a whole bunch of other stuff I can’t decipher. Maybe hobbies or a personal statement or something.

I especially like that height is high on the list.

It was a Sunday when we walked through there and it was very busy. Even some of the benches and bins had profiles stuck to them. There were notepads out and pens poised, a lot of shuffling and frowning and scrutinizing.

One of Kat’s Chinese colleagues at work has given his parents permission to look for a girlfriend for him and says it is very common. (Though he would have to say that, wouldn’t he?) This young man in particular has gotten tired of trying to find a girlfriend and future wife in the usual pulling pits (Karaoke bars? The mall? Arcades?) and he has happily handed over the reins to his folks. They will now peruse the market and once they’ve found someone they think is suitable a date is set up. If the kids hit it off, that’s great, hopefully they’ll continue dating and eventually marry, have one child and live happily ever after. If they don’t hit it off, it’s back to the laminated sheets in People’s Square for the parents to find somebody else.

There must be some good ones over in that corner.

So there’s no real imminent pressure to find the One and get married straight away, Kat’s colleague can still date around and it’s not like an arranged marriage where he might not have a say. It’s basically like signing up to match.com without paying the £20 a month membership. And your parents do all the preliminary cutting room sorting out and then take care of all the logistics of setting up the date. Seems like a pretty sweet deal.

However, Kat’s colleague’s may say it’s normal but I wonder if there isn’t in fact some sort of negative connotation associated with dating this way, just like internet dating hasn’t entirely relived itself of its negative connotation. I also wonder how people rate the profiles. Is the salary important? How important is height really? And is it the case of the taller the better or is it that you want to find someone that similar height? Maybe I should open up a special “Not-looking-to-date-but-looking-for-a-friend” side area and hang up my laminated profile:

28yr old, 1,73m, unemployed Laowai (foreigner) looking for male though preferably female Chinese friend, height and employment status irrelevant, to learn about Chinese customs and popular culture.

My unemployment status will probably not rate well but I’m hoping tall is good and that my above -average height (well, for China anyway) will score me some plus points!