Why is it so dif­fi­cult to find a hus­band in Shang­hai?

Global Times – Metro Shanghai - - FRONT PAGE - By Sab­rina Samra

I’ve just re­turned back to Shang­hai and met up with my Chi­nese friends, who al­most a year later are still search­ing for the right guy. I gen­uinely be­lieve it is uni­ver­sally dif­fi­cult for ev­ery­one (girl or boy) to find a ro­man­tic part­ner. Life has got­ten more com­plex, ma­te­ri­al­is­tic, su­per­fi­cial and fake, in my opin­ion. This makes it harder for peo­ple to un­der­stand and know each other.

How­ever, on the flip side, the world has be­come much smaller. Whereas in the past you com­mu­ni­cated via let­ters or phone calls, and could not in­stantly con­tact or see some­one, to­day you can im­me­di­ately con­nect with peo­ple us­ing the in­ter­net and var­i­ous apps. But, has this made it eas­ier or more dif­fi­cult to meet some­one?

Ar­guably, it has be­come more dif­fi­cult, be­cause we have so much more in life these days; es­pe­cially in an ad­vanced city like Shang­hai, that our de­mands have be­come higher as well. Not just in an­cient times but also just 20 or 30 years ago, peo­ple were of much less means than now.

Mar­riages were nat­u­rally ar­ranged amongst fam­i­lies. This doesn’t mean ev­ery­thing was happy and per­fect though. In this sense, whilst mar­riages are on the de­cline these days, per­haps that is be­cause hap­pi­ness is more of a pri­or­ity now. Ar­ranged mar­riages are less com­mon and Chi­nese women are free to be in­de­pen­dent and choose their part­ner. But has this made them gen­uinely hap­pier?

I guess it comes down to pref­er­ence, be­tween sta­bil­ity and love, fam­ily and in­de­pen­dence, chil­dren with an un­happy re­la­tion­ship or no chil­dren but short-term hap­pi­ness and fun.

I de­cided to ask a Chi­nese friend who is hop­ing to meet a po­ten­tial hus­band as soon as she can. When asked why and if it has be­come more dif­fi­cult to find a po­ten­tial hus­band, she com­mented that it was more dif­fi­cult, as ideal hus­bands are al­ready taken at a very young age (af­ter grad­u­a­tion or in the be­gin­ning of their ca­reer).

I went on to ask my friend what her most ideal hus­band would be like, and she re­sponded that he should be wise, hu­mor­ous, kind-hearted, re­li­able, re­spon­si­ble, medium-look­ing, pro­gres­sive and shar­ing some ob­jec­tives in their pur­suit of a high-qual­ity life.

He should also be charm­ing, en­cour­ag­ing and in­flu­en­tial. “He should be my idol and guide me to get through ev­ery­thing. He is a hus­band, a friend, a teacher and a part­ner; all com­bined. I de­mand a lot from an ideal hus­band,” she con­cluded.

All to­gether, these de­mands are in fact very high, but I would ar­gue that they are universal re­quire­ments for a good part­ner any­where in the world. Why set­tle for just so-so? Per­haps the dif­fi­culty is in re­al­iz­ing and know­ing whether some­one has these qual­i­ties or not.

This led me to ques­tion my friend about the fact that Shang­hai is such a large city with a large pop­u­la­tion, and if this makes it eas­ier to meet some­one or not. She said Shang­hai peo­ple do not have many chances to meet new peo­ple be­cause their daily work rou­tines limit their num­ber of new en­coun­ters.

I ab­so­lutely agree with this state­ment be­cause, although Shang­hai has many peo­ple, ev­ery­one is so busy. The very fact that Shang­hai is so big may also be serv­ing as a counter-ef­fect to find­ing a po­ten­tial hus­band. Some ar­eas out in the sub­urbs are so dis­tant and sparsely pop­u­lated that it’s al­most as if you are no longer in Shang­hai.

I have an­other Chi­nese friend (in Xu­jing) who says there is def­i­nitely no po­ten­tial hus­band for her there. Un­less she makes the hour jour­ney to down­town Shang­hai ev­ery­day, she seem­ingly has no chance to meet some­one.

Ul­ti­mately, choos­ing the per­son to live with and be with for the rest of your life is not a sim­ple choice to make. My sin­gle fe­male Chi­nese friends and I be­lieve that find­ing a hus­band is not just a Chi­nese or Shang­hainese is­sue, but rather a universal is­sue.

Some peo­ple meet oth­ers quickly, oth­ers don’t. Re­la­tion­ships end, re­la­tion­ships last. There are so many im­por­tant con­sid­er­a­tions to make, such as values, prin­ci­ples, cul­ture, hob­bies and pri­or­i­ties. When it comes down to it, though, we just need to em­brace all the dif­fer­ent stages in life – sin­gle, dat­ing, hav­ing fun and, hope­fully, get­ting mar­ried. The opin­ions ex­pressed in this ar­ti­cle are the au­thor’s own and do not nec­es­sar­ily re­flect the views of the Global Times.

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