In China, are younger men a per­fect match or of­fen­sive?

Global Times – Metro Shanghai - - FRONT PAGE - By Sofia Chen

Aclose fe­male friend who used to complain about men a lot has re­cently been sport­ing a happy face at our gath­er­ings. She told us that she was dat­ing a man much younger than her and that she loves him.

“My boyfriend makes me feel en­er­getic. He ac­cepts am­bi­tious ca­reer women like me, and we may get en­gaged soon,” she said.

My friend’s re­la­tion­ship re­flects the trend of older women en­ter­ing into re­la­tion­ships with younger men.

Ac­cord­ing to the Na­tional Sta­tis­ti­cal Of­fice of Korea, the years be­tween 2005 and 2017 saw a grow­ing num­ber of Korean women opt­ing to marry men younger than them. It also found that the women were mostly aged be­tween 35 and 45 years old. The trend ap­pears to have achieved nor­mal­iza­tion in South Korea, Ja­pan and even China in the past few years.

Of­fi­cial anal­y­sis sug­gests that women’s en­tre­pre­neur­ial spirit leads to the phe­nom­e­non. Ca­reer women tend to de­mand gen­der equal­ity, have bet­ter ed­u­ca­tion, eco­nomic and men­tal in­de­pen­dence, as well as a lower de­sire to marry and have kids. They are also less re­sis­tant to di­vorce.

From the fe­male per­spec­tive, hav­ing a younger boyfriend or hus­band has tons of ad­van­tages. They tend to be more con­sid­er­ate and less con­trol­ling, which makes them more ideal for in­de­pen­dent ca­reer­minded women.

“Older, suc­cess­ful men are used to be­ing in con­trol of a woman, and that doesn’t sit well with mod­ern women,” my friend ex­plained.

Mean­while, from the men’s point of view, cougars or women who date younger men are more ma­ture, in­tel­lec­tual, and eco­nom­i­cally and emo­tion­ally in­de­pen­dent. Dat­ing them can be re­lax­ing and more ful­fill­ing be­cause of more mean­ing­ful con­ver­sa­tions. Plus, hav­ing an ex­pe­ri­enced ca­reer woman as a mate al­lows for con­fi­den­tial ca­reer ad­vice that may not be pos­si­ble from peers.

In Ja­pan, a TV se­ries ti­tled Last Cin­derella por­trays the life of a 39-year-old woman who ex­pe­ri­ences tremen­dous pres­sure from work and life and falls in love with a man in his 20s. In China, the TV shows May-De­cem­ber Love and My Dear Boy (from Tai­wan) de­pict older, more ma­ture women who have a higher so­cial sta­tus and act like moms to­ward their younger boyfriends who are vul­ner­a­ble and need at­ten­tion and care. How­ever, this is not the real­ity. Nowa­days, men who date older women are no longer the fresh off the boat col­lege stu­dent, or the un­em­ployed naïve novices one sees on TV shows that orig­i­nated a decade ago. To­day’s “younger broth­ers” are much more real and less dra­matic. They are or­di­nary peo­ple liv­ing an or­di­nary life. They are not “drama kings” who are picked up out­side by the hero­ine. They nei­ther work for the hero­ine as a subor­di­nate nor get ac­quainted with her af­ter a one-night stand. Though the set­ting and plot are less dra­matic, the story is still quite touch­ing. The feel­ing one has for his or her lover in­ten­si­fies dur­ing din­ners and drinks. They love each other like any other cou­ple be­cause love is be­yond the bound­aries of age and so­cial tra­di­tion.

The opin­ions ex­pressed in this ar­ti­cle are the au­thor’s own and do not nec­es­sar­ily re­flect the views of the Global Times.

Il­lus­tra­tion: Peter C. Espina/GT

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