Like most Asian nations, China has a traditional bias for sons. Many families abort female fetuses and abandon baby girls to ensure their one child is a son, so about 118 boys are born for every 100 girls, against a global average of 103 to 107.
Out of China’s population of 1.4 billion, there are nearly 34 million more males than females – more than the entire population of Malaysia – who will never find wives and only rarely have sex.
There was a rather depressing quote by a girl on a popular dating show a few years back that sums up the situation here… On the show an unemployed bachelor asked one woman if she would “ride a bicycle with him” on a date. She responded by saying “I would rather cry in a BMW than smile on a bicycle” (宁在宝马车里哭，也不在自行车上笑).
1. The rich guy almost always gets the girl
As a young Chinese woman who’s lived there for the first 18 years of my life, I can say with confidence that things are pretty grim for the boys and girls back home. Men are expected to possess substantial wealth in order for them to consider marriage and family. This in turn, in my opinion, perpetuates the misogynist notion of women being commodities, because the rich guy almost always gets the girl.
Another aspect of the problem is the rural/urban difference. A rich guy from the city has a much bigger advantage than his rural counterpart, because the rural population tends to be more conservative and their families more extended. That means, a city woman who marries a country guy basically just marries his entire family back in some small rural town.
So in the end, the vast population of bachelors in China is mostly country guys working in cities.
I don’t know, probably very similar to being a single bachelor living in Williston, North Dakota.
Mainland Chinese male here. Based on the experience from me and my friends, if you are not born in a rich family, finding a gf becomes really hard if you fail to do that in high school or college, when most girls don’t care that much about wealth.
After girls start to work and pay checks by themselves, they start to realize that how harsh the life can be without money and how wonderful the life is if they can marry a rich guy.
A common rule is that the male needs to own an apartment and a car before marriage. A 3-bedroom apartment in a major city of China is around 500,000 USD (the price is doubled in Beijing). I graduated from a top university in China and worked in a top IT company as a software engineer, my salary was around 20,000 USD in the first year and 30,000 USD in the third year. It is a very well-paid job in China but still I can not afford to buy an apartment unless I spend my parents’ whole life saving on it (Actually a lot of parents in China do spend all their savings for their only son’s marriage).
For myself, I met my girlfriend in college. I am so grateful that my girlfriend doesn’t give a shit about these rules. She doesn’t care about apartments. And so do her parents. We left China last year and we are pursuing our master degrees in North America. We will probably stay here after graduation because I always want to have my own house with yard, which is not even possible for me in China.
4. City women won’t date a farmer
tl;dr The problem is localized in rural China and it won’t spill over cause city women will not date a farmer.
Some of those men are gay, some of those men are old and off the dating market, some of those men are so preoccupied with earning money that they have completely lost interest in women. China is a very large country. Unless every single man tried to find himself a woman at the same time there isn’t a problem.
Another factor is the localization of the problem. Most of the relevant parts of China don’t really have this problem and it is only the rural areas that have sweeping birth preferences towards males. The rural areas are granted special exception to the one child policy.
Source: I am a first generation Chinese American who has significant family ties in Guangzhou.
5. Family connections
All I see on here is info from a foreigner’s perspective and it’s not wrong but it isn’t 100% correct either.
I’ll give you some information from at least a 2nd hand perspective. I moved to the US when I was 7 and all of my relatives are still in China. Some background on my family. They aren’t rich but they aren’t dirt poor either. They live in a city and are about middle class. The thing that most foreigners don’t understand is the role of the family in helping you find a spouse. If you have a big enough family, like myself and my cousins, you won’t have any troubles. You might not find a model or anything but it’s not as difficult as you might think.
A lot of the time it’s through connections. Your family will help you set up meetings with their friends’ daughters. From there it’s a matter how well you can make it click.
For example, I have 2 male cousins close to my age who married earlier than me. One of them lives in the city and is considered a bit lower middle class simply because he doesn’t have a steady job, never finished high school. He works part time jumping from job to job as is the custom with a lot of people his age without a college education in China. He married and while it’s not exactly ideal (they get in a lot of fights about him keeping a job), they’re still together with a kid.
My other cousin lives in the countryside. What you would consider the rural area. He’s older than me and didn’t even finish middle school. He works random jobs as well but helps with the family farm. He’d be considered a bit poor but still found a wife with the help of his family. They have a kid as well last I heard.
So I want to stress the effect of your family in determining your chances of finding a spouse. If your family has connections and friends, then you shouldn’t have that much of a problem. You have a pretty large pool to work with. You might not always get the best looking one but it’s still possible. It’s only, as others have said, when all branches of your family are dirt poor that you’re screwed.
6. You don’t notice it, actually
The thing is, when you are in China, you don’t notice that men outnumber women. If you walk down any given street, you will find that almost all shopkeepers are women. Chinese shops will typically hire young single women to be the face of their business, and job listings have no qualms saying they only want attractive females to apply and to please supply a photo on their applications. Also, males and females are brought up to not interact with each other. There isn’t very much mingling of the sexes and you see it in kindergarten all the way through university. Boys form close friendships with other boys, girls with girls. In China, if you dress to impress, you’ll get compliments from the same sex, rather than the opposite sex. What this does is it creates a barrier between the sexes, and many young men and women find it extremely difficult to start dating.
7. It’s mostly rural
I lived in China for 7 years before coming to the US (almost ever returning) and here’s my take on the situation. Keep in mind though, I haven’t been back to China in a long time (8 or so years) and most of my opinions come from talking to international students at my university and my what my parents tell me.
From what I gather, this thread seems to have a very negative view of Chinese women. From what I’ve actually seen, there are very few women (that I would actually date) that are as materialistic about choosing a partner as people here describe. Dating in China is not that much different than dating in the US. The same qualities sought after by women in China are the ones that are sought after by women in the states and all over the world (In China they have a saying that women want tall, rich, and cute – gao, fu, shuai). And just like women all over the world, Chinese girls will take a variety of things into account when choosing a guy, money being one of them. Here’s why I feel like Chinese girls get such a bad rep.
When talking about China you have to remember here that a large percentage of its population is still rural/agricultural. Most of these people are dirt poor and therefore don’t look the best because of poor hygiene and health standards. Imagine for a second that you’re a good looking middle class Chinese girl from the city. Would you be willing to marry into the family of a farmer? Similarly, even if you’re the daughter of a dirt poor farmer and you have the choice between marrying the cute city guy who earns a lot of money with social skills to boot and marrying a farmer who slurs his words because he’s missing half his teeth, which one would you choose? Choices like this are very common throughout China and given this choice, most western women would choose the same.
It’s the same all over the world. Chinese women are not as shallow as people seem to believe, and they a bad reputation because they’re more vocal about their desires than most other women. Can you blame them? Marriage in China is much more sacred than it is in the United States, you get to have 1 child for your entire life, you are expected to have that child before 25, and when you get married, you are expected to stay married. Getting divorced is highly frowned upon regardless of the situation, and your damaged reputation might prevent you from ever remarrying. It is for this reason that Chinese women don’t beat around the bush. If you don’t have everything they’re looking for, they’ll tell it like it is. It’s a very sharp contrast to western women, who more often than not, will find ulterior reasons to break up with men because being shallow is so frowned upon here. I can say that I know for a fact that western women can and do break up with men for exactly the same reasons that Chinese women. It’s a cultural difference of expression, nothing more.
Chinese women, more often than not, are just like normal girls. The international students who go to my University (many of whom came from fabulously wealthy families) were more than willing to date non-wealthy guys, even guys like me who look Chinese and speak Chinese (eliminating foreign mystique). Most of them were getting a degree so they could find a decent job and support themselves back in China. When asked if they want a man with a high salary, most of them gave me the answer that they’d like to have a man that they can depend on when finances get tight, but not a financial crutch on which they could lean. I suspect that middle class girls who actually live in China are not much different.
That being said, I do understand the plight of men in China because my parents are constantly talking about my cousins in the country. While it is not impossible to find a woman, it has become a bit more difficult due to the population gap. Women are just more choosy than they use to be. My parents are constantly asking me to try to help my cousins find girls. I’d be interested to see what kind of wingman I’d make if I tried going to China.
8. Money is everything
I am a single bachelor living in China, but I’m a foreigner. For expats, it’s pretty good being single, as there is that foreigner mystique and the general idea that all expats are rich, so finding women is pretty easy.
As for Chinese, it’s a bit of a different story. The actual number is closer to 38 million more men, but also realize that this doesn’t mean either single men, gay men, or anything else – it’s an overall statistic.
That said, there are a LOT of single Chinese guys. Almost every guy in my office is between 21-30 and they’re almost all single. To even consider getting a wife, a Chinese guy needs to own a home (apartment in a big city), a car, and preferably make XXX money every month. The women have high expectations (as they’re expected to pop out their one-child policy kid before the age of 24-25).
Also keep in mind that there are A LOT of girls/women in various types of sex-related jobs, and many rich successful men get married to someone their family likes then buys 2 or 3 more apartments for their mistresses.
It’s a skewed situation either way, but basically, unless you have money as a single guy in China, you’re not that well off. Many girls will date the fat, disgusting, old guy with a wife because he can give them $10,000 a month over the handsome, young, kind guy that lives paycheck to paycheck.
Hope that helps.
9. Sexually frustrated
A lot of the men are very sexually frustrated because either they can’t find a woman or the woman they found doesn’t like sex.
10. Not a good time to be an average Chinese male
I’m less than qualified to answer this, as I’m a Eurasian living in Shanghai, but I’ve been here three years, and almost all of my friends are local, so I can give some perspective.
Problem: The standard thinking is you need to own property before you can even think about starting a family (or dating seriously, for that matter).
This, combined with low wages (even by Asian standards) and high property prices (even by Western standards, at least in Shanghai), combined with the skewed gender ratio, makes it frustrating for the average Chinese male.
On top of this is the fact that a lot of Chinese males are, quite frankly, boring. Most of them have been excessively babied by their parents and led to believe they’re more awesome than they are. Few of them have traveled abroad, and MANY get their ideas about other countries from the movies and media (which leads another set of problems, and that’s not even mentioning a censored internet).
All of my Chinese male friends are single, and honestly, none of them have very appealing personalities. The future looks grim for them. I don’t know how they’d find a partner even if there were an equal gender balance.
In Shanghai, there’s a big expat population which is making it immeasurably harder for Chinese males. Not to mention the rich, who are DISGUSTINGLY rich, and surely have more than one female on their payroll.
Attempted solutions: The only one I know about is: parents go to parks with a paper of their child’s information, effectively ‘advertising’ them for marriage.
Other than that, I don’t know what really can be done. Essentially, since everyone expects to purchase their own place, the males are driven to be more competitive and more successful if they want any shot at finding a partner.
The rest of them? I guess they just give up and get their rocks off at one of the MAAAAANY sex shops that can be had for cheap ($30 or less, and some of them are serious lookers).
It should also be noted that the gender imbalance is in the countryside, since most of the girls come to major cities like Shanghai and Beijing for work. So much so that there are plenty of hot single girls here waiting for Mr. Right.
With that said, my comment about my boring Chinese male friends still stands. I don’t know how they’re going to find someone when they have the attitude of an angsty middle school virgin.
11. You have to find a woman that is available
You need to understand that in China, you don’t really mix between classes. In the west you could easily see a laborer and a lawyer compromising and making it work but here it’s just unheard of.
So with that said, many guys are left alone, but there is also a large population of single females left alone. Educated women, who have careers and ambitions, who can’t marry the largely single male population because they all earn less, less educated, etc. And they are getting more and more desperate because their biological clock is not on their side.
Back to both genders, the graduates of big cities also typically take jobs that require them to work insane hours so they have no chance of meeting any one else. 15 to 18 hour working days in peak seasons is not unheard of. If you don’t comply, goodbye.
12. They “buy” a wife
When situation gets desperate for some guys they result to “buying” a wife from poorer southeast Asia countries like Cambodia or Vietnam.