Shanghai matchmaking event should not have age restrictions

By Du Qiongfang Source:Global Times Published: 2018/10/22 18:28:39

Illustration: Chen Xia/GT

The city's annual matchmaking event,  commonly known as "the 10,000-person matchmaking fair" will be held at Yuehu Sculpture Park in Songjiang district next month.

Being a married woman with a 2-year-old daughter, it has been a long time since I last paid attention to any blind-date or socializing mixers. But the latest news reports about this year's big matchmaking event caught my attention.

According to Shanghai Morning Post, the age limit of participants will be lowered from 45 to 40 years old, which I think is unreasonable. Considering the growing trend of late marriages in Shanghai, age limitations should be lifted instead of tightened.

I don't know the reason why the organizers have lowered the age limit. Maybe it is because of the low success rate of participants aged between 40 and 45 attempting to tie their knots through this event.

According to big data from previous Shanghai love and marriage fairs, nearly 300,000 single men and women have participated in the matchmaking event since it was first launched in 2003. However, only around 16,000 couples actually went on dates after they met at the event - and only 5,000 of those couples got married.

Since only 1.6 percent of all previous participants were aged between 40 and 45, the success rate of participants in this age group is very low. Even so, people older than 40 should not be deprived of the right to meet potential partners. On the contrary, they should be provided with even more opportunities to attend such mixers.

With increasing social and financial pressures in our modern society, Chinese people must put off their plans to get married so that they can earn an income. Especially in expensive metropolises like Shanghai, work pressure does not leave much time or energy for young people to date.

Except for those who don't want to get married at all, those Chinese staying single until they turn 40 might be bad at socializing, or they might have been hurt in a previous relationship, or they simply have not met someone who they love and who can love them back equally.

Compared with one-on-one private blind dates arranged by their parents or agencies, which are awkward and embarrassing, Shanghai's public matchmaking events are more like big parties. They are fun, relaxing and offer far more possibilities to meet potential mates.

However, if someone is rejected by such large-scale matchmaking events simply due to their age, they will lose confidence in the institution of marriage. As a matter of fact, there are quite a few Chinese elites who opt to remain single until they turn 40 or even 50 in order to pursue a career, which they consider more important.

But I believe personal achievements can make up for one's older age. Opinions toward marriage in our modern society are quite different from the past. Material possessions, income, age, family background and education are not as important as they used to be.

Especially among elites, who pursue partners with whom they are spiritually compatible, age and looks matter much less. Furthermore, older women dating younger men and older men dating younger women have become acceptable in today's China.

How does the event organizer know that there are no xiaoxianrou (little fresh meat, a nickname for young and good-looking men) seeking older, successful women? And how do they know there are no xiaoluoli (little princesses) seeking older, successful men?

I myself am a 35-year-old zhongnianshaonü (middle-age girl) who enjoys the feeling of being adored and spoiled by my husband, who is older than me. Some of my female friends, however, married younger men because they enjoy the feeling of taking care of a "young son."

All in all, governments and related institutions should provide more channels for older (and younger) people to meet potential spouses regardless of age. Back off and let them decide which age is acceptable!

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

Posted in: TWOCENTS

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