Single? Show me your estate deeds and bank statements

By Yang Lan Source:Global Times Published: 2015-6-2 19:43:01

In Shanghai, the only other market booming as much as its stock market is the marriage market. Being single in this city is as lucrative as any initial public offering, and with a little due diligence on prospective partners and a proper valuation of their net worth, getting married in Shanghai just might be the wisest investment you can make.

Just like everything else in Shanghai, we also put price tags on prospective mates. Their retail value is determined by all the usual traits that we typically seek in a companion - looks, smarts, personality, kindness - but just like banks have the gold standard to determine the value of currency, here we use the Shanghai Standard.

Consider yourself intelligent? Show me your Ivy League diploma. Think you're kind-hearted? Prove it by buying me something. Call yourself good-looking? Let me see the label on your suit. Sparkling personality? The only sparkle I care about is in that Chow Tai Fook display case.

Since IPOing myself on Shanghai's marriage market, I've been having so much fun being wined and dined by the city's wealthiest bachelors that I really can't understand why so many people always complain about being single.

The most recent matchmaking event I attended was a blind date cruise along the Huangpu River, organized by the Shanghai Matchmaking Association. There, beneath the romantic glow of the city's biggest financial institutions, 230 singles bared their souls - and their portfolios - to each other. It was like being in the trading pit of the Shanghai Stock Exchange.

Not everyone, however, was a suitable candidate. Some female participants later complained to the Jiefang Daily about being asked to provide their university degree, household registration certificate and proof of employment upon meeting their male counterparts. Some men even had the audacity to say that they felt pressured by the women to show them the deeds and titles to their estates.

What did they expect? If you want to marry me, you obviously need to have somewhere for us to call home. An apartment isn't good enough, I want a town house; it's called a "house"hold for a reason. Any respectable family in Shanghai will have already purchased property here long before their child became of age to marry, so don't complain to me if your parents didn't get in before the housing bubble.

Family is very important in China. In Shanghai, family is also very important: your corporate family. A senior manager from a multinational firm, for example, would make a perfect match for my family. One candidate at the matchmaking event bragged to me about his government connections. When I asked what his job was, he said civil servant. Um, no thanks. Any job title with the word "servant" need not apply.

Another candidate I met that evening blew any chance he had the moment he offered to hail us a taxi. I laughed in his face. I suppose if we ever got married he would also expect me to take the subway when I want to go shopping. Can you imagine me on public transportation? There are 1.8 million car owners in Shanghai now, the streets are filled with Land Rovers and Audis; my future husband better be in one of them.

Think I'm being unfair? Let's be straight with each other: people are born unequal. Some are born into wealthy or prestigious families, and some are not. Some are born beautiful, and everyone else is just average. That's how life works: the haves and the have nots.

But for those men who expect their future wives to have fair skin or a shapely figure, or know how to cook and clean and take care of children and their elderly parents, they'd damn well better be able to provide us with an economic base to do all that.

And if you can't, the Shanghai Railway Station is accessible from Metro Line 1, bye bye!
Posted in: TwoCents, Metro Shanghai, Pulse

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