Had an interesting chat with one of my Chinese friends, C, the other day. She’s one of those friends that I have always considered being quite open minded (she and her boyfriend, for instance, are supposed to not eat pork because of her boyfriend’s religion, however, they still do, and when the parents come to visit they hide the meat in the bottom of the freezer), or well, that was until we had a chat about love and marriage.
My friend C started telling me about her cousin: a 29-year old, career woman, who’d done two degrees at top universities and who was now working as a lawyer in town.
-Excellent! I exclaimed, until I realized that C was looking at me in horror.
-How can you say that? All the has is her job, she has no husband, and she might not ever have children?!
-She’s only 29, there’s still time? I tried.
From the look of C’s face I realized that there was no such thing as “still time.”
C then went on to describe the unhappy life of her cousin, which, I am sorry to admit, sounded rather great. She’d not only done 2 degrees in order to achieve an excellent position as a lawyer, moved across the country, gotten a good salary, and claimed she was happy with her life.
According to C, however, one could not be happy, if alone.
-Worse thing is, C went on, she’s not even ugly! She’s quite beautiful, and she’s got a good figure….!
I shrugged my shoulder, oblivious to what I could say.
-You don’t happen to know some laowai looking for a….
-NO! Come on. Let her meet someone on her own!
-Ah… she never willl!!
-How do you know?
-Because she hasn’t yet!
-But she’s only 29?!
-Only?! It’s almost already too late….!
Useless to discuss –the message is clear. Being 29, single and a career woman is apparently still considered to be a minor catastrophe in China. I guess we are to wait some 10-20 years before this mindset starts to change.