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To be single or not? It's your choice.
Last Updated(Beijing Time):2009-02-23 10:54

If Bridget Jones comes to China she will probably find millions of single girls experiencing the same feelings as she did. They are at the right age to marry, want to meet that 'special someone', but find themselves alone.

People call this group of people who have reached a suitable age for marriage, but still remain single, 'Shengnan Shengnu' or literally 'Leftover' men and women. The phenomenon has become a social concern and aroused heated discussion.

Demographic data shows there are 37 million more men in China than women and there will be 30 million to 40 million more men who are at their right age for marriage by 2020. That is to say one in every five men is expected to have difficulty finding a wife.

Reasons for the existence of a great number of 'leftover' women are various. Some complain that the person interested in them is not the one they like and the one they really like hasn't come into their lives yet. Others are at a crossroads about whether to love or not. They always expect the next one will be better as time passes them by.

Most of the 'Leftover' ladies are good looking, have decent jobs and a sound educational background. They have high expectations about their Mr. Right and don't want to lower their standards when searching for a man, so they prefer to stay single.

Tian Fanjiang, the CEO of China's famous match-making website, believes Chinese people's standards for finding a life partner are the highest in the world. Western people focus more on ensuring their own happiness, rather than accepting outside influences from parents or other family members.

Chinese couples want happiness, a similar attitude towards life, a similar value system and similar family background. The more restrictions they set, the harder it is to find their partner, Tian Fanjiang added.

Another barrier for single men and women to get together are traditional perceptions about marriage. The stereotype of a strong man with a weak woman still dominates many people's minds. A successful woman wants to find a more successful man. While a successful man's ideal wife is not necessarily successful but gentle and virtuous.

Modern society provides Chinese women with more opportunities than their mothers' generation to realize their individual value. While they are working hard and pursuing lives that their mothers could only dream of, they suddenly realize that they have become part of a group that men may not want to marry.


A recent survey by Zhen'ai, another popular match making website in China, indicates female teachers, nurses and freelances are more attractive to men as potential marriage partners. A single man, surnamed Yang, explains teachers and nurses are the best choices to become wives for these women are more likely to be perceived as nice and kind with a tender personality. Freelances tend to have more time to take care of the family, so most men prefer women in these professions.

Dr. Li Song, the founder of the Zhen'ai match making website, says most male members of Zhen'ai don't care much about how successful the women are in their career. They emphasize more on whether they are good at housework and are family oriented.

In order to find their partner, people have tried various ways such as blind dating and some parents even gather in parks to help their children search for their potential husbands or wives.

Love and marriage experts agree that a happy life is defined by oneself and wise people will never marry anyone under any pressure but instead choose the best lifestyle suitable for their stage of life.

To be single or not? It's your choice.

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