Are men without money no better than garbage? Many Chinese women seem to think so, at least in this video. With that opening salvo, the battle of the sexes is well and truly on as men accuse women of materialism and women blame men for lack of ambition – a microcosm of modern China’s relationship dysfunction is on vivid display in this fascinating, sometimes hilarious, and always revealing mini-movie entitled “High Stakes Mating” [embedded below with English subtitles by Tea Leaf Nation].
Viewers may suspect that the video’s producer picked out only the relationship hardliners, the true basket cases. Apparently not. In a survey released by the Civil Affairs Ministry of China on January 4 of this year (as previously reported by Tea Leaf Nation), more than 80% of single women interviewed believed that a man “does not deserve” to be in a romantic relationship if he makes less than RMB4,000 (around US$650) a month. Almost 50% believed that a man needs to shoulder the full cost of an apartment or at least the down payment before he is eligible to marry. That’s bad news for millions of Chinese bachelors since the national average income of urban residents in China was only about RMB1,750 (around US$300) in 2010. No wonder so many of the men in the video are hopping mad.
The real culprit behind men and women’s intractably different expectations may be the skyrocketing housing costs and living expenses in major Chinese cities. This depressing reality is captured in the popular expression: “European prices and African salaries.” Many lovelorn men come face to face with this depressing reality long before marriage even enters the picture. One prominent blogger broke down the costs of a simple date for his readers: “For one date, a casual meal for two costs RMB300 or so, a movie for two costs RMB100, and taxi rides cost RMB60. That’s RMB460 without getting flowers or gifts. [Remember the average monthly salary is only RMB1,750] If the girl happens to fancy a leather jacket, that’s a few months’ salary.”
In any case, women’s seemingly unrealistic expectations for their man’s savings and earning potential – or so it seems judging by the men’s reactions – may go a long way toward explaining why, as Tea Leaf Nation earlier reported, #I have no boyfriend# recently became one of the hottest memes in the Chinese blogosphere.