Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Looking for Love in All the Cheap Places

Valentine's Day has come and gone, and June weddings are a few months off, but the search for love continues unabated. In China, for instance, from where this article from the Atlantic Monthly caught my attention yesterday: China's Lonely Seeking a Spouse - at Discount Rates.

It seems that, the economy being what it is everywhere, many Chinese men are looking for "budget wives" (jingji shiyong nu)*. According to the requirements for a budget wife published anonymously on a Chinese blogging site, she should:

* Be between 5'2" and 5'8";
* Weigh between 100 and 120 pounds;
* Have long hair that trails over shoulders;
* Be warm and mild in personality;
* Have B- to C-cup size breasts;
* Not be a "gold digger" (baijinnu);
* Not be a flirt;
* Be a little horny;
* Earn about $500 - $1000 per month;
* Have a BA or above;
* Know how to cook and wash clothes;
* Be responsible and sympathetic;
* Speak appropriately; and,
* Be educated and reasonable

Before you get too upset, ladies, there's also an equivalent concept of the "budget husband" (jingji shiyong nan), the qualities for whom include the following (along with my assessment of how I fit the bill):

* Between 5'8" and 5'11" (I'm 5'10", so we're good so far);
* Weighs between 145-190 pounds (Oops ...);
* Normal haircut and appearance (It depends on your definition of normal, but I think I'm okay);
* Warm and mild personality (For the most part, as long as I'm not spun up about politics or religion);
* Does not smoke, drinks little, doesn't love frequenting bars (Good on all counts);
* Has a BA or above (Yep);
* Earns $500 - $1,600 per month (Yep);
* Knows how to cook (Yep. Baking, not so much);
* Has filial piety and refined manners (Filial piety, yes; refined manners ... well ... most of the time); and,
* Is patient, loving, keen to advance forward, modest, earnest, magnanimous, absolutely devoted and loyal, and ready to shoulder responsibility (I think I'm okay on all these, but I think what they're really looking for is a nice dog).

On the whole, I'd like to think I'm a pretty good buy.

As you might suspect, the lists generated a large number of comments ranging from indignant to tongue in cheek. Many women found the list to be superficial, unrealistic and unattainable, describing standards for "goddesses" rather than for real, everyday women. Many men, oddly enough, defended the qualities of the budget wife as reasonable and realistic.

So, Dear Readers, what do you think? Given budget cuts, sequestration, increasing taxes, and all the other pressures of the new economy, what are the qualities of your ideal budget wife or budget husband? Are the qualities on the Chinese lists are practical and reasonable?** Are such lists useful as a guide to finding the right spouse?

Inquiring minds want to know.

Have a good day, even if it's on a budget. More thoughts coming.


* According to the article, the term "budget wife" derives from the concept of the "budget husband," which in turn originates from the term "budget housing" (jingji shiyong fang), government-subsidized low-income public housing.
** I'll give you a pass on the "cup size" part of the ladies' list ... I have a feeling I know which part of my readership will buy into that one.


eViL pOp TaRt said...

On aome levels the qualities for budget husbands or wives are reasonable, like personal hygiene and company manners. I would object to the B-cup or C-cup inclusion.

Fun-loving, tolerant, having spontaneity and a sense of humor should be there. Willingness to accept my quirks. Loving is a sine qua non; but my loving him is also majorly important. Someone whom I can talk to, who is interested in the world. Someone who is forgiving when I make a mistake. My subjective list can go on.

Whatever the stock qualities of the budget spouse are, there should be that magical, additional ingredient that makes it possible to live together for a lifetime.

I have a horror of the concept of 'starter marriage.'

Elvis Wearing a Bra on His Head said...

B- or C-cup sized breasts are enough. Disposition is very important.

What about likeing pets?

John A Hill said...

If it was only that simple...
I'm sure that I could make my perfect match list only to find that I was nowhere near what she was looking for.

Mike said...

One child per family is catching up with the Chinese.

Banana Oil said...

Are those labeled Generic Wife and Generic Husband?

eViL pOp TaRt said...

In re-reading the list, I noticed that the basic wife qualities included being horny, but the basic husband qualities did not. Wiw, what an example of no-frills!

Amanda said...

I wonder if there is tiered pricing depending on which qualities you could do without.