They are also ready to advertise their singleton’s looks, education level, salary, profession and assets (in the man’s case, it’s critical that he owns an apartment plus a car).
And now – in addition to public parks – a new reality dating show has brought parentally-engineered matchmaking to the centre stage.
The format sees a contestant introduced to five families while the prospective suitor waits in a room offstage (where they can only communicate with their parents by placing a ‘call’ to the show’s host throughout the contest).
In many ways, dating shows became a powerful way to facilitate these changes.
By looking at the development of Chinese television dating shows, we can see how love and marriage changed from a ritualized system mired in the past to the liberated, Western-style version we see today.
Sometimes, the women would just want to take jabs at the poor guy’s ego.
A Chinese dating website once released a survey result revealed that for many single Chinese people, love is no longer the only factor for marriage.
In each episode, If You Are The One features several male candidates who are vying for a date among the 24 searchers.
Each round opens with a short video introduction for a lone male suitor, in which important details about him are revealed.
Pan Wang does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond the academic appointment above.
Today, dating shows are an important ingredient in China’s cultural diet, with popular shows like “If You Are the One” and “One Out of a Hundred” attracting millions of viewers.
For single people, they’re a platform for seeking potential spouses; for fans, they’re the subject of gossip and dissection; for the cultural elites, they’re a topic for derision; and for the government, they’re a target for surveillance.