Al Jazeera’s The Stream reported today on a global trend toward women marrying later and advancing their own education and careers before creating a family. The show focuses on India and China, where, as Leta Hong Fincher has written, women who are unmarried after age 27 are known as “leftover women” and looked down on in society. Al Jazeera interviews Joy Chen, whose books “Do Not Marry Before Age 30″ is a best-seller in China.
As the Lunar New Year approaches, many young people in China are heading home to visit their families. Those who are single often don’t want to confront family pressure to find a spouse, and so to avoid it they hire strangers to play the role of love interest for family visits. The New York Times blog reports:
On Taobao, this man, who didn’t give his name but supplied a photograph, said he was born in 1991, was a B.A. student, an extrovert, 170 centimeters (5 feet, 6 inches) tall and 60 kilograms (132 pounds), offered a relatively simple list of extra services.
“Boyfriend for rent, 300 yuan a day, holding hands and hugs free, appropriate kisses 50 yuan, talking to old people 30 yuan an hour, others we’ll talk about it when we meet,” his post said. Also: “accommodation and transport costs paid by the woman.”
Often, services are worked out in minute financial detail. This man, charging 800 renminbi ($128) a day, had a long list of extras: shopping (15 renminbi per hour or 150 a day, minimum two hours); chatting (10 renminbi an hour or 100 a day); watching a movie (10 renminbi an hour, double for horror films); attending parties (20 renminbi an hour, will not go to dangerous places). And he charges for drinking, based on the spirit content (drinking alcohol
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