As a professional matchmaker, you can imagine my surprise when I saw the Globe & Mail feature a front page story today titled “THE MATCHMAKER OF LOWER QIANTAN” (Jan 16, 2013). Was this the face of a new competitor entering the Canadian market?
No. But it was an incredibly interesting article about the challenges in meeting a mate in modern China, where men outnumber women 118 to 100. It’s part of the China Diaries, a series of articles providing insight into life in the world’s most populated nation.
The article, written by Mark MacKinnon, focuses in on life in the remote area of Lower Qiantan. This is a small village of 700 in the remote Mountains of Hunan Province. There are 80 single men with no match in sight! Across China, a severe shortage of women make it hard and expensive to find a wife. How different than here in Canada where the ranks of successful professional women find their world devoid of eligible men!
The 98 year old local matchmaker, Long Hongxiang, stands just over 3 feet tall, and has arranged the vast majority of marriages over the last 80 years that she has practiced her trade. In the pre-revolutionary days, she would set up matches at the front gates of homes with eligible females. The betrothed would not even meet until the wedding. Love was something you worked on afterwards. Divorce…unheard of. Today, the vast shortage of women mean that the families of the single men must offer a vast dowry in order to have their offer of marriage even considered.
Well folks, dating might seem challenging here in Canada, but its mostly all fun in comparison. I can honestly say I have never ben asked to negotiate a dowry! And in our service…yes, you get to meet face to face! I do hear many single women, particularly hose over 40, say that there are just no single men. But the facts don’t really support this. The Canadian population is fairly evenly split by sex until age 70+, when we begin to see the impact of women outliving their male counterparts.
So why does this perception exist? I think it traces to the fact that many women become very specific when they look for a mate, and this process narrows the field down prematurely. One of my most interesting observations is that when I get the chance to meet a couple who have been married 10+ years, I find that in many cases, the mate that they selected and are very happy with, would not have fit their ’list’. But for some fortuitous reason, Fate brought them together. And Fate was correct.
So here’s my suggestion for Canadian Singles in 2013. For the men, be happy you face even odds here in Canada. You won’t need to ask your family to raise a dowry for find a woman! Just be yourself, and take some time to connect, and you should be fine.
And for women…maybe its time to open up your ‘list’. Don’t focus on being overly specific. Take the time to get to know someone who seems to share the same values and goals. And you may find Fate is on your side.
And speaking of Fate…I must say I like the ancient Chinese belief that every marriage you arrange adds 3 years to the matchmakers life!