Chinese New Year is just around the corner (new year’s eve = Feb 9)! Department stores are slashing prices, the city’s armies of courier delivery boys have hung up their electric bike keys and gone home (what a tragedy to discover last night that none of the vendors on Taobao will deliver my bunny’s pet food until after Feb 15), and everyone everywhere is talking about “grabbing train tickets” (some Chinese news reports said that the day holiday tickets went on sale ticket sales websites crashed within a minute from all the people logging on).
Oh, and the air has been much much better. We’re still hovering around 150-250 AQI readings for PM2.5, but we’ve seen a couple of days of blue skies. Ever since I read about the government shooting down rain clouds to clear the skies for important national occasions (like the 60th anniversary of the founding of the nation) I’ve become rather suspicious of clear days that coincide around sensitive times. Could the latest streak of visible skies be part of an elaborate plan to keep us Chinese citizens dumb and happy as we head into the most important holiday of the year?
Speaking of keeping people happy, with China’s population imbalance (120 boys : 100 girls) you’d think there wouldn’t be a shortage of boyfriends to bring home to see the folks. In fact, my travels around the country pretty much convinced me that men are throwing all of their (and their parents’) resources at winning over wives — typical middle class dating starts with a woman reviewing a potential suitor’s credentials (parents buying you a house? a car? other goods?). (Read more on China’s demographic woes at Next Big Future and Economist).
Think again. The best story I’ve read in Chinese media this week is the “boyfriend for rent.” Check out this dashing entrepreneur, selling himself as a fake boyfriend to appease worried parents (what? 25 and single? that’s a sin for a young Chinese woman). He bills himself as a “rental boyfriend, cooks and cleans, capable conversationalist, willing to drive long distances.” For the auspicious price of RMB 388.88 you can rent him for a day, or pay RMB 2588.88 for 8 days. Hurry ladies, he has had 57 transactions in the last 30 days!
It is China after all, so where there’s a good idea, somebody’s bound to copy it (and undercut prices). Here are some more rental boyfriends…Looks like there might be enough to go around for every single girl, if you’re willing to pay!