Instead of wearing a low-cut top and necklace, she stows away her cleavage and dons a demure sweater and scarf. During the course of the evening she is careful to let the man do most of the talking, to appear interested in everything he says and to react with sufficient wonder to ensure that he is comfortably marinating in his own ego at all times.
This proves somewhat challenging for the year-old Beijinger, who is no shrinking violet. Animated, affable and razor sharp, she graduated at the top of her high-school class and then left China to study at Yale, where she earned a BA and a graduate qualification in law. She worked briefly at a New York City law firm before feeling the pull of home — like most Chinese her age she is an only child — and moved back to be closer to her parents.
That has allowed them to focus on what they see as June's next obligation to the family: Her mother constantly reminds her to tame any expression of amusement when in the company of a Chinese gentleman.
June's father, a university scholar who seems just as invested in his daughter's future, suggests that she mute her laugh altogether and instead Marrying a chinese woman in china her to "smile like the Mona Lisa".
Anything more exuberant might convince a prospective suitor that she is assertive, worldly, charismatic — not a good wife, in other words. June's love life offers a prime example of the obstacles Chinese women with advanced degrees can encounter when seeking a marriage partner. Most men she is set up with don't seem interested in casual dating. They are looking for wives — blushing, tender, baby-making wives. June's education, exposure to a foreign dating culture and emotional expectations all make her something of an anomaly in modern China where the propriety and practicality of traditional courtship often dominate.
She is determined to avoid finding a husband of the shake-and-bake variety — Marrying a chinese woman in china kind who, shortly after shaking his hand, you have married and begun baking children for. In this she is running against cultural expectations: In imperial China the family was seen as the building block of a stable society.
Every individual knew their place and fulfilled their role. Marriage was a pragmatic agreement reached between two sets of parents to ensure heirs for the groom's family. In the Mao Zedong era afterwork-unit bosses often arranged pairings instead. That youngsters may choose their own life partner is a relatively new notion, so China's dating culture is still in its infancy.
The generation born Marrying a chinese woman in chinawhen the one-child policy was introduced, are fishing for mates in a pool that has changed dramatically.
On the one hand mass migration means people now rarely marry fellow villagers or workmates. The demographic consequences of population controls have had a dramatic effect too.
In the late s, China's ancient cultural preference for males was bolstered by new and soon ubiquitous ultrasound technology which led to millions of baby girls being killed, abandoned or aborted: China now has one of the most imbalanced sex ratios in the world with about boys for every girls.
The vast majority of these surplus men live in impoverished rural areas tending family farms female villagers were free to migrate in search of better jobs and husbands. They have no hope of ever affording the mortgage-free apartment and car which a man is now expected to bring to a marriage.
The result is that, byChina will be home to an estimated 30 million million men known as guang gun or "bare branches", who will never marry or produce "offshoots" of their own. That is a big change in a culture where until recently marriage was near universal. On the other side of the demographic equation is a smaller, equally new group that has received rather less attention: These girls were lucky in many ways, and given opportunities that would once have been reserved for their brothers.
They were pushed to study, succeed and achieve as only boys had done before them. The demographic pressures Marrying a chinese woman in china the one-child society have actually increased the obligations on both sexes, even though they were born into a freer, more prosperous world than that of their parents.
Families pin all hopes of their future livelihood on single daughters just as they do on their sons.
Since China has no adequate welfare system, parents rely on adult children to care for them in their old age. Daughters, like sons, are expected to perform the ultimate act of filial piety and produce an heir. When it comes to the marriage market, women are often expected to forget their own desires and honour those of their parents and prospective husbands, even with the financial and academic heft that they now wield.
In rural areas, women may be considered leftover at 25; in larger cities it kicks in closer to June is fast approaching her expiration date. Although marriages are no longer arranged, they are heavily monitored. Parents of adult children in many countries wish to see their offspring happily paired off and procreating but in China this ambition is something of a crusade.