Let’s (Not) Get It On

I met up with an expat friend for lunch yesterday. Over dessert, he asked me what it’d be like dating a local girl. I told him the local girls around our age date with one goal in mind: marriage. It changes everything: the conversations, the expectations.

Then there’s the logistics. Young adults in China, who are unmarried, tend to live at home with their parents. Now you know why there are love seats in every theater, rooms available at an hourly rate, and couples hidden in every dark corner of every park.

Dating locally poses different challenges for me.

I like to date privately and in peace, which is almost impossible to do in Shanghai. The most common way for couples to meet here is through introduction via a family member or family friend. I’ve been offered to go on dates through these means but dating is complicated enough without that added pressure. I’m also afraid of running into a family member while I’m on a date. Shanghai really isn’t as big as you’d think and I cannot date under scrutiny.

I just want to enjoy my uncomplicated single life and my freedom a bit longer.