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Wet and wild

By RAYMOND ZHOU | China Daily | Updated: 2015-08-10 07:40

Wet and wild

Wang Xiaoying/China Daily

Dating can take many forms. While gender equality is a concern, there should be some leeway for unconventional approaches.

On Aug 1, as many as 30,000 people took part in a dating game that has since attracted a lot of negative attention.

There is always a facet to gender politics in this kind of thing.

The most popular television dating show in China, If You're the One, uses a format of two dozen young women, and with the occasional foreigner, lined up behind a semi-circular podium and the male contestants coming up one by one.

The selection is two-way but rarely does a successful match emerge.

The beauty of this design is, on the surface the men are selecting the women, but in reality the women have the advantage because failure to select a male contestant will keep them on the show and, according to some analysts, is part of the reason the women appear so picky.

Never did it seem to dawn on the producers that the format can be reversed, with 24 men facing a single woman for a change.

What's important in this kind of situation is gender equality. Of course in the real world, equality is a luxury.

When it comes to dating, the bigger the city, the more women are "left behind", a term that carries a whiff of sarcasm or even male chauvinism. But at the bottom of the social ladder, say, in the poorest of places, it is invariably men who are unable to find spouses.

China's alarming imbalance in gender ratio is never reflected in dating games because contestants rarely come from extreme corners of the social edifice.

The event in question, the one that involved 30,000 single men and women, was actually a promotional gimmick. It was organized by a water park in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province.

The summer heat must have lit up the light bulb in the management: "Why don't we let the young dress as little as possible and pretend to play a game fit for this demographic?"

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