Dating in the 21st century is by far filthy dating
“The bicycle is indeed the great leveller,” reported the magazine in 1894.“It puts the poor man on a level with the rich, enabling him to ‘sing the song of the open road’ as freely as the millionaire.”That was overdoing it.More than 99% of women between the ages of 35 and 39 in mainland China have been married at least once, according to a study by Gavin W. The traditional emphasis on finding a partner with a similar educational pedigree and economic standing is still followed in the digital world.According to Shang-Hsiu Koo, CFO of Jiayuan, China’s largest online matchmaking website, what users value most in a potential match are education level, age, height and residency (in China, having a residency permit, in a top-tier city is highly desirable because only those with permits have access to public services and certain employment opportunities in that city).Impact of the One-child Policy Moving to a new city and restarting one’s social life might be considered commonplace in many countries.However, it is intensified by additional characteristics of the Chinese experience.
Tandem bicycles, immortalised in a song from 1892, “Daisy, Daisy”, let couples ride together. Women were expected to rely on male gallantry for repairs: “There are many punctures done on purpose, which necessitates a tête-à-tête walk home.”As bikes got cheaper, the craze came to an end, to the relief of scandalised Victorians who worried that cycling made women infertile, caused disease and loosened their morals.
In particular, the long-term implications of China’s One-child Policy have not only made it more difficult for the growing number of urbanized individuals to find a spouse, but have also raised the stakes for them to do so.
The One-child Policy was one in a series of population-control measures advocated by the People’s Republic during its first three decades.
To 21st-century eyes the bicycle seems unremarkable.
But when modern-style “safety” bikes – with pedals, brakes and rubber tyres – first appeared in the 1890s, they were seen as agents of radical social change.