Mark Zuckerberg’s surprise marriage to Priscilla Chan last Saturday had Chinese netizens joking that they should pay more attention when in line at the bathroom. Zuckerberg and Chan met while waiting to use the bathroom at a Harvard fraternity party nine years ago.
Chinese women are lining up for some of China’s Zuckerbergs. Eleven Chinese billionaires were looking for spouses through a “wife-hunting” competition being held in 10 Chinese cities, according to China Radio International (CRI) Online. (Note: all links in this piece are to Chinese -language sources) The competition started May 20th in Guangzhou, where 2,800 women ages 19 to 56 came to be scrutinized.
The Zhongyuan News said the standards are exacting: the billionaires judged the women on things like appearance, age, height, education and family background. One of the billionaires even claimed he would pay 5 million RMB (about $795,000 U.S.) if organizers found him a virgin.
Contestants also have to take a variety of tests given by talent advisers, psychologists and other experts. The questions included things like, “What’s the position of a horse when it falls asleep?” “How many kinds of parrots are there in Australia?” or, “Do you mind if your husband cheats on you?” One woman was quoted as saying that the tests were even more difficult than China’s notorious Civil Service exam.
However, none of the billionaires showed up in Guangzhou, which created doubts about the event. A participant identified as “Ms. Xiong” said she had attended similar events before but never received any response. “I wonder whether this is a trick from the marriage or dating sites,” she told Sohu News. “I signed a lot of forms but never saw any billionaires, probably because I am not excellent enough.”
She still showed up for this event, as did overseas returnees, women with advanced degrees, white-collar workers and Boston University students. Among jobs held by contestants: nutritionist, financial analyst and yoga instructor.
“Ms. Ling” returned to China from Australia with a double master’s degree and now works as a scientific researcher. She wants to expand her social network through this event and, hey, these billionaires are attractive to her. “(A husband) without money is not OK for me, I just hope he has a better living condition than mine and has a brighter future, that’s it.”
On Sina Weibo, China’s Twitter, a user named “Wuchun” complained that it was too much like a blind date, leading to a fast-food type marriage. “How much true love exists in this smelly blind date?” Wuchun posted.
CRI Online doubted the whole process, noting “true love is tested through time. This kind of wife hunting does not respect women and cannot find true love.”
Just ask Priscilla Chan. When she met Mark Zuckerberg, he wasn’t a billionaire, or anything close to it. Just a guy standing in line for the bathroom.