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For a lot of Chinese people, serious dating starts after they’ve finished school.
More so than Westerners, many Chinese view dating as a pragmatic affair.
This is a big part of why dating is often taken so seriously.
Chinese young people often feel like they don’t have the time to “play the field” that their Western counterparts are afforded by society.
However, the expense of these dates eventually led to the popularity of group dating, which was less costly and also eased the sexual pressure associated with one-to-one dates.
Couples declared their intentions to be exclusive by "going steady," whereby a young woman would wear a love anklet and her boyfriend's fraternity or club pin--known as "pinning." After a few years of going steady, the couple would become engaged, and the engagement could last for a year or more.
It’s not always about finding love so much as it is about finding a potential marriage partner who fits with one’s own ideals.
Karen Spaeder began her editorial career at Entrepreneur magazine.
As you may expect, dating is a little bit different in China than it is in most Western countries.
The basics are the same—people are people everywhere—but there are still a few differences regarding culture and social cues to note.
More than tradition, society, or culture, dating in China is governed by what the specific individuals in the relationship think and feel, and it’s not too hard to find Chinese couples that don’t fit all or even any of the general observations above.
In the 1950s, long before the days of cell phones and social networking, dating was a simple affair that revolved around jukeboxes, soda fountains and well-defined social norms.
This pressure is particularly acute for women, who can be called “left-over women” if they pass the age of 26 or 27 without finding a husband.