Here is a conversation that has happened to me fairly frequently. I get approached by a man or woman who is in her 60s or 70s, and the conversation starts like this:
“Are you married?”
“Why not? Do you like men instead?”
“No, I like women. I guess I have just not met the right one.”
“How much money do you make?”
“I make xxx.”
“Do you own a house?”
“No, I don’t.”
“You seem like a decent person. Why aren’t you married?”
“I have had some bad luck.”
“Would you be interested in meeting my daughter? She is 40 years old and not married yet. I was wondering if you could meet and become friends?”
By this time, my mind is whirling madly. I agree to meet, their hopes are very high, and if things don’t work out, I will end up hurting them. Time for some honesty.
“If you give me a way to contact her, I will contact her directly and we can have dinner. But I don’t want you to be involved in the process if that’s OK with you.”
“OK. Do you have a recent photo? I will give it to her and ask her. And give me your phone number so that she can contact you directly.”
“Here you go. Thank you.”
In fairness, this kind of conversation has happened to me in the US too, but only among Chinese.
There are a lot of desperate Chinese parents out there.
I had this conversation last year, 30 minutes into a first date. We were both 25:
Girl: “So Peter, how much do you make each month”.
Me: “Um… [an amount]”.
Girl: “That’s not bad. Have you bought a house or a car yet?”
Me: “Neither. I want to invest my income in education.”
Girl: “Don’t you think as a man it is your responsibility to own a house or car?”
I don’t know just how prevalent this is but all of my male friends in Shanghai and Beijing report having experienced various versions of this conversation, whereas in the UK I’d have found this baffling.
Two parents in a compliment/response interaction:
A: Your child is very intelligent.
B: He’s not, he’s not.
It only makes sense in China.