Li Hui (Pseudonym), a high school junior in Beijing born in 2000, recently transferred 520 yuan ($75.4), a number commonly used in China as the abbreviation for "I love you," to his girlfriend's WeChat account in order to end a disagreement between them.
"[However], not just any amount of money; a few bucks could never work," he said.
He got himself a girlfriend six months ago, and since then, he has spent as much as tens of thousands of yuan on her.
Li is one of the post-00s, young people born from 2000 to 2009, who have not only already gotten into a romantic relationship, but also tend to keep the spark alive in a luxurious way.
The way post-00s show love is astonishing adults. According to an article from the China News Agency in November 2013, a boy about 1.4 meters tall and possibly a fifth-grade pupil, knelt down in front of a girl about the same age in Jiangsu Province before holding her in his arms, leaving many passersby stunned.
An article from New Weekly magazine in March noted that a deputy to the National People's Congress proposed to lower the legal minimum age for marriage to 18 years of age to cope with China's low birth rate problem. If that becomes true, the oldest post-00s, aged at 17, are reaching the marriageable age.
A junior high school student told Yangcheng Evening News that around a quarter of the students in each class at the school he attended were in a relationship with students from their own class or those from neighboring classes. He was seen as an outsider because he was single, according to the article from New Weekly.
A "Post-00s falling in love" group on Baidu Tieba, a Chinese online communication platform, has attracted more than 600,000 followers. In the group, there are nearly 30 million posts where many post-00s express their intention to find a boyfriend or a girlfriend and share their love stories.
Besides the curiosity for romance, another major reason why some post-00s are eager to get a romantic partner is that they are afraid to be single in their late 20s or early 30s and labeled as "leftover" women, like what happened to many post-80s and post-90s generations.
However, the opinion on the matter is mixed. While some believe love knows no age, some remain more critical.
For some of the post-00s born into affluent urban families, money is an approach to express their affections - something they have learned from their environment.
Li conceded that transferring 520 yuan to his girlfriend whenever she is in a bad mood is nothing compared to the amount he usually transfers to her when there is a special occasion, like their one-week, one-month or three-month anniversary.
"At the beginning of the year, I gave her a red envelope with 1,000 yuan in it to wish her a happy New Year," he said.
He added that he also uses other costly ways to make his girlfriend happy.
For example, since she is a big fan of shopping online, he logs onto her account on various shopping websites on a regular basis and pays for all the items she has put in the basket.
"I empty her shopping basket twice a month, and spending thousands each time is quite usual," he said.
Moreover, since they became boyfriend and girlfriend, he has bought her two iPhones, an iPad tablet and a MacBook notebook that total more than 20,000 yuan.
Li knows he is not the only one who spends a lot of money on his girlfriend. Many of his male friends in high school are experiencing similar situations. He and his friends believe that how much a man is willing to spend on his romantic partner indicates how much he loves her.
"Money helps express my feelings to my girlfriend," he said. "If I do not resort to that, what else can I do?"
Not only boys, but some girls also see money as a crucial factor in their relationship. Feng Ling, a first year junior high school student in Beijing born in 2004, is one of them.
She has had two boyfriends since she entered junior high school. According to her, both of them liked her very much, because "they paid without the slightest bit of hesitation" when she went shopping with them.
However, the two relationships ended as time went by, and Feng is looking for her third boyfriend on Baidu Tieba and QQ where she has clearly listed her main requirements for boyfriend candidates.
"He needs to be handsome; he should have a low and attractive voice when he talks; I also prefer a pair of good-looking hands," she said. "More importantly, he must be generous and willing to spend money on me."
To help herself have a basic understanding of the economic capability of the boys who are interested in becoming her boyfriend, she has asked them to send her the brand of their mobile phone.
"If the brand is one that does not cost a lot of money, I will not waste my time on its owner," she said.
Eager to Love
Feng said that a main factor that drives her to eagerly get herself a boyfriend is related to what happened to her cousin who is a 32-year-old white-collar worker in Beijing.
She explained that although her cousin is a beauty, she had been single her entire life as a student, because she always focused on studying. She graduated with her master's degree at 27 years old. "Since she has no experience in the romance field, it is very difficult for her to talk to a man romantically, let alone find a boyfriend," she said.
Her cousin's parents have set her up on several blind dates, and she did go out with some of the men, but nothing romantic happened after.
Her cousin told her that she has no idea what went wrong, and that she is almost about to be driven crazy by parental pressure.
"Every time she calls her parents or they call her, they ask her whether she has found a boyfriend and then push her after she says no," Feng said. "She even cried during a recent phone call of ours."
Feng believes that the reason why her cousin experiences romantic difficulties is that she lacks relevant experience, so she decided to try to have as many boyfriends as possible while she is young.
Therefore, by the time she needs to get herself in a serious relationship, she will be quite experienced and able to attract a man she likes.
"I will know how to love and be loved so that my romance is more likely to succeed and lead to a happy marriage when I am ready. I do not want to experience what my cousin has gone through," she said.
For Li, he is eager to get himself romantically involved as he cannot wait to find out what it is like to be in love.
He has read many novels and watched a lot of TV series and movies that show how fascinating falling in love can be, and he has seen how each intimate moment can make the lovers' hearts beat so fast that it makes it hard to breathe.
"If I want to know whether what happens in novels and TV series is true, there is no other way but to experience it for myself" he said.
Lin Yike, a mother of a 4-year-old boy and 1-year-old girl in her late 30s in Jinan, is aware that the news concerning post-00s getting in relationships can often be found everywhere on the Internet. While a good number of people are taking it as a joke, some choose to approach it with a more critical attitude, claiming that post-00s will be negatively affected physically and mentally if they get themselves romantically involved too early.
She, however, does not see it as a necessarily bad thing. She believes that there should not be a certain age or age period for life experiences, including falling in love.
She recalled that a friend of hers from Australia, who lives in China and is over 50 years old, once told her that he has been asked by many people why he does not have a kid.
She noted that he did not understand at first and wondered why he should or why he must, but he then began to learn that Chinese tend to relate age to a lot of things, like one should have a romantic partner in his or her 20s, then get married and have children in or before his or her 30s.
"He does not see a point in why people should do certain things at certain ages, neither do I," she said. "For instance, if a 15-year-old boy and a girl of the same age like each other, why shouldn't they fall in love? They shouldn't just because they are not older than 20 years old?"
She believes that the intelligence quotient and emotional quotient in a relationship is not directly related to a person's biological age, as she has met people who are older than her that are immature when handling relationships.
Although she sees romantic experiences helpful to improve the intelligence quotient and emotional quotient needed in relationships, she does not mean that parents of the post-00s' generation should support their kids without guidance. "For example, they need to talk to their children about sex," she said.
However, Susan Liu, a mother of a fourth-grade pupil in Beijing, is not so optimistic when she noticed that her daughter and a boy in her class were texting each other every night.
Every day when she picks her up from school, her daughter tells her how much she admires that boy and how nice he is to her.
"I am not sure how to guide her; I am afraid that she would stop telling me all that if she feels that I do not like it," she said.
Liu is feeling lost at the moment. One day, her daughter asked her whether she was experiencing puppy love. All she told her daughter was that she was just fond of that boy and was not in love.
"I did not want to lead her to develop a romantic relationship with that boy, or make her rebel because I acted too nervously," she said. "I really hope what the two of them are having stops at friendship, but I have no idea what it will develop to."
(Source: Global Times)
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