The young man had a simple question: "Would you often come riding with me on my bike?" It's the kind of line that worked for many suitors in China, the kingdom of bicycles, during its austere decades under Chairman Mao. But Ma Nuo, a Beijing model, seeks loftier transport and wealthier dates.
Even if a date went bad, "I'd rather cry in a BMW" was her giggling, withering rejection, watched by millions on China's top-rated TV entertainment show. Material girls such as Ma, 22, have rocketed If You Are the One and its rival dating show, Take Me Out, to the summit of Chinese television fame.
自1月份开播以来，两档节目成功引发了人们对中国年轻一代拜金主义的激烈讨论。然而，宣传期间却爆出一系列丑闻，先是有人爆料某些选手是托儿，后又有人在网上发布某选手的不雅照，而该选手声称自己是被逼的。 The programs, which both first aired in January, have generated discussion about money worship among China's younger generation. Publicity-generating scandals include allegations of fake contestants and nude photos, posted online, of one contestant, who says she was coerced.
The shows' popularity is easy to explain, says Tian Fanjiang, CEO of baihe.com, a matchmaking website. "There are 180 million single people in China," Tian says. "They and their parents are all worried about the marriage problem."
By the standards of the USA, China's twice-weekly, hour-long hit shows can appear tame. For Chinese viewers, they have proved riveting, turning traditional matchmaking on its head and celebrating instant celebrity.
虽然电视相亲节目已经在中国存在了近2 0年，但过去跟现在大有不同。 Although dating programs have aired for almost two decades here, they didn't look like this.
"In the old shows, people just introduced themselves, and there was little mutual choice," says Wang Gang, who produces If You Are the One for Jiangsu Satellite TV. Wang says his show offers confrontation, nerves and suspense. "Our style is new, and the mass audience has got bored of singing and dancing programs."
"The Chinese family is unique in the world, as we have a one-child policy," says Take Me Out producer Liu Lei, "but parents attach great importance to carrying on the family name, so marriage is a big issue."
Liu insists that the money-worship of some contestants does not reflect mainstream Chinese society, but she concedes, "Many girls really love rich men."
相亲活动市场大 A wealthy catch
如今，婚介机构正你争我赶，利用集体相亲活动和其他活动赚钱。 Matchmakers are rushing to cash in at matchmaking fairs and other events.
Fifteen thousand women applied for a chance to date a wealthy man at an event May 1 organized by matchmaking website jiayuan.com, says Zhang Guoyu, director of the company's Southwest China branch. In June, 50 of them will meet the men who paid $14,650 for the service.
No TV show can fully reflect social reality, says Yin Hong, a Chinese television scholar at Beijing's Tsinghua University. He prefers If You Are the One because "It's more controversial." Why so popular? "China's social environment is changing, as people dare to express their private life and love values in public," he says.
家长插手 Parents involved
China's one-child policy has skewed the gender balance over the past three decades because of farmers' preference for boys.
If women enjoy a greater selection, though, they face other challenges. "Our surveys show that men consider women old after 28," says matchmaker Tian, and women consider a man old after 35.更多信息请访问：http://www.24en.com/
In Beijing's Zhongshan Park one Sunday, more than 1,000 parents swap details on their single, grown offspring.
He Lan, 56, hopes to find a date for his daughter He Fan, 28, who works for an elevator firm.
"It's hard for young people to find partners now, as they are so busy with their jobs," he says.
He is a big fan of the dating programs and tuned in Saturday to a new show, I See You.
"I took down the number and told my daughter she must apply to go on," he says. Her reaction? "Go on it yourself!" he laughs.
money worship 拜金主义
nude photo 不雅照
Take Me Out 《我们约会吧》
If You Are the One 《非诚勿扰》
I See You 《相亲相爱》