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Singles Onthe Mingle The 3-S Women


□ Zhao Yue

  The 3-S Profile
  
  
  Born in 1978, Xiao Xiao is a young,vital and successful woman in all respects.However, increasingly over the past coupleof years, her parents have become more con-cerned about her personal life. They wonder(usually aloud) when she will finally marry.Her answer? "Don't rush me."
  When Xiao Xiao was in university,countless boys asked her out. However,for the sake of her studies, she chose notto maintain a steady relationship. "I don'tremember when it happened, maybe when| was admitted to my doctorate degree pro-gram, or the time ! began to work, but sud-denly there were less available men around.During the day I have a lot of work to do. Atnight I have social occasions to attend. Evenwhen I was on a vacation, I began at 6 a.m.and only rested at 10 p.m.," she explains.Xiao Xiao hopes that her eventual partnerwill be at least five years older, with more orless the same educational background and adecent job.
  These days Xiao Xiao is not avery unique case in China's ma-jor cities. In 2005, there were ap-proximately 500,000 single peopleranging from 30 to 50 years old inBeijing, among whom more than60 percent were women. Nearly83 percent of urban women surveyed inShanghai are supportive of the single life-style, and the percentage reaches nearly 90percent among those with high academicqualifications. Thus, those born-in-the-1970s unmarried Chinese women have anew demographic label: 3-S women. Thatmeans single, seventies, and stuck. Womenjust a few years older already have kidsin elementary school. Girls several yearsyounger are married, having picked andchosen their partners. Many 3-S women be-lieve that women smarter than them are notas good-looking, and women more beauti-ful are less clever. However, it is they whoare unmarried. And, in the urban areas, the3-S demographic is substantial in number.
  
  The Single Cause
  
  An old Chinese saying goes somethinglike this: "Only men will be left aside." Themeaning is that when they choose, womenwill always be able to easily marry. But con-sidering today's statistics, people may won-der if the old saying still holds any truth. 3-Swomen opt out of marriage not because theyare not attractive in many ways. On the con-trary, born in the 1970s, they have taken fulladvantage of China's reform and opening-up to the outside world, and further enjoythe benefits brought by being better educat-ed than their generational predecessors.
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