I should probably confess a secret little obsession that M and I share..
We can’t get enough of a Chinese dating show. Strange as it might sound, six nights a week, M and I sit down to dinner over an hour-long episode of If you are the one and laugh and cringe and look at each other with wtf?! clearly written over our faces.
Fei Cheng Wu Rao apparently translates literally to, “If you’re not sincere, leave me alone” or something to that effect, but I personally think the English title, If you are the one is more catchy (even if the original name carries hints of the true brutality of the show.)
In the show twenty four women face off against 4-6 male candidates over the course of one hour and the men try and impress with a few videos, general chit-chat and usually a bad karaoke performance or some other ‘talent show’ e.g dancing, cooking, spinning nunchuck’s to the tune of Gangnam Style etc.
The friend’s video section, or as M and I like to say, the section where your friends fuck you over, is usually where candidates receive most of their rejections. Sometimes the comments are funny, harsh or a little too truthful:
The show is broadcast on Australian channel SBS, which is a semi-government-funded commercial channel and has English subtitles (which I have a feeling are not always the best.)
While some of the special women on the show are interesting:
the unique men are also interesting:
We also find the reasons for rejection are often brutal and hilarious:
The show is also a bit of a window into modern Chinese culture. The emphasis on family accepting the prospective partner and the common question, ‘Will you live with my parents?’ to a ‘western’ ear are particularly unusual. My experience in Japan gave me a little insight into filial piety, but I have to say that most Japanese are not nearly as concerned about their family as most Chinese on this show seem to be.
While Japanese people can be equally brutal about your appearance and comments like, ‘You’re fat!’, ‘Your nose is big!’ or ‘You smell like a foreigner!’ are pretty normal, some of the observations of the Chinese ladies are much more imaginative:
‘You look like a noodle.’
‘Your head looks like a carrot.’
‘You look squeezable.’
And the men can be as equally as imaginative too:
M and I are now such seasoned viewers that we pretty much know within the first minute or so whether a guy is going to go home with a date. Sometimes it’s the guy’s appearance that makes the girls turn off their light, sometimes it’s his poor Gangnam style dance as he comes out or sometimes it’s because he spends the whole time talking about how his previous girlfriend used to hit him hard and now he wants a girl who will only hit him a ‘little bit’.
I spend a fair bit of the show trying to read the Chinese characters and getting a hint of what they are talking about and I’ll pick up a few words of Mandarin here and there that I know or that sound similar to the Japanese words. M meanwhile, spends his viewing time checking the footwear and will exclaim with excitement if there is a girl wearing boots (‘Boots!!! Thigh-high, black, number 22!!’) and he always loves commenting that the Chinese songs are ‘weird’ and have ‘weird lyrics’. I’m pretty sure he hasn’t looked at the lyrics of some of the songs that ‘western’ culture has produced lately:
“And I make that pussy tap out, I knock that pussy out cold
Nigga you get beat the crap out but that’s just how the dice roll
These hoes want that hose pipe, so I give all these hoes pipe
She get on that dick and stay on, all night like porch lights.”
(Thank you for that poetic genius Lil’ Wayne.)
Anyway, if you don’t have the show on tv here are plenty of clips on Youtube for you to watch and discover the quirky goodness that is If you are the one (if you are the one who hasn’t already.)