Chinese man jumping in river reveals the hidden side of arranged marriages

“Matchmaker, matchmaker, make me a match…”
-Fiddler on the Roof

Millennial pop cultural news website Elite Daily reported on an interesting story over the weekend that your correspondent thinks is highly legitimate insofar as men’s issues are concerned. A Chinese man named Kang Hu attempted to commit suicide by drowning himself in a nearby river rather than marry his intended bride, 30 year old Na Sung, for being “too ugly” and citing the serious damage it would do to his image. After being rescued by a policeman and a foreman using a rope tied around Kang’s chest to haul him out of the drink, Kang said the following:

“I feel bad about what happened, but when I saw her, she wasn’t what I expected, and I realized she would be bad for my image. My parents had arranged this and I couldn’t see any way out apart from suicide.”

The story immediately resonated with yours truly because I know firsthand what it’s like to have a homely gal foisted upon you by kith and kin – something I’ve discussed at some length previously – and the story has great interest because it belies the notion in our time of arranged marriages being something that is oppressive only to women. While no doubt women can indeed suffer under the yoke of such arrangements, the assumption and indeed the presentation of these issues in the wider advocacy press is that women women alone can and will suffer under such circumstances – never men. Kang Hu proves that to be false.

How so?

Well, the dirty little secret that no one wants to openly confront is that very often, arranged marriage was a way to palm off a less than comely lass – and quite a few sons were stuck with such a bargain. No man if he can choose it, wants to be paired off with the equivalent of Quasimodo. There. I said it. Being the Homely Gal with a Heart of Gold might sell box office tickets and fuel our romantic notions of what love and romance should be, but in real life no man who can choose it, chooses a to put a ring on a busted chick.

I’m just saying.

Perhaps what’s most interesting about the story, are the comments from the ED’s readership – many of them were of the “he’s nothing to write home about himself!/he’s so shallow!/beauty is in the eye of the beholder!” variety – all coming from female readers. If the shoe were on the other foot though – a pretty young Jungmädel being wedded off to a decidedly older/ugly man – I am sure the righteous indignation would never end. Which proves my point yet again, that women taken together as a group (NAWALT but EWALT), simply do not care about the interests, desires or needs of men, and indeed see them as illegitimate, crude, base, even “evil”, degenerate and reprobate. The premise is that regardless of a woman’s outer appearance, her “inner beauty” somehow entitles her to a boyfriend, a relationship, or a husband – and if she fails to acquire these things, it isn’t her fault, it’s the fault of a misogynist society that cruelly judges her for failing to make the grade.

Of course, if a man fails to make the grade along the metrics that women’s desire in any of the aforementioned areas yet still desires a mate, well, he’s an entitled prick who needs to grok that life ain’t fair, and oh, Man Up.

Even assuming that the ED’s lady commentariat was right and Kang was no hearthrob himself, so what? Why should people continue to peddle the lie that less than attractive people are somehow or should be jumping up and down for joy at the prospect of being yoked, forever, to someone just as jacked up as themselves? People are trying to upgrade, because no one in that situation wants a daily reminder of how bad life is for them – hence my argument that assortative mating is hardly the panacea that some in our time try to make it out to be. There’s a lot of fine print involved and if anything, goes to explain how and why there is so much suffering in our world today.

No “3” is hankering at the prospect of getting together with another “3”. Please don’t believe the hype. Shrek was a movie.

At any rate, I can fully relate to Kang Hu – I too would have rather been waterboarded in a noble site somewhere in Eastern Europe by the CIA, rather than contend with the prospect of bedding or even being in the same room with Ms. “But She’s So Nice!” – and the rank emotional manipulation at work on the part of one’s own flesh and blood who are supposed to at the very least care about their kin, once again belies any notion that men don’t have legitimate issues in our time (in this case, those of very basic respect and trampling over their boundaries), issues that in point of fact women themselves are at least partially at fault for.

If I could counsel Kang, I would tell him this: not only does he need to get as far away from the gal his parents tried to set him up with as humanly possible, he should get as far away from his parents as humanly possible, too – because their actions have proven that they mean him nothing good.

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