Suddenly the entire set starts to rotate around me and my insides begin to melt.
I feel like I'm trapped inside a Transformer which has just woken up.
My chosen date asked me on camera to say 我喜欢你 (Wǒ xǐhuān nǐ – I like you) to her in English.
In my anxiety I said ‘I love you’ – something I honestly never thought I would say on Chinese television to someone I’d just met. The matchmaker is still important in China One of the strangest things about the show was how the contestants (both Chinese and foreign) were given very little time to talk to each other directly.
On the Chinese show, called If You Are The One, instead of filming successful contestants on a date, a sponsorship deal with a travel agency gives you an all-costs-paid (and TV-camera-free) four-day holiday in the Maldives, one of the world's leading honeymoon destinations.
The show seemed to emphasise a long-term arrangement, with many of the questions revolving around the topic of marriage. ’ was a question that prompted some earnest debate.
Even the name of the show in Chinese 非诚勿扰 (Fēi chéng wù rǎo), emphasises the cultural difference – the phrase actually means ‘serious inquiries only’.
Just how good my Chinese is (or isn't) Part of my motivation for becoming a British Council Language Assistant was to learn Chinese.Chinese dating is a serious business The English equivalent of the show, Take Me Out, is generally light-hearted and casual.Successful 'couples' are whisked off to Tenerife or Cyprus for a date, which is filmed, and the result is shown on the next week's episode.In imperial times, there was a go-between in traditional Chinese marriages, who would act as negotiator between the two families involved, a bit like an estate agent.Although things have clearly changed since then, it's still common to hear talk of 条件 (tiáojiàn – conditions) in connection with relationships, as though dealing with a contract.The most important conditions are usually whether the man owns a car and a flat, which were always specified on the contestants' online profiles.