China Elevator Stories

“How Come You Married So Young?”

I chat with Ling, a female employee at a massage parlour in Shenzhen.


Ruth Silbermayr
Ruth Silbermayr


One day in August 2013 I go to get a massage. It’s the same place I’ve been to before and have spent talking to a 17-year old girl who not only made for an interesting conversation-partner, but is also teaching the other girls there. If you do this kind of job, there’s one backdrop though which is having to use your bare hands all of the time. When I go there this time, the 17-year old girl leads me upstairs and tells me: “I can’t do massages anymore.”
I ask her: “Is it because you’re allergic?”
She replies: “Exactly. But don’t worry, we assigned another girl who does her job really well.”

The girl is a woman one year younger than me who’s originally from Guangxi. After we talk about this and that, she asks me: “Are you married?”
I reply: “Yes, I am. I married 2 months ago.”
“How come you married so young?”
“Actually, I never thought I would marry this young. It took me by surprise. But 25 isn’t that young for marrying in China, is it?”

She says: “You’re right. I still think it’s really young. How did you meet?”
“We were sitting right next to each other at work.”
“So he saw you, thought you were beautiful and wanted to marry you?”
“Huh. I don’t think this is the main reason. We got along really well, loved to joke and simply had a million of topics to talk about with each other. Do you have a boyfriend?”

“I do. He’s from Hubei province.”
“So you’re not married yet, are you?”
“No, I’m not. We haven’t been together for very long.”

“How long have you been together?”
“About a year.”
“That’s already longer than I have been with my husband.”
“So you married really fast!”
“We did.”

Do you think marrying at 25 is young?

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