Chinese ‘love guru’ helps lonely hearts

A “love coach” is being
used to try to inject some romance into China’s jaded dating scene.

Chris Wu charges $65-a-head for a
class that teaches Chinese men how to meet and talk to women.

In a crowded meeting room in a
Beijing office block, China’s answer to Will Smith’s character in the movie
Hitch has a simple message for his pupils – first impressions count.

“Dress in a mainstream
way,” he instructs his pupils – most of whom are successful professionals.

“For instance, make sure the
colour of your socks matches the colour of your trousers.”

Mr Wu himself is sharply styled and
wears his hair in a 1970s-style quiff popular with Chinese celebrities.

Though some critics have labelled
Mr Wu a pick-up artist – much like Smith’s character – he insists he is
facilitating relationships, not helping men to lure women into bed.

That may be particularly valuable
in China, where matchmaking tends to focus on financial compatibility.

Personal ads typically avoid
questions of religion or personal taste but are expected to state a prospective
partner’s monthly income and tangible assets.

“You don’t spend your life
with someone’s car or their house,” said 26-year-old Mr Wu, who is in a
steady relationship.

“You have a relationship with
a person. So you have to be able to communicate your feelings. But some people
overlook that.”

Mr Wu is not the only one who finds
China’s singles scene overly materialistic.

The government recently instructed
the country’s television dating shows to “maintain core Socialist
values” and avoid “dark and decadent topics”.

The directive came after a scandal
on If You Are The One, China’s highest-rating reality TV programme.

When asked whether she could be
happy riding on the back of a man’s bike, contestant Ma Nuo replied that she
would “rather cry in the back of a BMW”.

The controversy sparked a debate in
China’s lively internet chat rooms, where some applauded her honesty while
others labelled her a gold-digger.