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    A romantic encounter of brains & hearts

    By ZHANG LEI | China Daily | Updated: 2021-03-27 09:57
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    The gender imbalance adds fuel to the blind date phenomenon as women feel more compelled than men to be involved in such encounters. [Photo provided to China Daily]

    They say they are picky about who to be involved with, but in the end are they really just snobs?

    In snowbound old alleyways of Beijing in late November, as children frolic about and couples hold hands, winter's first snow brings to the capital, notorious for its biting winds and dry air, feelings drenched in romance.

    For the first snowfall brings with it a "merry match", a 985 blind date being held in a restaurant named Museum of Love in the 798 Art District. Just as snow seems to draw people closer together, to the extent even of a warm embrace, the very name of the 985 blind dating events seems to be devised to push some apart.

    985 refers to the prestigious project 985 group of elite Chinese universities comprising Tsinghua University and Peking University in Beijing and 37 others. Those who want to take part in this event must have graduated from one of those 39 higher education institutions. Young men and women are looking forward to meeting their ideal partner here and-who knows?-going on to breed the next elite generation.

    At 2 pm, the restaurant at the northeastern corner of the art district is packed with young men and women, all with umbrellas for fear of the rain and snow messing up their well-fitting professional attire and meticulously groomed hair.

    A blind date agency has booked the restaurant, and Su Meixin, a timid young woman and a graduate of Tsinghua who often ridicules herself for living the "delivery life"-an existence in which people stay at home on weekends and rely on delivered food-is particularly nervous about the "eight-minute blind talk" section.

    At the restaurant entrance participants are given the guest information form, and a number corresponding to the one on the form is attached to their chest. On one side of this detailed form is information about the 100 male guests, and on the other about the 100 females.

    The eight-minute date consists of three men and three women. After eight minutes' free chat the men move to the next table.

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