|A scene from "Bride Wannabes"|
Called "Bride Wannabes", it follows five "blossomed women", those aged 30 and over in their pursuit of a husband.
The show got a lot of flack because the women underwent makeovers, from hair and makeup to even fixing their teeth, and consultants instructed them on how to conduct themselves to get men.
Psychiatrist Tsang Fan-kwong was critical of the advice. One of them said a woman should look at a man from a 45-degree angle and not to show excitement no matter what he says or promises. "Why 45 degrees? Why not 35 degrees? Any angle is good enough as long as the conversation is conducted naturally," he said. "Those 'professionals' on the show are merely making silly suggestions to earn money. They are shaming themselves."
Others say the show basically tells women to be fake in order to lure men.
I watched one episode on YouTube and it followed two women, Bonnie, 29, and Gobby, 30. Bonnie looks cute and seems eager to find a man and has two, Wood and Roxwell (yes strange names) pursuing her.
Two consultants, Pierce and Santino (more bizarre names) tell her not to act like she likes them too much otherwise she's giving herself away.
In one scene Roxwell takes her on a second date to a private kitchen where he knows the chef and actually cooks the main course, filet mignon, for her. Bonnie thinks this is really sweet, but the two male advisers warn her she's not the only woman he's cooked for.
Meanwhile Gobby is not as attractive and even has her teeth straightened a bit before going on her manhunt. She is intimidated by a pilot she is set up with as he uses a lot of English words she can't follow and then meets a photographer online. He says most Hong Kong women are the same, have the same expectations about dates, but he is looking for someone more interesting, but does not find it in Gobby, while she finds him quite high on himself.
The two women are then taken across the border to meet some mainland men where the ratio of men to women is much larger. Five men meet these two over a bottle of red wine and for some the language barrier is a challenge, but there are also cultural differences as Bonnie says they aren't as refined, but at the same time Gobby says Hong Kong men seem more focused on playing games on their smartphones.
In the end there were no sparks here but it was interesting to hear their different points of views about relationships.
We would prefer skipping the advice part of the show and spending more time following these women in their trials and tribulations in finding men in the city.
It's a show that reflects what's going on in Hong Kong, that women over 30 are having a hard time finding a mate, not only because there are less men than women in the city, but there is also the belief that the ladies here are more demanding and in many cases more successful than men, making it more intimidating to go out with them.
In the case of both sexes, there isn't much experience in dating and so there's miscommunication, weak ability to read body language or not mature enough to know what they really want out of a relationship.
Nevertheless, "Bride Wannabes" addresses the reality of the situation unlike soap operas or movies that for the most part have romantic endings that are only fairy tales.
Stay tuned -- there will be the male version of "Brides Wannabes" coming out... wonder how desperate the men are...