fredag 3. mars 2023

How to Price a Bride: Paying the right sum is crucial to cementing one’s status in rural communities.

Bai, a doctor who runs a clinic in a largely rural county in northwestern China, is recognized throughout his home region as an honest and kind man. Over the past 20 years, he’s treated colds, delivered babies, and made regular house calls to elderly patients. He may not be as wealthy as some of the local businesspeople, but he is solidly middle class and his reputation was widely perceived as an asset for his son on the local marriage market.

That theory was tested in 2016, however, when Bai’s son met a local woman on a blind date. The pair quickly became engaged, but their plans hit a snag when the woman’s family requested a bride price of 180,000 yuan ($26,000). The problem wasn’t the sum — it was about average for the area and well within Bai’s means — but the message it sent. “I definitely could have afforded it,” Bai later told me in an interview. “But if I agreed to the price, people would definitely have laughed at me.”