Ask Chinese Girls: When Chinese Girl is Thirty Years Old

Gillian Chung

Gillian Chung - just a regular Chinese girl who this year celebrated her 30-th birthday

Few days ago LoveLoveChina was “accused” for not sticking to its credo.

Toki_Wartooth – the regular reader of this blog and the member of Shanghai Expats forum – wrote that he is interested to know about Chinese girls from Chinese girls and not from white men writing the guest posts.

Well… today we have a chance to take a topic which has been discussed a number of times in LoveLoveChina and compare how different are the opinions voiced by the blog’s readers from those of Chinese girls themselves.

As always the topic for this “Ask Chinese Girls” installment was taken from one of the questions left in FormSpring. Here it is:

What does the age of 30 mean to a Chinese girl? What must she have achieved or done at this age?



Here are some of the threads from LoveLoveChina forums in which this topics has been discussed before:

30 – is this such a big deal to Chinese girls?

Three Million Single Girls in Shanghai over the age of 25

What happens to Er Nai once they reach 30?

Chinese Girl at 30? Off to the Laowai scrapheap with you.

Do some Chinese women decide NOT to get married?

And below are the opinions given by Chinese girls.


30 years old woman is like a flower, she is at the peak of her femininity.

Time to get married !!

What must the 30 years old Chinese girl do? Keep being optimistic.
What must she achieve by this age? Gain happiness or make love very often.

By 30 years most things must be fixed. After that there will not be big changes in life.

I think that (a person) should really be independant at that age, be capable to take good care of parents and family and also have a stable job.

I think that the age of 30 years for women is an embarrassing stage – neither high nor low. Need to marry… But most have made little progress in their career yet.

It means that soon nobody will marry you.

In my opinion at 30 years we must have a stable job and satisfactory family [life]. If it’s suitable, then also should have a child and possess the economic capability and time to take care of the old. As for characteristics, we should be mature and responsible and have the motivation to keep moving forward.

For urban girls this is the best age. Women at this age should be independent at work. In this way, they can attract successful men.

I think that at 30 years women begin to be real women.

At 30 years most people are stable already. After that there are not many changes. By 30 years they should succeed both in personal life and career. If they don’t have these two things by thirty, it will be more difficult in the future.

Chronological age doesn’t stand for anything. We have to be young in heart to be able to live more interesting life.

If not married yet, the first thing I think of is shengnv.

Women at 30 years old like to nag.

[At 30] Especailly if they are mothers, they know how to take care of others and understand people’s feelings. But they are also willing to recall the cuteness of their girlhood.



– Age of thirty is an important milestone in the life of Chinese girl.

– Upon reaching it she is expected to have a stable career and satisfactory :roll:  family (be married + child).

– If she hasn’t achieved these goals, it’s very likely that she will be “sheng nv” (leftover girl).

– It’s time to take care of family and elder parents.

– Some women think that no major changes are expected in life from 30 years on… while others feel that this is the time when Chinese women are at the peak of their femininity and should enjoy life.

One year till reaching the 30 y.o. mark, Crystal Tao

41 comments to Ask Chinese Girls: When Chinese Girl is Thirty Years Old

  • Nick

    That young lady in the picture certainly looks to be at her “peak of femininity”. Wow! (Especially her eyes… what is it about Chinese ladies’ eyes?) She looks like she should be fighting the suitors off with a quandao or something.

    I guess Chinese men have a very different standard of beauty. Well – it seems that these differing standards work to the advantage of all of us waiguoren who take the time to learn about Chinese culture.

    If she’s half as nice as she is pretty, she would be an absolute jewel.

    Speaking of Crystal’s cute friends – what ever happened to Gugu – the one with the really pretty smile?

  • I see no problem at all for a girl reaching this age. Chinese guys, on the other hand, like ’em young.

    I know a girl who is 29 and she was dumped recently by her long term boyfriend because his parents didn’t approve of her. Now the poor girl is panic stricken as the big three oh is just round the corner.

    In western countries it would appear that there is a gradual waning in ‘attractiveness’ or ‘desireability’ after a woman reaches 30, but in China it seems that she reaches 30 and a huge tap shuts off everything in her life.

    Who could be a Chinese woman? Tough life that.

  • My wife will be thirty this summer and even though she’s married with a 1-year-old baby, she still half-jokingly laments reaching this milestone (especially since I’m a year and a half younger than her :lol: ). She doesn’t fully subscribe to Chinese timetables but she’s Chinese and she can’t help but be influenced by the culture she grew up in. I think if she wasn’t married and didn’t have a house and child, she would feel a bit less secure in herself than she is now (though she wouldn’t be a panic-stricken basket case like so many Chinese girls are at this age :roll: ).

    30 years old is an entirely artificial cultural construction that the Chinese have shackled themselves with and I say if someone is so weak-willed to let a specific age determine their state of mind, regardless of cultural norms and nagging parents, I say fuggedaboudit.

  • hubeijames

    I don’t feel rushed at all because of this cultural artifact. If I get to 35 and I’m still not married, I’ll be able to come to China and grab a 剩女. :cool:

  • Is marrying a foreign guy their only option? It’s pretty sad for them if it is.

  • China’s gonna be pretty weird on a social level in 9 years.

    Millions of shengnu in the cities and millions and millions of bare branches in the countryside.

    Kind of like a zombie movie.

    Zombies….. They’re creepy.


  • Moroes

    Picture of a Hong Kong celebrity so happily smiling. Well Duh Hong Kong girls are not effected by the 30 year old Sheng nv case. In Hong Kong the girls have theirs extended til they reach 40 years of age. Hey girls in the West face similar left over girl cases when they reach the age of 40. Especially when they get their first wrinkle.

    Girls in China just live life in a faster lane. Get married in the 20s. Suffer mid life crisis in her 30s. Become grandma in her 50s. Didn’t expect to live so long in her 60s. Become great grandma in her 70s. Still living long in her 80s. Become Great great grandma in her 90s. Suppose to live to 120 but the 2nd hand smoke finally kicked in and killed her in her 100s!

    Its probably caused by the old generation where they pass away in their 70s. So they schedule their lives faster.

  • Fun Fact: Scientific studies have shown that womans libido peaks in their 30s :smile:

    • ….and 18 years old for a man, the only problem is at 18 they are useless at it! They get ten out of ten for enthusiasm mind you.

      Putting them together is definitely a good idea. I believe the French used to do that to some degree and the older woman would teach the young male how to ‘you know what’…. ooh la la.

  • Serenity

    The most logical course of action is for the shengnu concept to die out. With the huge gender imbalance, there’s already going to be a ton of single men in the future, why would they make it worse than it should be by not accepting older women? It’ll become a choice between culture and practicality. All very fascinating. But I find myself a little saddened thinking of all the Chinese dudes and Shengnu-ren without a partner and constantly pressured into finding one.

    • The bare branches will take younger women. In the future we will see 35 year old Chinese guys from the countryside taking a 20 year old wife.

      The shengnu are a lost generation. It will happen for one or two generations then die out.

      Kind of weird though. A whole group of women that will just be left alone.

  • Kevin

    I used to be jealous of all your commenters, Crystal. Then I clicked the link to the forum “discussion” with Toki_Wartooth. If that’s the price one has to pay for more comments, I prefer our modest volume. Not that Toki wants to understand anything but how to get his aggression out as safely and quickly as possible, but if it were otherwise, he would have considered two facts before unleashing:

    1. Han girls in majority-Han cultures who want to write anything in depth on this kind of stuff are only a little less rare than hen’s teeth, mostly because an authoritarian education, dumb cookie-cutter ideas that permeate the culture, and the “harmony” value all combine to create a lot of daydreaming and fantasy which they don’t want to disturb in themselves through any analysis.

    2. What men could benefit from understanding about women, few women know how to explain; and what women can explain about themselves, any guy with an IQ over 90 can figure out for himself.

    • I’d like to second Kevins’ comment. Especially point one…although point two is also valid.

      ‘Hens teeth’ is very apt description.

      I think people should be very careful also if they are getting an overall broad view of Chinese females by using Crystal as a benchmark….Crystal is exceptional and a highly uncommon individual within Chinese culture.

      It’s a rarity in my experience to meet someone who can analyze and present information in the fashion Crystal does for English speakers. The Chinese language structure and thought process just doesn’t lend itself to the western logic at all.

  • Jazz

    I’m a 18 year old Chinese girl & I can easily pass for 14, 15. I don’t necessarily think it’s fair to judge them as sheng nui by the time they’re thirty if unmarried..many Chinese girls are extremely young looking not to mention immature & so by 30 are really more like 25. Does age really matter? With a lot of people, if they didn’t mention they were 30, no one would know!

    • Very true Jazz. I have met some girls in their 30’s that could pass for 12-year-olds – that’s how young they can be. That could be the very problem.

      The main problem is that despite what Chinese women say about being thirty and using terms like ‘independent’ and ‘career’, in China the social rules and culture is very much male-dominated and, as far as I know, Chinese guys (and their mothers) have no interest in women over the age of thirty.

      Pick a career or a family, because in China you can’t have both.

      I know of two girls that I can think of that are both coming up to mid-thirties now. Both still talking about finding ‘Mr Right’ etc etc… It’s very sad.

      Mother Nature may be female but one thing she is not and that’s a feminist.

      • Jazz

        Yeah, no I agree but the thing is aren’t the women supposed to have a career AND a family? Cause unless the guy has a very high paying job, most families have to have both parents working. I’m not even particularly a feminist at all but it seems ridiculous just how much stigma there is attached to 30, having a good career until then surely means the child will then be very well provided for afterwards & it’s not like 30 is the cut off mark for fertility.

        • How much is there a stigma attached to being 30 in Western countries? It seems that in China it is huge.

          And of course there is no cut off point in fertility, but in China there seems to be this old wives tale that women just cannot have a baby after 30. That’s why there is such a large number of girls over 30 and single now. Chinese society/culture writes them off.

          I feel sorry for these girls. As China developed and went through rapid change, these girls grew up and went to university, got jobs, did everything that before only a guy would do, then has to be the innocent, cute little wife. She has to do everything – be the powerful modern woman and the traditional Chinese woman at the same time.

          No wonder they look shell shocked all the time.

        • Zvi

          It’s not the cut-off mark for fertility Jazz, but it’s too close for comfort. Birth defects begin to become rather unremarkable and common by the time the woman is 30. For men, fertility issues don’t become a serious problem until much later. It’s not impossible for a family to survive on the income of only one parent, it’s just not iPadilicious; your friends will leave you in the dust in the world of materialism, but at least your children will trounce them in the next generation, because they had a mother. ;)

          • Thor

            For both men and women, problems start rather after the age of 35. Ideally, the best couple, health wise, would be a teenage father (the younger, the more mobile spermatozoids are) and a 25 years old mother.

  • Kevin

    Yes, Sam, Crystal is far from the norm, praise Allah. She’s a good editor, too.

  • Wombadan

    If shes not married by then, go and do an MBA overseas and find some white [censored] to look after her becoz she ain’t making it work in Shanghai.

  • Guy

    People need to really get over it. What is the big deal if a girl reaches 30 anyway. Everyone should be independent. Honestly, a spouse and a family is really no longer necessary in life. Trying to satisfy some imaginary timetable will only lead to divorce or difficulties in the marriage. I have read that over 25% of women walking down the aisle knew that their partner wasn’t the one they wanted to marry but yet did it anyway.

  • Kevin

    Agreed, Guy. Women East and West could be thinking about whole new paradigms such as clubbing together in groups to ease the time-cost of taking care of children so that each mom can still work — and not bother with marriage at all. This way they can choose “good genes” fathers and even get the dad to sign a child-support contract that he must adhere to in order to see his kid.

  • Louisa

    Off topic but Toki if you’re actually a lurker on this here site, I just wanted to say I forgive you for the jab you had at me. Mostly because I feel sorry that you’re always going to be under Skwisgaar’s shadow and for the awesome cat song.

    You’re still my favorite Norwegian. :)

  • Qing

    I turned 30 this year too and I love it! I look forward to aging and having a robust spirit like our 90 yr old mayor Hazel! I was so lost in my 20s!! When I hear people tell me things like I’m not a successful woman because I don’t have my own family, a house, a career, etc etc…. all I gotta say is, if they were successful by their standard… then why bother with my business? why judge? comparison is just another word for insecurity! It’s none of their business what I do with my life, it’s MINE, I only get to live it once and to be rushed into the choices someone else made is ludicrous!

    “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens” – Ecclesiastes 3:1

  • sfphoto

    When Chinese “girls” turn 30 years old, here’s what happens to them:


    M(t) = Market value of Chinese “girls” as a function of time, from a scale of 0-100
    t = Time representing age of the “girls” expressed in units of years
    F(t) = Factor representing the age group influencing probability of finding a mate


    t = 20 to 24, then F(t) = 1 /* hot chicks */
    t = 25 to 29, then F(t) = 0.5 + (0.1 * (30 – t)) /* young girls */
    t = 30 to 34, then F(t) = 0.1 * (35 – t) /* mature women */
    t = 35 to 40, then F(t) = 0 /* shengnu */
    t > 40, then F(t) = indeterminate /* laonu*/


    for t = 20 to 40, M(t) = 100 * F(t).
    for t > 40, M(t) = -oo

    Confucius says: “What are worse than shengnu are laonu…at least the shengnu can snag a laowai but a laonu…”

  • T R

    The west has no stigmas like this. In the west, all women are pretty much like the shanghai women, Ruthless selfish gold diggers, but with some differences. Western women, well the LAST thing on their mind is marriage, period, at any age, unless they finally meet that RICH bad boy room charmer super tall, make all their girlfriends jealous guy, then marriage is certain (if she wins out of the other 300 of his harem) Most women have all their kids by the age of 23 if your looking online, but the ones who aren’t online are likely to wait until 27. Most women would rather be the ‘chosen ignorant’ to his mass harem just for a shot at being the one for rich guy. She will commit adultery anyway because shes got the money anyway in the courts. You always hear the groups of 17-23 girlfriends together talking about “your supposed to trade up!!” to each other. The “Jewish princesses” in NYC are in every major city now. Very few have any dignity going dutch. They are all easy and most could not ever imagine going a whole month without sex. They prowl for sex partners as much as men do. They are “well aware” of pussy power and teach each other how to use it to manipulate men for money in fact there are courses about it all over now and they are very popular amongst women, for 10 years now including “how to marry a millionaire” and “how to step ladder men to the life you’ve always dreamed of” There is a massive shortage of women growing in the west as well, due to all the gay and lesbian women. Due to prostitution being illegal in most of the west, there are millions of marriage frauds going around ripping men off so they don’t go to jail or become crims, only real prostitutes are much more honorable because both are having sex for money, but the prostitute is up front and honest about it. Western men are usually pigs but there is a rapidly growing group of men who just can not find a decent woman anywhere. With the massive rise in excessive obesity in the west it is nearly impossible for a western guy to find a woman with any visual body femininity. (not style but body) Western women complain that “why would they buy the cow when they can have the milk for free” who the hell wants a cow? eww. Western women worship and idolize sex in the city and desperate housewives and run around in packs bragging about heir adulterous conquests and encouraging their friends to do the same. Finding western women who have had multiple abortions isn’t just the norm but nearly expected. Its the #1 cause of death in north america over twice the 2nd cause of heart disease. If you compare online dating profiles between the west and asia you will see some of the most vomitous superficiality you have ever experienced in your life looking at the western ones vs the very loving eastern ones, the superficiality in China could not possibly be as bad as the west, even if the level on this website. Western women are the last people in the world to rate any of the traditional values high on the list of things they seek in a partner in comparison with eastern. Western women don’t even think about marriage when they want to “have a baby” for THEIR lives or ‘feel good style purse’ that will get them attention and admiration from friends. They look at men merely as sperm donors, father contributors for THEIR baby, and wallets, or something to make them feel good about themselves like a new iphone would, or that will make their friends feel jealous. Giving to a man is nowhere in their thoughts and is usually a concept they find hard to understand or scoff at if discussed, and at best they will thing you are talking about being decent in bed which they will want to pride themselves on, its not actually about giving. There are so few attractive women in the west after 25 as they have all had kids from multiple dads, are beyond fat, tattoos all over, and are open Rosie Odonnel style pigs, that any feminine women have harems of 3-10 serious guys chasing them at any given time, and many more flings at will on a daily basis as men are starved for fit attractive women unlike in china. There is a difference in churches, but in the west most churches in “western” communities are empty of anyone born 1975 or less and in many places if you go to church you are chastized and reviled by most of the gen x or gen y groups. Women seldom ever talk about finding mister right, they are beyond thinking he exists from a very young age because they are not in any way interested in traditional values. Few women are loyal and fewer faithful. new surveys show women under 25 have twice as many sexual partners by 25 then men do in the west. (what men say no?) and with women totally liberated to be as slutty as they want and everyone encouraging them to be even sluttier than the next girl, its just one big slut race. Look at me look at me, I have the most cake! Sick, but true. I have dated tons of women, all gold digging man shopping pigs but two. One cheated, the other is in heaven. Every one of my college mates has been divorced by an adultress, every, single, one. 20+ China HAS to have a better record than the west, as there are some noticeable values there unlike the west. The whole concept of marrying and having a family/child is almost completely unheard of in the west now outside of church.

    • Thor

      Congratulations, you win the very coveted prize of the dumbest over-generalizing post ever sent on this board. I’d be curious to know your actual extent of knowledge about “the west”. You sound like coming from one of those east-west match-making agencies, in a nutshell you have something to sell.

  • Just me again

    Our eyes aren’t always big, ya know. I mean, I have normal eyes, but look like I’m sad…oh well

  • Silvio m

    Well, I like an asian girl in my city, and she has 33 years, so it mean she will LIKE if I ask her dating ?
    Iam 37 years old, and I’m a single man.
    I don’t know if she will say «yes» or «no».. But as she has 33 years old, maybe she desires to have a relationship

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