#3. In China, There Are Way Too Many Men
Thirty-five years ago, in an effort to control the growth of its famously confusing phone books, China instituted a one-child policy among all its citizens. Along with a culture that vastly preferred male children, this led to a shocking spike in gender-selective abortion and infanticide, which has ultimately resulted in a present-day population that has vastly more men than women. Which has some pretty obvious impacts on the dating world; experts predict that 40 to 50 million men in China won't be able to get married. Ever.
ChinaFotoPress/Getty Images News
One of the saddest aspects of it is that it's hitting poor dudes harder than anyone else. Although we all cherish notions of romance and love at first sight, in general people will always tend to choose the most attractive partner available to them, with one of those factors being financial stability. And women in China are absolutely leveraging their scarcity to "marry up" -- one bachelorette on a TV dating show has famously said, "I would rather cry in a BMW than smile on the back of my boyfriend's bicycle." So for the poor guy who can't afford to own or even really look at a BMW, a bleak, lonely future seems all but inevitable.
Which is probably worse than the bleak, companioned future the rest of us have in front of us.
#2. In Japan, the Men Eat Grass
Meanwhile, in Japan ...
Koichi Kamoshida/Getty Images News
... they have kind of the opposite problem. I mean, they have enough men, on a strictly numerical basis at least, but their men are each bringing a lot less Man to the table. In recent years, Japan has noticed that a large number of young men seem to be completely uninterested in sex. Because the Japanese word for "sex" means essentially "hunger for the flesh," these men have been nicknamed "herbivores."
There aren't really anything more than theories about where these guys came from; the best I've seen suggests that the amount of pressure the Japanese place on their young may be backfiring in strange ways. Failures and setbacks are considered insurmountable obstacles, and being met not with resilience, but withdrawal. A young man who experiences some form of romantic rejection doesn't nut up and try again, but simply stops trying.
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(thinking) "I don't need this. I've got pillows I can fuck."
Oh yeah, that's a thing, too. It's part of the moe subculture and basically refers to Japanese men who fall in love and form romantic relationships with body pillows, or video games, or whatever other inanimate object meets their fancy.
Sure, why not.
This is more than a weird sex thing; it's a weird every thing. These guys take these pillows on dates, and picnics, and anywhere else you or I might take an awful smelly human woman. And they're not afraid of commitment either; here's a guy who married a character on his Nintendo DS.
Evan-Amos via Wikimedia Commons
Which makes your clumsy efforts to put your pee-pee in your NES look pretty tame.
This is slightly distressing for a few reasons, only some of which have to do with the fact that most of the girls printed on these body pillows are supposed to be about 12 years old. The men who do this often speak of how tainted real world relationships are by money and capitalism. To a man they almost all say how much more "pure" loving a 2D figure is. And of course loving an inanimate object is pure! You're never going to offend a figurine's feelings, or have to spend Thanksgiving holding in farts at your Game Boy's parents' place, or get in an argument with your pillow about the fucking dishwasher.
"No, I was not looking at that toaster oven's ass! And that's my personal catalog. STOP CONTROLLING ME."
Everything's always perfect when the object of your ardor doesn't fucking speak back.
#1. In Singapore, the Government Will Help You Get Laid
Singapore has an extremely low birthrate, something like half the rate needed to maintain the population. In part this is because of the relative wealth of Singaporeans, and the fact that wealthy, educated people around the world, in general, have fewer children than everyone else. The Singapore government, meanwhile, displaying a weakness for eugenics so rarely expressed publicly these days, seems to be very interested in convincing smart, wealthy people to start producing genetically desirable babies.
Who they imagine will also be smart and wealthy.
And so they created the Social Development Unit, a government agency whose sole purpose is helping young, professional Singaporeans to get their swerve on.
"... conditions of this grant are that you will make a good-faith effort to get over-the-pants action by no later than September 18 and ..."
Which is how the Singapore government became the country's biggest matchmaker. Tea dances, moonlight cruises, sock hops probably; all organized by the Social Development Unit, the only government body in history that has also published tips on the best places to have sex in cars.
"No. Like ... you both have to be in the back seat. Good try though. Very good try!" -Singaporean government
These efforts, to put it mildly, have been spectacularly unsuccessful, in a stunning reversal of everything you might have thought about government effectiveness. The birthrate has continued to drop, and over the past 30 years, only 30,000 couples or so have gotten married via these state efforts. A thousand marriages a year (from a population of 5.3 million people) isn't that great; the United States gets about that percentage of couples meeting in DMV lineups.
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"Excuse me, ma'am? Are those ass pants?"
Chris Bucholz is a Cracked columnist and desperately wants to hear you relate the tale of how you almost got to second base with a relative. Fill him in on Facebook or Twitter and make him reconsider that.