Hi, girls. Tomorrow may be your best chance to grab a date and perhaps a man for life. Hong Kong is so short of them. For every 1,000 of you there are 852 men.
But it’s usually at festive periods that males grow edgy if they don’t have a date. And if they do find one it often ends in marital bliss.
Step forward James Mak Yiu-pong, dating consultant extraordinaire. He says the best chance for female singles is now.
“I once got a call on December 22, late at night, from a man who wanted a girlfriend before Christmas," he recalled. He managed it.
Why call Mak?
Because he runs dating agency Matching Loves.
Men come calling from mid-November to Valentine’s Day, he says, but they’re quiet from April to July. In fact, Mak did not receive any calls from men in 2016 while there was a stream of females – about 300.
Mak says this highlights the acute gender imbalance in Hong Kong.
And jarringly unkind is an unmarried female over 30 being called “a leftover woman."
It costs HK$600 to join his club, and each blind date costs HK$1,500. Such a cost does not deter singletons, with Mak’s firm enjoying a 40-percent growth in 2017.
No surprise, the number of female clients is almost double the male count. But Mak also finds plenty of millenials among clients when “traditionally we would imagine only people in their 30s would use our services."
In fact, female clients between 24 to 40 can be on the lookout for a partner. Men around 21 are also reliable callers, but not so the over 35s.
“Men generally look for younger girls while women look for older men, meaning they get more choices as they age," adds Mak.
Mak’s business success shows traditional matchmaking can thrive despite the arrival of dating apps.
So a partner could be a click away on platforms like Tinder, but Mak believes there is no substitute for bespoke matchmaking. “Some may ask why pay thousands just to meet someone? Well, we run background checks on all clients, while you never know if the other person on an app is a scammer."
Mak is getting married this year, though he describes himself as “fat and ugly." But it took 44 blind dates to find his perfect girl. That eventually led him into capitalizing on his experiences by playing Cupid himself.
Since launching Matching Loves in February 2016 the firm has a record of helping make more than 400 couples, and just now it has about 400 active members.
Mak said females should not be shy by putting themselves forward. “Do you think you can get a boyfriend sitting at home and waiting for men to chase you? Be pragmatic."
As for this Valentine’s, if there’s nothing already arranged go carefully. As Mak says, “I understand no one wants to be lonely on this day, but it’s difficult to book a table in a good restaurant at the last minute."