July 07, 2015 08:21
The legions of so-called "herbivore men," or young men who are more interested in learning new skills or pursuing their hobbies than in dating women, have reached their prime marrying age. And it appears they merely bypassed dating for the sake of finding a life companion once they were ready.
Now the number of men who apply to matchmaking services surpasses that of women, who used to far outnumber them.
At Duo, Korea's largest matchmaking firm, women accounted for 57.5 percent of registered members and men just 42.5 percent in 2008. But late last year, men accounted for 52 percent for the first time, dwindling only slightly to 51.3 percent this year.
Over the last seven years, the number of female members grew 50.5 percent but the number of male members surged 120 percent.
Park Soo-kyung of Duo said, "The trend appears to stem from an increasing tendency among young Korean men to invest their time and money in attaining economic stability and developing their career."
Amid a tough job market and slow economy, more and more young men have come to view the time, effort and money needed for dating as a waste and prefer to look for their significant others through matchmaking companies.
Herbivore men also simply lack experience finding a date on their own. "We often see male clients who have very little knowledge of how to treat women because they have been spending most of their time pursuing jobs and succeeding in the office," a staffer with a matchmaking firm said. "Our couple managers need to give them tips on basic manners and even choose the locations for dates."
On the other side of the gender divide many professional women are in no hurry to get married and prefer to have casual relationships. These are accordingly known in Japan as "carnivore women," and they are less enthusiastic about marriage since having children could cost them their jobs.
A related development is the growing number of older women dating younger men.
Kwak Keum-joo, a psychology professor at Seoul National University, said, "This trend may be due to an imbalance created between herbivore men, who think dating expenses are a waste of money, and carnivore women."
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