Cheesy Chat-up Lines for Chinese Lovers

It’s not a national holiday—but most young couples in China were celebrating. Why? Because it’s May 20

May 20 is not a national holiday—but most young couples in China are celebrating. Why? Because it’s 5/20 (520), in which the Chinese pronunciation of five sounds like 我 (wǒ), two sounds like 爱 (ài), zero sounds like 你 (nǐ): I love you (我爱你).

No one knows exactly how this day became so big: Some think it’s because of Fan Xiaoxuan’s song “Numeral Love” (《数字恋爱》), with its lyric “five two zero 是我爱你 (shì wǒ ài nǐ, 520 means I love you)”; other people think it’s just another internet holiday, like Double 11, promoted by merchants to make money.

No matter why, it’s still a native version of Valentine’s Day in which girls expect gifts and boys fret about what their girlfriends want. Every account on WeChat will have articles about how to pick gifts lover; a search for “gifts for girlfriend” on Taobao is like entering a whole new world. Most of the products on offer are typical of “straight guy aesthetic” (直男审美), and many of their recipients will not cry for joy (as advertised).

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Ziqi Wang is a contributing writer at The World of Chinese.

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