1. In the ’90s, four Nanjing University bachelors chilled at their dorms and wondered why there weren’t holidays for singles.
2. According to interweb lore, they conferred over these breakfast pastries and found a great idea.
“Have y’all noticed how, like, one is the loneliest number??”
3. So they declared 11/11 Single’s Day — a fete for the uncoupled to pamper themselves, party, and give gifts to secret crushes.
4. What had begun as cheeky counterculture gradually became one of China’s biggest party days.
Karaoke lounges get booked through, shopping malls offer doorbuster sales, and clubs host major speed-dating events.
5. By 2012, Nov. 11 trumped Black Friday as the world’s busiest online shopping event.
Tmall.com alone raked in $3 billion on 2012’s Single’s Day.
6. And like Valentine’s Day itself, people were growing kind of sick of it.
7. Meanwhile, in another country, folks were getting way fed up with all V-Day related activities.
Some Kuso pranksters in Taiwan (think 4chan sensibilities) started a meme called 去死去死團, which roughly translates to the Go Straight To Hell Coalition. It’s not as threatening to couples as it sounds. When a friend breaks up, you can throw a bash welcoming him/her back into the unofficial group.
9. On V-Days, they organize flash mobs and throw big karaoke parties.
11. Hey, you would too if your country celebrated both Qixi Lover’s Day and the Western V-Day.
Taiwan sometimes also celebrates White Valentine’s on March 14, when women are supposed to buy chocolates for their beaus.
And you thought you were sick of V-Day.
12. On these days, couples are known to dress like this:
Couple’s shirts make pretty brisk business.
13. In the hipper, younger neighborhoods, couples are treated like VIPs at every restaurant.
Some places give out free drinks and desserts if couples kiss on the spot. Others have menus specifically catered for folks on dates. Typically they suggest pork, salads, and citrusy foods for women, and savory, meatier foods for men.
If all of this sounds commercial and overbearing to you — you’re right, it totally is.
14. In Chinese net-slang, all of these are crimes of 閃光 (“flashing”) – humblebrags of sweet coupledom.
15. So every year, the merry V-Day pranksters take to the streets and cause havoc.
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