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November 15, 2009

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Relationship guru says being single not a disease

WHEN British author Mike Gayle started writing his first novel "My Legendary Girlfriend" 10 years ago, he was not really sure anyone -outside family and friends - would read it.

But he said he felt "amazing" as he spoke in Shanghai recently and discussed different love phenomenons in China and the United Kingdom.

After Gayle graduated from university, he watched classmates get jobs as journalists at BBC, Times and other well-known media while he began writing for teen magazines as an agony uncle helping girls with love problems.

He gradually found the questions his readers asked were pretty much the same as those his female friends asked: one, how can I get a boyfriend? Two, now that I have a boyfriend, what can I do with him? Three, I don't like him anymore, how shall I kick him away?

These experiences helped him form his first novel "My Legendary Girlfriend" that focuses on relationships between men and women.

Today, Gayle is a best-selling author with nine books on his resume.

He is also a freelance journalist who contributes to a variety of magazines including FHM and Sunday Times Style.

Q: As a writer specializing in love and relationships, what do you think of the phenomenon of "leftover woman" in China?

A: To tell you the truth, I have never heard of that before. This topic is brand new for me, and a little hard for me to understand.

In the UK, there are a lot of single women who are in their 30s or 40s. They are single but happy. My suggestion to those women who are "leftover" is that being single is not a disease, and be optimistic.

Q: Do you think "blind dates," which are popular but controversial in China, are a good way for "leftover women" to find their life partner?

A: Blind dates have not been a well-known phenomenon in the UK. What I am more familiar with is Internet dates. It is a good way, because as we get older, it's not easy for us to meet people. The thing is, you might meet some odd man through the Internet.

But if you wipe those people out, I think you still have a great chance to meet someone that suits you. I know some of my friends who have established long-lasting relationships through Internet dates. I think blind dates are quite similar with Internet dates.

Q: If one cannot find his or her true love at a suitable age, do you think it is a good idea to choose someone that is "suitable" instead?

A: That is a tough question. You can see this in two ways. On one hand, you are choosing the second-best, but on the other hand, perhaps you are too picky to begin with.

I know some of my female friends who were very picky in their 20s. They spent most of their 20s chasing someone that they knew wouldn't do.

When they came to 30, they realized that they had been chasing the wrong guy, but it was too late.

The wonderful guys they had ignored had already been caught by other girls. Is it unfair to explain it like this?

Q: A lot of women in China are obsessed by astrology. What do you think of the influence on this on love relationships?

A: I've never met a man asking me what star sign I was in the UK.

But after I arrived in China, I met five women who asked me what star sign I was in the first three hours, and they were all single.

I think women tend to believe in fate and uncontrollable power to bring about the right result, but men like to believe in controlling their own fate.

Astrology is just another way of confirming what you know about a relationship.

For example, we get along well just because I am a Virgo and he is a Leo, or we broke up because Pisces and Gemini do not match.

Q: Why do you choose novels to talk about relationships, rather than other styles?

A: Normally readers of books about relationships are women.

If you present a book about relationships to a man, he would rather chop his head than read it.

But novels are different.

In the UK, my books are equally read by men and women.


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