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Local men pass test on panty washings

THE long-standing rap on Shanghai men is that they're henpecked and care too much about their looks.

And the rap on Shanghainese - both men and women - is that they think they're better than people from other parts of China.

A new survey from the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, however, indicates that people are people pretty much wherever they live in China, and that any differences that did exist are largely being erased - apparently by the increased mobility brought by economic development.

The academy asked a series of lifestyle questions to 680 residents of Shanghai and other parts of the country in 2003 and again in 2008.

To gauge whether a man was henpecked, they asked whether he would wash out his wife's underpants, which, in China, is one of the ways these things are traditionally measured.

In 2003, 16.5 percent of the men from other towns said they had washed their wives' panties, compared with 11.3 percent of local respondents.

The 2008 figures showed that nearly 28 percent of men from outside Shanghai sudsed up, compared with 20 percent of the locals.

So, if the panty gauge is a true measure of being henpecked, the Shanghai men actually came out on the macho side.

As for never passing a mirror without stopping for a look, it seems like the Shanghai guys did about the same as the non-locals in 2008, though they were a bit more appearance-conscious in 2003.

Are Shanghainese of both genders really more stuck up? Maybe, but they're becoming less so.

In 2003, nearly 65 percent of the locals surveyed thought they were better than Chinese from other towns. In 2008, the figure was only 22 percent.

In the first survey, nearly 85 percent of the Shanghai residents thought their city was the best in China; last year the figure dropped to 35 percent.

But there was one huge difference between the two groups, and it was a bit surprising given that Shanghainese are supposed to more cosmopolitan than other Chinese.

Only about half of the Shanghai respondents said they would be willing to put their friends up at their home, while more than 85 percent of people from other towns said they were willing to do so.


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