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More than skin deep|
Often when someone declares that they only want to date a certain type of person, others are quick to label them as vain and shallow, but according to the women who signed up for the speed-dating event, it is not just about looks.
"I lead a healthy lifestyle and exercise because I love myself and my body. I am eager to take care of it. It's the only asset I will have forever!" said Nigula.
She works in the sports industry in Beijing and says her favorite forms of exercise are cycling, CrossFit and hiking, which she does on average three to four times a week.
Nigula said although she has led a healthy lifestyle almost all her life, she has "never had a fit or even 'fitness junkie' partner," which is one of the reasons she decided to participate in the speed-dating event organized by GLO.
"Now, choosing a healthy partner is very important for me because I am very serious about eating healthy and would like to see someone who can motivate me or share the same interests and lifestyle," she said. "[For me] fitness is more than a sport or regular exercise. It is a tacit skill of mine, which means it is as important as breathing."
Yihua, a 36-year-old male IT worker from Guangdong Province who lives in Beijing, also signed up for the event and echoes Nigula's sentiments.
"You look for a partner who values what you value, and to me, it's being healthy and happy," he said. "I look for someone who can look fit, live well and think scientifically."
Carnisa Berry, an American relationship and life coach based in Beijing, said there is nothing wrong with wanting to date a person with a certain outward appearance as long as everything does not hinge on that attribute.
"We are all looking for the person that we are attracted to," she said.
"There has got to be an attraction that causes two people to get together. However, I would be cautious about building a relationship on just the physical because many people get into those types of relationships and then find out their values are different, or they don't understand that person's character."
Instead, Berry suggested that singles seeking new relationships should get to know the person they are attracted to "and get very clear about who you are dating."
Ultimately, she said it is mutual respect and understanding and not outward appearances that will help new relationships stick.
"I think the biggest thing in any relationship is that you honor and respect one another for your values. They don't have to be the exact same thing, but there must be a healthy level of acceptance. You don't want to be threatened by your mate's passion, which in this case, is their love for physical fitness. You don't have to love what they love, however, it's important to embrace it as a part of your mate's life."