Weibo users in China have taken a nostalgic turn today due to the latest trending hashtag #MyFirstLoveHasGotMarried (#我的初恋，她结婚了#). The topic caught my eye after writing an article on wedding photography, and I felt it was interesting to see the other side of China’s often fairytale-like weddings. The hashtag has already been discussed by thousands of Weibo users, and asks the question: “My first love has got married, how should I feel? Do you remember your first love?” It all raises a generally modern social problem wherein people no longer marry their first partner, and it all seems as if the internet is unsure as to how to respond to this relatively contemporary phenomenon.
In response, some netizens have posted photographs of their first loves as well as sharing a survey that offers answers such as “It doesn’t matter, we’re over already,” “I’m not going to his wedding, it’ll be too awkward,” and “I’d still feel a bit hurt, after all, he is my first love.”
The vast majority of netizens have shared a positive response, in short saying that they wouldn’t be saddened to hear news that their first love was getting married and that it would be natural to wish them the best, however others have lamented the thought of receiving an invitation to their first love’s wedding, or even complained about not having a partner in the first place:
“I probably wouldn’t be notified about it, and I’d be sad for a while and then it would be fine. Basically I’d be sad that I wasn’t notified about it!”
“Yep, it’s this year.”
“I found out two days ago on my news feed, and then saw their honeymoon pictures. I don’t know how to describe it, it’s not as if I don’t like it, but I was a bit choked up to find out so suddenly.”
“Where is my first love…?”
“Found out they were getting married yesterday, it’s not unexpected, I just wished them well.”
“I got married first!”
Others humourously posted photos of their favourite celebrities beside comments over how heartbroken they were that they might one day marry.
On the other hand, for a handful of netizens the topic has a happy ending. Posting a wedding photo under the hashtag, one user simply writes: “The bride is me.” Others have posted similar comments accompanied by their own wedding photographs.
Furthermore, users also circulated a short Miaopai video featuring a woman discussing her first love: “We’ve already been apart for 3 years,” she begins, staring wistfully at a cityscape and holding a rusty love-padlock. “I don’t know what your life is like now, or whether you miss me as much as I miss you.” Suddenly, the woman’s phone trills – a message from a contact marked only as “Him” reads “Are you there?” The woman smiles and responds, only for “Him” to answer, “My son is in a cute baby contest, help me vote for him!” leaving the woman with a crushed expression and spurring her to immediately block him.
The video ends with a laugh track, and many netizens have seen the humerous side of the situation, laughing at the video’s conclusion. “I was preparing to cry, and then the ending was like that! Haha!” commented one Weibo user.
While responses have garnered mixed emotions, the majority of contributors have identified themselves as female. The hashtag itself literally translates to “He’s got married,” rather than “He/she/they’ve got married.” It’s unclear as to why the conversation has been framed in this way. However, one Korean music video that appeared under the hashtag has attracted thousands of responses for its depiction of a spurned male lover. At first, it is assumed that he is yearning for the newly-wed bride in the video as he cries over a photo of her and her new husband. Nevertheless, after a series of shots showing his pained expressions at their wedding, the ending shows him wistfully piecing two torn photographs of himself and the groom together, revealing that he actually has feelings for the woman’s husband.
Posting the video, user @盐城米老板 writes “Happy, sad, angry, tender, I’ve seen all parts of you. I just want you to finally see that you don’t belong to this part of me.” The video has so far been reblogged and commented on thousands of times. One user, tagging their friend, commented: “Have you seen this? I’ve replayed it loads of times, it’s so sad!” Others have had a less emotional reaction, with many users laughing at the video’s conclusion.
Despite the mixed reception to the post, this video in particular highlights the increasing awareness and discussion of LGBT relationships online in China. While the hashtag has largely provoked a response from women, this video seems to have added another consideration to the concept of love and marriage in China. This could be a sign of a rising profile for LGBT dialogues.
Overall, a seemingly minor question has garnered a wave of various reactions and responses online from cathartic story-telling to mockery. For some the question of breakups, marriage and ‘moving on’ is an emotional subject, and for others it’s insignificant and irrelevant. What is interesting is that this hashtag has been created in the first place, asking questions over a topic that seems relatively contemporary in today’s China. Additionally, there was a small consensus that attending the wedding or at least offering your good wishes would be the go-to response. Furthermore, the discussion of LGBT relationships could arguably be a sign of a widening platform that isn’t exclusive to heterosexual relationships, although the conversation is still limited in comparison to the majority of responses. However, the hashtag is still under discussion, and I will be revisiting it tomorrow to see if the direction has changed. For now, netizens are still pondering.