Couples looking to enjoy a romantic Valentine’s Day movie date at one Chinese cinema will be out of luck this Friday, thanks to a group of sly singles who have bought up all the odd-numbered seats.
According to the Shanghai Morning Post, a group of internet users collaborated via a crowdfunding website to reserve every other seat at a Valentine’s night showing of Beijing Love Story at a movie theatre in the city’s Xintiandi shopping complex.
A graphic published by the paper shows how the group accomplished their mission, with every other ticket successfully purchased by the singles so that no two adjacent seats are available.
“Want to see a movie on Valentine’s Day?” read an online message by the stunt organiser, who is known on the internet by the initials "UP". “Sorry, you’ll have to sit separately. Absence makes the heart grow fonder. Give us singles a chance.”
"UP" described himself to the Shanghai Morning Post as a "computer nerd" who broke up with his girlfriend last year. The stunt was surprisingly difficult to pull off, he said.
"In the beginning, I wanted to buy all the tickets [online] but I discovered that the theatre's ticketing sofware wouldn't let me," he said. "Then I went there in person to see if I could buy directly, but because Valentine's Day tickets were being sold at a fast rate - especially for romance movies - the theatre folks wouldn't sell them all to me.
"I also didn't have enough money. So finally a friend recommended that I start a campaign on a crowdfunding site, and there were enough single internet friends out there to help me raise the money to do this sort of thing. I hope all lovers understand this is just a small joke."
News of the elaborate stunt trended on Chinese social media networks, and Sina Weibo netizens called it "awesome".
"What a great way to disrupt the plans of the enemy," joked one apparently single microblogger.
China's growing population of singles has caused changes in the youthful perception of Valentine's Day. What was once viewed as a celebration of love is now the subject of discontent for some youngsters, and in the 1990s, "Single's Day" was a born as a rebellious answer to Valentine's Day.
Occuring on November 11, with the date 11/11 chosen for its appearence of "four single digits", Single's Day has evolved in recent years into one of the mainland's biggest days for online shopping.