Puppy

Lilac wants to date a “little puppy,” because, as she puts it, he would be “the exact opposite of the guys around me, including my boyfriend.”

The 25-year-old, who works at a Shanghai-based online publication and only wants to be identified by her English name, said that her boyfriend doesn’t compliment her enough on her looks. A little puppy, on the other hand, would always know to tell her, “You are the best.” After their latest argument, the two decided to take a break from their year-long relationship.

In China, “little puppy,” or 小奶狗 (xiǎo nǎigǒu), refers to a man who is younger than his girlfriend, whose qualities in the eyes of his lover include being simple, naive, considerate, and caring—and most importantly, loyal and clingy, just like a pet. The rise of little puppies as an ideal type of boyfriend points toward a shift in popular culture in the country, where young women are increasingly defying traditional attitudes toward romance.

Zheping Huang

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