You’re a young person looking for a partner, lifetime or not – where do you start? The traditional "omiai" – dating presided over by pushy families seeking a link by marriage – gave way to the looser, freer, familyless "gokon" – mass parties where guys and girls could mix, play games, attract each other and go off together into the short-term or long-term future.
Is the "gokon" doomed? Weekly Playboy (Nov 15) fears it may be. Why? Changing times is the broad answer. More specifically, young men of the so-called “herbivore” type no longer have the fun-loving devil-may-care exuberance the occasion calls for.
An informal survey the magazine conducts among men in their 20s shows 52% have never attended a "gokon," apparently a sharp dropoff from the recent past. Why not? “I don’t have male friends who would invite me,” say 42%. Twenty-six percent say they have no inclination for the heavy drinking and boisterous games that characterize these affairs, while 13% are turned off by the boisterous women who like boisterous games and who, more and more, are setting the "gokon" tone. Of them, more in a moment.
So where, you might wonder, do young men meet their girlfriends? There’s something pre-cyber, pre-virtual about the answer, which is that nearly 70% meet them at school or at work, as compared to only 11% who meet them at online dating sites or social networking sites like mixi.
Mixi has its advantages for the hesitant and finicky – you can study posted profiles and photos before making your studied approach. True, but, Weekly Playboy hears from a veteran of 400-odd "gokons," who knows if the profiles are true, or if the photos are genuine? Besides, he adds, mixi people are not necessarily looking for what "gokon" participants unmistakably are intent on – namely, sex. So personal contact among people whose inhibitions have been shredded by alcohol and the party atmosphere is more likely to end up… well, where?
We mentioned boisterous women a moment ago. They, if anyone, says Weekly Playboy, will save the "gokon." The magazine eavesdrops on four “'gokon'-loving OLs” in their early 20s. Poor Shinobu! She struck out at the party under discussion, and she’s not in the best of moods. Ayuna, for her part, admits that these days the only guys worth meeting at "gokons" are in their 30s, but she ended up in a love hotel with one and is not complaining. Shinobu’s preference for younger guys will be her undoing. Megumi explains: The 20-somethings lucky enough to have a job are working too hard and earning too little for partying. Besides, sniffs Mikage, they’re all herbivores, don’t know how to approach a woman.
There should be a law, says Ayuna. Everyone should be required to attend a "gokon" at least once a month. For the sinking birth rate, she grins.© Japan Today