Husband-hunting for “fun” and profit …

groomsday-clock-in-a-braYou’ve heard of the biological clock. And the doomsday clock. Now meet the “groomsday clock.”  Or rather, the groomsday bra. It’s a little tricky so bear with me.

Apparently, Japan is going through a bit of a social craze right now known as “konkatsu” (marriage hunting). According to a story in the Wall Street Journal, marriage rates in Japan have plummeted over the past 30 years with the rate of unmarried men age 30 to 34 soaring from 14% to 47% and the rate of unmarried women skyrocketing from 8% to 32%. There are lots of reasons for the increase in singlehood — women are focusing on their careers more, traditional matchmaking by “neighborhood aunties” has started to fade away – but the authors of a new bestselling book, “The Era of Marriage Hunting” (think of it as “The Rules” of Japan) feel that this is a bad thing. They encourage singles to go on the prowl, to quit sitting around and waiting for the right match to come along, to get out there and hunt that spouse down.

As a result, many unmarried women in Japan have jumped on a “marriage hunting” bandwagon. Although, according to the article, the men are a bit more reticent about the whole business, thanks to the economic slump (men, traditionally, marry when they feel like they can afford it).

Where does the weird ticking bra come in?

Well, Japanese women aren’t the only ones to embrace the “marriage hunting” mindset (and not all of them have, mind you). Businesses have also gone ga-ga for the concept, primarily as away to boost their, if you’ll pardon the expression, sagging bottom line. There are konkatsu bars, konkatsu seats at the baseball game, konkatsu prayer services (for $62 a pop) and even a popular new konkatsu TV show. Local governments have also gotten into the act, promoting konkatsu matchmaking events, perhaps in hopes of boosting the country’s low birthrate (no marriage, no babies — eek!).

And now, there’s the konkatsu bra, a lovely piece of lingerie with a clock embedded into the lace, a clock that counts down to some kind of marriage deadline. According to the WSJ article, “inserting an engagement ring into the heart-shaped ring box between the cups stops the ticking and a congratulatory wedding march begins to play.”

No pressure or anything.

So I’m curious … what happens if no one inserts a ring into this urgent piece of underwear? Does the bra explode? Administer an electric shock? And if a woman gets married to the one (or “a one” which is much more likely when it comes to this kind of weird matrimania) and it doesn’t work out, does the clock automatically rewind?  Does she somehow get back the “best years of her life”?  

Just a bit of food for thought on this lovely Independence Day. And a reminder to enjoy yours while you can. (Need a primer in the joys of living alone? Check out my Single Shot column from last Fourth of July.)


3 Responses to “Husband-hunting for “fun” and profit …”

  1. 1 Singletude: A Positive Blog for Singles July 15, 2009 at 9:50 am

    There’s something to the population issue. A nation needs to reproduce itself or deal with the consequences of a lopsided or declining population. But there has to be a better way to support parenting than glorifying marriage at the expense of singles. Products like this just contribute to making singles look ridiculous.

    Who would buy this, I wonder? And would they actually wear it? Could you fool it by sticking something else in the slot? Am I the only one who thinks it’s more than a little crude and sexist that the guy is supposed to stick the ring in between her breasts??? What does happen if the wearer doesn’t get a ring? Does it play some sad, mopey song?

  2. 2 Special K July 17, 2009 at 3:13 pm

    HA HA! And I thought my chastity belt was a little dusty!

  3. 3 onely August 8, 2009 at 11:19 am

    Hi Singleshot,
    Onely covered this bra too, separately, and we ALSO wondered what happens when the timer goes off and the woman is still unengaged! I think I read somewhere that it just “resets”. Come on. What’s the point, if there is not a big explosion or alarm or flashing lights? Otherwise it’s just like real life, where you’re in CONSTANT “reset” mode. At least I am.


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What’s my story?

I'm a former freelance writer, now gainfully employed at Fred Hutch (views and f-bombs all my own).

I write about health and health care; cancer research and the cancer experience; dating, lifestyle and singles issues and lots of other stuff including humor and fiction and a few songs here and there.

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How to Date in a Post-Dating World A dating manual for the modern, mangled single.

Single State of the Union
Single women speak out on life, love and the pursuit of happiness.

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Sex. Zombies. Really annoying present tense narration.

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