LEEDS, Britain, Jan. 19 (Xinhua) -- "I hope the discussion on the Internet could help people understand the group of 'female doctors'. We are not the 'third group' and please don't put social labels on us," said Claire, who was dubbed as the "pretties female doctor" by Chinese netizens but didn't want to reveal her real name.
In her late 20s, the girl from Leeds University might be better known by her nickname Caterpillar Claire. A personal ad with her photos circulated on social media last week lifted her to immediate fame.
In the ad the girl with a doctorate in chemistry was said to be "looking for a boyfriend to take home before Spring Festival."
Claire accepted interview with Xinhua during the weekend, after late night work the day before. The girl in a fashionable Topshop skirt and Reiss navy coat was quite amicable and easy-going.
"The marriage-seeking post was quite a surprise for me," she recalled. "On Jan. 3, a friend told me that my photos were posted on Chinese social media but I didn't care much. After a night's sleep, I found the photos were everywhere online."
At first, she was a little bit annoyed. "But my life was simple here from my lab to home, which wasn't affected much by the incident."
Claire's parents were both teachers doing researches. "When choosing what to learn, I thought of chemistry simply because I loved it."
She came to Britain in 2008 and is now a research fellow in Leeds. They make experiments in the lab at day time, and watch movies or read books in the evening. At the weekends, they went shopping with friends or hiking if the weather is good. During holidays, they make a trip to other countries in Europe.
Her post aroused a discussion online and some netizens sent messages to her. Female doctors have always been called jokingly in China as a "third gender" other than male and female. A large percentage of the respondents said they wouldn't marry a female doctor.
But her post changed the perception of some Chinese youngsters. On her weibo, the Chinese version of facebook, some netizens marvelled at her beauty and intelligence, saying that never expected a female doctor could be like her.
"People don't know much about the group of 'female doctors'," Claire noted. "They thought we were in the lab day and night, communicating only with particles and cut off from the society. When I posted my hiking photos someone asked 'shouldn't you be in the lab'?"
She understood that Chinese men might view female doctors as dull and too sensible. "They wanted their girlfriend to be obedient, not talking with them in the way like doing scientific analysis."
She also believed that Chinese men like to be better than their girlfriends in many ways such as height and job, and they attached great importance to educational background.
"If a woman is better educated, her husband would be under great pressure," she said. "But this is not the case in the West. It is very common to see a girl taller than her boyfriend. People would like to be matched by characters and hobbies, rather than diploma."
Claire's friend Meng Yu (not her real name) who took the photos for her shared the view. "Doctor is just like a job, nothing else special," she said, adding that she would not care much about the educational background of her Mr. Right.
Another schoolmate Zhang Cheng (not his real name) said he would feel safer having a girlfriend working in the lab than travelling around. "But I do have the concern if life would be boring to live with a researcher."
Claire said she would like to tell the girls who are going to gain doctorate not to be worried.
"It is quite fascinating doing research," she said. "But you need to balance your personal life and research work, and have your own interests and hobbies."
She also wanted to tell netizens that "female doctors are not horrible."
Claire's parents wanted to see her dating soon. When talking with her on the phone, they expressed the wish to have her back earlier so as to find a boyfriend. Claire said she would go back to China definitely, but not so soon as in one or two years.
"I don't push myself seeking for a boyfriend," she beamed. Not without admirers, Claire was confident. "My Mr. Right will come up anyway."