Since Valentine's Day falls on the same day as Spring Festival this year, most young lovers will seize the chance for that scary first encounter with the future in-laws - but for Xiao Yi and Liu Xing, this remains an extravagant hope.
They both hold respectable jobs with good salaries. They are devoted to each other and rarely argue. They were born on the same day and wear the same sized shoes. And they are both men.
"We met four years ago in a chat room on danlan.org, and moved in together after one year on March 14. This is White Valentine's Day, popular in some Asian countries, and has now become our anniversary," Liu told METRO.
"He gave me a ring. Just like other couples, rings represent love and trust," Liu said with a smile to Xiao Yi, touching the platinum band on his left hand.
Liu Xing (left) and his partner Xiao Yi want to have their own lovers' day. [Wang Jing]
Liu currently works for danlan.org, a large Chinese gay website set up in 2000. The website has more than 80,000 views per day with at least a million registered users.
"Most people are prejudiced against gay people and believe online gay chat rooms are obscene and unhealthy. But actually, we are the same as normal couples - we also believe in love and monogamy," Xiao Yi said.
Xiao, 27, was born in Chongqing and spent four years in a Beijing college. He said he first discovered his sexuality as a child.
"I loved playing games with girls and was happy to be around boys," he said.
"I thought I was autistic and felt very lonely until I realized my gay friends were experiencing the same kinds of things. By chatting with them I learned that I was not ill, and I built up enough courage to accept it," he said.
For Xiao Yi and Liu Xing, falling in love with a man made their loves not only happier but also easier.
"We can swap our clothes and shoes, which saves loads of money," Liu joked. "Both of us are men and we have a lot in common, including our lifestyles and our way of thinking."
He said his gay lover could understand the great pressures of work and life.
"We share all things," Liu added.
Despite the apparent perfect situation, both men are anxious about telling their parents about their happy lives.
"I don't think our parents will accept it," Liu said. "If they can't, I might choose to marry a lesbian. That would satisfy the needs of my family and wouldn't destroy what we have."
When discussing the possibility of a child, Liu said they love children very much and would like to adopt a baby in the future.
"We have lots of dreams for the future. We want to marry like other couples, have a child, and be accepted by our families and society," Xiao said.
He told METRO they witnessed a wedding ceremony between two homosexual couples in Qianmen Street on Valentine's Day last year and really admired them.
"I have to go home for New Year's Eve, but I promised Xiao Yi I would be back for Valentine's Day," Liu said.
He added that they planned to travel in Thailand in the coming Tiger year.
"We have never traveled together before, so we will consider that trip as our honeymoon," he said.
According to statistics released by the Ministry of Health in 2006, there are an estimated five to 10 million homosexuals in the Chinese mainland, aged between 15 and 65. However, renowned sociologist Li Yinhe, put the figure much higher at between 36 and 48 million.
Professor Zhang Beichuan from Qingdao University and various other scholars, including Li Yinhe, have called on the government to recognize and legalize same-sex marriages in China. There has been no response from the government so far.