With these rings I thee wed

There will be much profound speculation on the legacy of the Beijing Olympics (like maybe in a future edition of Maclean’s once your two humble correspondents get around to thinking deep thoughts) but here is an immediate impact on domestic relations. Beijing’s municipal bureau of civil affairs reports that 16,400 couples have applied to be married on Aug. 8, the day of the Olympic opening ceremonies. Eight is an auspicious number in China, and, of course, the Games officially open on 08-08-2008, at 8 p.m. It’s like hitting the jackpot, so why not get hitched?

Marriage is a pretty efficient process in China. All the love struck couples need to do Friday is drop into their local marriage bureaus and pick up their licences. Some 100 extra staff has been laid on to help with the crush. “Our goal is to provide 100 per cent satisfaction for all the couples,” bureau head Wu Shimon told the China Daily, a national English-language newspaper. Presumably the chief administrator was promising satisfaction with the act of marriage, as opposed to the honeymoon, but with the all-powerful Chinese government, you never know. At the very least, the Beijing organizing committee will provide the fireworks.

In related news, doctors in China are sharpening their scalpels for another Olympic related event. Hospitals report legions of pregnant women have reserved Aug. 8 for their Caesarean deliveries. So great is the competition for this Olympic event that women—some of them alarmingly short of their due dates—are pulling strings to get themselves to the head of the line. That’s kind of cheating, isn’t it? And what about an epidural, wouldn’t that be a doping infraction?