凤凰男 (fènghuáng nán), “Phoenix men”: Another Chinese social stereotype that comes about when job success meets family duty and leads to romantic disaster.
The phrase about phoenixes rising from the ashes is used in Chinese to describe unlikely, but happy events – such as when a young man from a poor village manages to get good grades and escape poverty by getting a high-paying job in the city.
Being good and dutiful sons, they have to send money home and invite their extended families for every happy occasion. The problem arises when they end up marrying that inevitable city girl:
Needless to say, their metropolitan wives are less than excited to have their bumpkin in-laws visiting, and even less enthused to suddenly be taking broccoli-cooking advice from their mother-in-laws who think they should stop buying expensive clothes, drop their careers and just clean and cook for their hard-working sons!
Young, smart, handsome… but marrying him is marrying his mother. Beijing News