Sunday, November 28, 2010

Matchmaking Shanghai Style

In the center of Shanghai at People's Square Park, a tradition is carried out every Saturday and Sunday. Here, as in other cities in China, older parents meet in a public place to try to find an eligible spouse for their unmarried adult children. This photo is of some of the parents who were hanging out right near the entrance to the park:

I had heard about this before coming to China but I was thrilled to get to see it for myself. Basically what happens is that parents make up a resume (or profile?) of sorts and bring it with them to the park. In the case where a mom and dad come to the park together, one stays with the ad while the other goes out to look through the other resumes. Here are other hopeful moms and dads checking out today's offerings:

From the parents that I talked to, they are all looking for a tall, well-off, smart, good-looking, and employed person who owns a car and a home. My guess is that the goal of these parents is to find people exactly not like their kids while those that they seek probably have no problem finding mates of their own. One dad told me that there were no good people to be found there yet he comes each week "just in case". Here's an example of the ads you'll see:

While in the park I had a couple of younger girls come up to me who wanted to practice their English (which was actually a fairly common occurrence). The girls told me that the kids hate the fact that parents are doing this "for them" but that they really can't stop them either. From what I saw, none of the kids being marketed was actually there and it looked as much like a social gathering for the parents as it was a true attempt at emptying the nest.

Can you imagine a where your mom and dad fill out your profile and then handle all the responses for you? Hmm...sounds like fun, doesn't it?

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