Are you feeling lonely? Like there is no one out there for you? Feel as though you have exhausted all ways of finding a man?
Then you need to visit The Shanghai Marriage Market.
It is a difficult task for a man to find a woman here and it is also shameful to the family if their son does not marry. To avoid the shame of an unmarried son or daughter for that matter, some parents have taken it upon themselves to find a mate for their little darling.
Held every Saturday and Sunday in People's Square in the centre of Shanghai, hundreds of parents, disappointed at their child's failure to marry when they feel it is appropriate, turn up in the hope that they can create a suitable union for their child. There are hundreds of umbrellas propped open with the personal resume of someone's child attached to it. Height, weight, star sign, date of birth, job title, income even how much real estate they own and money they have in the bank. I am told the conversion rate is very, very low but this does not stop the parent from turning up on countless weekends to search.
Part of this circus is purely a brag-fest. Where proud parents spruik the achievements of their son (mostly males being tendered) Part of the culture here is making your parents and ancestors proud, so it is with pride that fathers tell other fathers how many houses their little Jackie Chan owns or how much money they earn and how many degrees they have. If you are not brag worthy then chances are your parents will take a less ostentatious route to find you a mate.
There are very few photos of the individuals because it is more about status than looks in this culture. For the females out for tender it is important for their parents to choose a mate that will catapult them into the next echelon of societal status. The man must have a good income, live in a good area and will be able to keep their daughter and future grand children in a suitable lifestyle. They will find love eventually once married I'm sure...
Being a westerner I was not approached but for the Chinese ladies walking around it was a different sorry. If a father or mother saw a lady they thought looked about right there was a flutter of excitement and hastened conversation to ensure that no one would cut their proverbial grass and entice the single lady toward a different brag worthy son. There were resumes being shoved into the hands of these girls in the distant hope that they would call their son at some point and because he is so fantastic; at a later date but not in the too distant future marry him.
Whilst I could walk around bemused by the whole situation and the ridiculousness of it all (have the parents heard of online dating? Tinder? Maybe their son is gay and isn't interested in women but would never bring shame to the family by coming out? Maybe their son who is living in America earning over a million dollars a year isn't interested in a Chinese lady because he is sowing his wild oats in the U.S very happily thanks o'wise father) It is a very serious business for the parents. Parents that are trying desperately to grip onto some semblance of their heritage and culture before the tidal wave of the western world sweeps away, once and for all, the rich cultural ties of this rapidly evolving nation. These are parents that only want the best for their child. They are parents who will go to any length to ensure their child brings their family and ancestors glory, no matter how shameful it is whilst in motion.
I was interested at how the whole process unfolded and whilst I would have ended all communication with my parents if they did this to me, I could not but be impressed at the dedication that these parents had towards their children. The Chinese certainly have that part right.