Feeling lonely? Head over to Shanghai’s Marriage Market, a regular city institution where lonely souls, and especially their parents, come to find suitable partners.
“Female, born 1981, 1.62 meters tall, bachelor’s degree, project director at a foreign company, monthly salary above RMB 10,000, looking for someone born between 1974 and 1982, bachelor’s degree or above with a sense of responsibility for the family.” This is just one of the thousands of sheets of paper that decorate Shanghai’s lively People’s Square on weekends, when hundreds of local parents come here to “advertise” their single children. In a city where being single is a real stigmata, this little matchmaking corner is a last resort for lonely people and parents who hope to see their offsprings settled down. But it’s not about finding someone, it’s a bout finding the RIGHT one, a person who fits a certain description, both physically and socially.
Because many Chinese are often too busy studying or working to look for a partner, their parents often take the initiative and write these little notes containing information like age, height, education, job, salary, whether they studied abroad and whether they own their own apartment, and post them in the marriage market. Most young people find this practice embarrassing, but that doesn’t matter too much to parents determined to see their children married to someone worthy of their status. But while hundreds of people attend the marriage market every weekend, the chances of actually finding someone are pretty slim. “I’ve been coming here every weekend for two years, but here is a low rate of success,” says one mother. “Some people come for four or five years but never find someone.” Another Shanghai father says “If I find one suitable girl out of 100, I will have been successful,”