Blind dates are horrifying enough but when your parents head to the streets and advertise your eternal loneliness on public noticeboards, that’s when you should start feeling very humiliated.
Every weekend in Shanghai at the north end of People’s Park, thousands of parents gather at the Marriage Market, hoping to find a spouse for their children.
On the noticeboards, you’ll see tons of messages like this: “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.”
A piece of paper with a few key details such as age, salary and the requirements for a suitable match is all that is needed to advertise their children. Aging parents will congregate at the Marriage Market in a bid to search for a potential spouse, often without the consent of their children.
“My daughter doesn’t approve of me coming here — I stole a photo of her to bring to the market,” said one father who regularly visits the place and admits that he has sent his daughter on 12 different blind dates with men he found through the market. Surprisingly, none of the dates have worked out so far, which seems to be the common outcome of the matchmaking practice.
Since it was founded in the year 1996, the Marriage Market has been a very popular hub for meddling fathers and mothers.
“If I die with my daughter unmarried, I cannot close my eyes,” said the mother of a 28-year old daughter, who is a project manager at a foreign company. She is also one of the many children who thinks the fact that their parents visit the market is “embarrassing”.
Although China is currently modernized, some parents still believe in the tradition whereby the parents should meet each other before the prospective couple even does.
This is kind of mortifying don’t you think? Hopefully, our parents will know better not to participate in such foolish acts.
Watch this video for a tour around the Marriage Market!