Eager parents quick to learn marriage lines

By Shi Yingying ( China Daily ) Updated: 2013-05-22 07:35:11

Eager parents quick to learn marriage lines

Young people hoping to find their 'better half' attend Shanghai's biggest matchmaking party, which was held in the city's Qingpu district on Saturday and Sunday. [Photo by Gao Erqiang / China Daily]

Finding the perfect partner can be a family affair for many in China, as Shi Yingying reports in Shanghai.

On Saturday afternoon, an unsuspecting Wang Liwei was surrounded by 12 middle-aged women, mostly from Shanghai, in search of husbands for their daughters. Wang was in the middle of Shanghai's biggest matchmaking party, held in the city's Qingbu district.

Advertisements for the event promised the 28-year-old Shandong native an unparalleled opportunity to find his perfect partner, as more than 18,000 singles would be attending.

"But I never imagined anything like this - compared with the number of contacts I've made with young women, I've given out my number to many more of these desperate mothers who are hunting for son-in-laws, even though I tried my best to turn them away as politely as possible," said Wang, who works in information technology.

He said he was so overwhelmed by middle-aged women that he was afraid of running out of time to find the right girl.

Wearing wide smiles, the women badgered Wang about his age, profession, income, whether he owns an apartment in Shanghai, and which side of the city his property is located - Pudong or Puxi?

"Even though they'd murmur that I'm too young for their daughter once they knew my age, they still insisted I write down my number. Why don't parents encourage or bring their grown-up children with them, rather than date on their behalf?" wondered Wang.

Unconventional approach

Well, they do. But when their bashful offspring are too shy to approach a potential partner, eager Chinese parents decide to step in and help in their own way.

"My daughter is waiting outside the gate. She feels embarrassing because I'm too well-prepared for the event," said Lu Fang, 67, referring to the long plastic banner he'd set up in the center of the venue, which displayed personal information about his daughter, a 40-year-old doctor at Shanghai's Huashan Hospital.

Her ideal prospective groom is a "responsible man with stable income" and who ideally "owns an apartment and a car".

Lu was concerned: "My daughter actually holds a master's degree but I didn't use that information because I was worried it might scare off men with lower educational backgrounds. I just wrote that she has a bachelor's degree, so hopefully more men will approach us."

He said some of the young women in the venue had noticed his unconventional approach and copied the idea, writing their personal information on an A4 sheet of paper and hanging it out for all to see.

"Unlike me, they immediately attracted the attention of a few men," said Lu, his face etched with anxiety.

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