Parents seek romance for single children
Shao Meiyuan is sick and tired of waiting for her 25-year-old daughter to find a boyfriend and get married, so she has taken matters into her own hands.
The 57-year-old has been busy this week handing out leaflets at Shanghai parks and subway stations inviting other parents like herself to a special matchmaking meeting - an event her daughter and other grown children won't attend.
The meeting, scheduled to be held from 3pm to 5:30pm at Huangpu District's Renmin Park on August 13, is being organized by eight local parents, including Shao, who are anxious to help their children find a little romance.
Parents attending the meeting are expected to bring a picture of their children and provide all the necessary background information, such as age, height, salary and a summary of their education and career, Shao said.
Each parent will exchange contact with the moms and dads of children who seem like suitable suitors for their own child.
"We've been standing by so long but seen no results. Now it's our time to get involved," said Shao.
She said she came up with the idea after hearing that similar matchmaking events have been held in Beijing for months.
Thousands of Beijing parents head to several different parks each weekend in the hopes of finding a blind date for their sons and daughters.
Many of them carry large posters of their children's resume, and linger at the event for hours.
After the events became a hit in Beijing, the idea quickly spread to Nanjing (Jiangsu Province), Hangzhou (Zhejiang Province) and Shenzhen (Guangdong Province).
Last weekend, 106 local parents took part in a matchmaking party run by a wing of the Shanghai Women's Federation. They were the city's first batch of "parent blind daters."
"No parents showed even the slightest hesitancy. They began chatting before we said to start, and talked to others as if they were friends for years," said Chen Zhanqing, who organized the event. "When young men and women date themselves, we always have to do lots of warming-up to break the ice."
Not surprisingly, many of the children are not thrilled with the event. Chen said many parents attend the matchmaking parties without telling their kids, and other attend despite protests from their sons or daughters.
She said all of the parents have a child with a good education, job and income.
"It's hard to imagine that young people with a college degree and high income cannot find a wife or husband, but the problem does exist," said Yang Xiong, a researcher at the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences.
Traditional thinking, which dictates a husband should be taller than his wife, have a better education and earn more money, is one major reason why people of both sexes have difficulty in finding their Mr or Mrs Right, said Zhou Chunsheng, a local sociologist.