Matchmakers Market

Before leaving for China I did a little research and stumbled upon this peculiar weekend activity in People's Square (the Central Park of Shanghai). The Matchmaking Market happens every weekend in People's Square. This weekly event involves over 400 people, mostly over 50, posting small letter sized billboards on massive boards advertising their kids. This is like any match making website in the states but analog. Each sheet of paper mentions only the important facts, the persons height (shorter the better for girls, taller is better for men), age, and job. When I had read about this market it sounded like a big deal, but this was a serious thing.

Those very serious brought tables and print outs of their kids, so they could sett up a date or marriage between their kids on the spot. Of course in the mist of all of these none of these kids are to be seen. You might think parents matching their kids means parents matching young children, you are very mistaken all of the kids posted were over 30. You get the sense this was a parents last resort, "my kid's over 30 still single, I need a grand kid, time to hit the market".


In the middle of all the commotion was us, two 6 foot tall blond white guys. We stood out a little. In fact it attracted some unexpected attention. We turned a corner and came upon a group of photographers with high end gear shooting lily pads. One looks up see me and his eye go wide. He grabs his friend and they ask in mixed english if they can take my picture. I'm then encircled by 5 photographers taking pictures of me. We get a glimpse of their pictures and it becomes clear they are blown away by my beard. My co worker and I realize that facial hair, especially a big beard, is very rare in China. I can only imagine were those photos will whined up.