Every weekend, a gaggle of hopeful parents and grandparents set up a marriage market in Shanghai’s People’s Park with the aspiration of finding the perfect match for their child. But instead of bringing along the lonely suitors, the matchmakers proudly post their children’s resumes for all the world to see. Potential in-laws can search through the candidates, looking for one with just the right qualifications.
The resumes include critical statistics such as highest degree attained, current job, income potential, age, height, weight and home owner status. I don’t know how many successful matches are actually made this way, but given the turnout I’d say this trend won’t be disappearing any time soon. And yes, someone asked if I was available.
To see the matchmaking in action, leave the People’s Square metro station via exit 9. The marriage market occurs every Saturday and Sunday morning, inside gate 5 of People’s Park.
The park itself is a beautifully landscaped, with a large central lotus pond around which locals play cards and listen to live music. Once the site of the racecourse for the British Concession’s horse racing club, People’s Park started to take its current form in 1949.
Art and culture enthusiasts will find recreation with the many museums that populate the area. The glass-enclosed Shanghai Museum of Contemporary Art can be found at the park’s center, which boasts rotating collections of modern artworks by Chinese and international artists.
The park’s southern border is presided over by the Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Center, an ode to the city’s growth and development, and the Shanghai Grand Theatre, the most prestigious performing art’s venue in the city.
My favorite is the stalwart Shanghai Museum, just across Renmin Lu. It boasts four floors of priceless historical artifacts, from ancient scrolls and Buddhist sculptures to Ming Dynasty furniture and ethnic minority costumes. You could spend all day in the park and still not have time for all the attractions at hand!
Would you want to meet your match this way?