人民公园相亲角是上海非常有名一个“景点”。很多老外和外地游客都慕名而来。比如英国资深老戏骨 《指环王》里的法师甘道夫，就曾在这里给自己 “相过亲”。
Years ago, when I was still in college, my parents and I were strolling through the blind date corner (aka “marriage market”) at Shanghai’s People’s Park, where they pointed at someone’s profile and said to me jokingly, “If you don’t lose weight, you will have to go to People’s Park one day.”
It was a Saturday morning at People’s Park and I decided to browse the blind dating corner to see if I could find some potential mates for myself, not because I am desperate but just to appease my mother, who reminds daily me that 24 is no longer young according to Chinese standards and, thus, I am on the verge of being “left over.”
Similar anxiety is shared by hundreds of other local parents as well, who arrive at the blind date corner every Saturday and Sunday with their stools and umbrellas (on to which they tape profiles of their single children).
This blind date corner has in fact expanded over the years from a literal corner of the park into a vast area that is crowded shoulder-to-shoulder on weekends with concerned parents and single adults of all ages.
They can be divided into the following groups: Shanghai born, new residents, overseas returnees and those living out in the suburbs. Veteran parents know a good spot at the park means more exposure for their kids, so they arrive early to compete with each other. Most of the profiles, however, seem to be for females in their 30s who “missed their chance” of finding a husband.
有把伞上贴着征婚者的信息，比如沪女，160 cm, 1982 年出生，XX名牌大学本科，XX外资企业白领，寻180 cm 左右的男士，有独立婚房，年薪XX万。
For example, one ad on an umbrella read: “Female, 160 centimeters, born in 1982, university degree, white-collar workerat a foreign-owned company, looking for a 180-centimeter tall man who owns a home and has a 200,000 yuan ($30,403) yearly salary.”
I finally found an umbrella with information about a man of my age: “Born in 1992, Shanghai hukou, graduated from Shanghai Jiao Tong University, works at a State-owned company, owns a home in Minhang district.”
Standing behind the umbrella was a middle-aged woman who appeared to be a bit shyer than all the other loud, gossiping parents. “Would you like to know about my son?” she asked kindly. “What’s your education background and job?” My answer earned me some points from her.
But in a matter of minutes I felt like I was being cross-examined by the police. “Where do you live? How many people do you live with?” I explained I live with my parents and grandparents in our own home in Minhang.
She frowned a little, then asked what they did before they retired. I was a little annoyed by her suggestion that my grandparents could be a burden, but still answered politely.
“Have your parents bought you any other property?” she inquired, then rejoiced at my answer. She pushed on, trying to calculate my net worth based on current housing prices. Questions like this, however, made me uneasy and feeling like a human bank account just for her and her son.
“I like you so much. Otherwise I wouldn’t have asked you so many questions. I’ll report back to my son,” she said joyfully, before launching into another round of even more specific and personal questions.
“阿姨问你一下呀，你说你高165，是赤脚量的吗？因为我儿子想要找个165 到170 的女孩子。你多重啊？你是素食主义吗？之前别人给我儿子介绍的女孩因为不吃肉，两个人就谈崩了。”
“You said you are 165 cm. Is it measured bare foot? My son would like to find a girl between 165 and 170 cm. How much do you weigh? Are you a vegetarian? Last time my son was introduced to a vegetarian but they broke up because of different eating habits.”
I finally said to this desperate woman: “Why don’t let your son come see me and ask me himself?” and left it at that.
He probably does not even know his mother is seeking girlfriends for him in the most humiliating manner possible, but then again, perhaps this man will be my soul mate. If we ever go on a date, I’ll be sure to write about it here. Check back soon...