When I was in my early 20's, my mother used to pass out my high school graduation photo to men at bars with my cell phone number scrawled on the back—partly because she wanted to lure me back to Idaho and partly because she thought it was funny. (I come from a very loving, but highly creepy family.) I wish I could say that she finally matured out of this habit but in reality she just ran out of those goddamn wallet-sized senior photos.

That used to be my definition of hell—my mother and aunt Cindy canvassing Idaho bars and bathroom stalls with high school photographs of me. Now I have a new one: standing in a park with my parents while they confer with other parents to pick me out a husband. Thanks, NPR!


...Every Sunday morning in Shanghai's People's Park, a huge crowd of parents gathers, worrying about exactly that. They hold pieces of paper, sometimes laminated. The papers are then pinned to a nearby wall. Written on each is the child's name, sometimes a photo, and a brief resume.

In the absence of traditional matchmakers, and faced with the horror of having an unmarried child, fathers like 66-year-old Ren Zhiming feel they have no option but to come out and try to match-make with other parents.