Well, in China, they have a real live version of this. It's called the Matchmaker Market.
Since 2004, on Saturday and Sunday afternoons, parents gather in People's Square in Shanghai, searching for a spouse for their child. Some employ matchmakers. Others display their child's stats on pieces of paper. Others search the postings for a good match. Sometimes the kids know about it, but apparently, more often they don't.
It's so strange. Almost like a giant garage sale, but instead of selling junk, they are peddling dates.
Shanghai is not the only city in China that has a matchmaker market, but it is the one that I visited. Before we even walked into the square, a woman came toward us, shoving pictures of her sons in our faces.
This is what we saw when we first walked into the square.
You would think that this would give the women in China a huge advantage. But they still suffer from intense pressure to get married.
Leta Hong Fincher is a journalist and the author of Leftover Women. She writes about women's rights and gender inequality in China. In one of her articles, she talks about the All-China Women's Federation, an organization founded by the Communist government in 1949. Part of their (rather long) mission statement is "to safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of women and children." This organization has defined "sheng nu" or leftover women "as unmarried women over the age of 27." This is an official government definition.
Ms. Fincher quotes one of the articles written by the Women's Federation:
Pretty girls don’t need a lot of education to marry into a rich and powerful family, but girls with an average or ugly appearance will find it difficult. These kinds of girls hope to further their education in order to increase their competitiveness. The tragedy is, they don’t realize that as women age, they are worth less and less, so by the time they get their M.A. or Ph.D., they are already old, like yellowed pearls.
Another article talks about the pressure that educated Chinese women face.
They've warned that if the ranks of such women expand, they could exacerbate population imbalances, lure married men into affairs and drive down real estate sales.
If you are interested in reading more about the Matchmaker Market and "leftover women," here are some links you might find useful.
Shanghai's marriage market: Bridal bliss or marital mayhem?
Glut of women at Shanghai's marriage market
Online Dating Sites Come to Life: The Shanghai Marriage Market
China's growing gender gap: women are not just 'leftover' but left out
Dealing With The Pressure to Marry on Chinese SinglesChina's shengnu, or 'leftover women,' face intense pressure to marry