Baidu Beat

Baby Blind Date

charliemelvoin, Monday, March 19th, 2012

An emerging fad in China gives new meaning to the pick-up line, “Hey, baby.” Under pressure to find the perfect partner for their only child, parents are matchmaking kids barely old enough to say their names. The phenomenon is called “baby blind dating” (娃娃相亲), and evidently it’s not uncommon to see advertisements on parenting websites and forums for new mothers.

One online posting announced, “If you want to find a good partner for your baby, then come participate in ‘community matchmaking’ (社区红娘). Secure the right match for your child and avoid having a lonely baby.” Within one week, over 1,000 people “liked” the posting, and more than 200 families attended the event; the youngest eligible bachelor was only six-months-old. Ultimately, there were over 40 successful pairings, though it’s unclear how long these toddlers will walk (crawl?) hand-in-hand.

While an organized gathering makes it easy to survey the scene, so too do websites dedicated to the cause. Sources say that young mothers are registering their children on multiple sites to improve the odds. Stories such as this one of a long-distance relationship gives others hope: two moms in separate cities had their three-year-old children choose another baby among several photos, and the boy and girl happened to pick each other. “Fate!” the parents exclaimed, and they’re now committed to maintaining contact via video chat and future visits.

In response to potential outcry over the idea of arranging marriages from strollers, many parents deny that they are actually seeking a spouse for their child; rather, they embrace the novel concept as a fun way for kids to interact with members of the opposite sex early on. Mothers who never had the chance to socialize with boys until it was time to marry are particularly vocal in promoting the value of this activity. In their eyes, the matchmaking aims to create a playmate, not a soul mate.

In addition to the benefit of increased exposure to the opposite sex, parents have been pleased to see their children more active as a result of “baby blind dates.” Several anecdotes describe kids who lazily lounged around the house, refusing to do anything…and then bam!, they receive a call from their new friend and jump off the couch to do something more engaging…like a candlelit Gerber’s dinner or poppin’ (formula) bottles in the playground.

The perks for parents can’t be overlooked either. In the one-child era, many mothers with a daughter long for a son, and vice versa. By scouting out a compatible counterpart, they get the opportunity to experience a bit of both worlds, vicariously raising the son/daughter they never had.

“Baby blind date” (娃娃相亲, wáwá xiāngqīn) is currently ranked fourth on the top 10 list of real-time search items.

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