Chloroform, blunt force trauma to the back of the head, roofies… these methods of rendering someone unconscious can now add one more to its list: the sudden shock at being told your parents have secretly arranged a date for you.

Such is the case for a 36 year-old man from Pingxiang, Jiangxi province who was found unconscious on the T145/8 train from Beijing to Nanchang. Lying face-down with a ringing phone in his hand, the man, surnamed Huang, had fainted when his cousin inadvertently informed him that he was expected to take part in a date arranged by his parents.

Having indefinitely left home five to six years ago, Huang’s parents were anxious for him to return home this holiday, and had promised that they wouldn’t bring up the topic of marriage, a main reason for Huang’s prolonged absence from home. However, Huang’s cousin had let the secret slip out when calling him to arrange a time to pick him up at the station, leading him to lose consciousness.

The pressure to bring home a prospective husband or bride is tremendous among many Chinese single adults, an issue that came to prominence earlier this year when it was reported that the front page to a Chinese community newspaper in Australia contained a “letter” from a Chinese mother that pleaded for her son “Peng” to return home; similarily, the issue of marriage was the main reason for the son not returning home.

China Daily reports that a search on Taobao reveals people who are willing to serve as a “rented boyfriend” that will placate anxious parents, but witness such a phenomenon, you won’t need to look far: our own classified ads contain listings for people advertising their time this Spring Festival. This Beijinger ad lists services for keeping company during the holiday at RMB 15-20 per hour.

As you congregate with your family this holiday season, be sure to tell them that you love and care for them. Even your daughter’s fake boyfriend.

Photos: jxnews,