An Australian woman in the market for a husband decided that an advertisement in the lonely hearts column of a newspaper simply wouldn't do. Nor would posting an item on the internet.
So Helen Zou, a 40-year-old Sydney civil engineer, went public in the most dramatic form. She erected a giant billboard at a major Sydney intersection appealing for love.
The billboard, measuring approximately four metres by five metres, sits near the popular Ritz Theatre in the affluent eastern suburb of Randwick.
In blaring capital letters it reads, "HUSBAND WANTED", before continuing: "Beautiful, intelligent Australian Chinese lady seeks to have dream family with a fabulous partner to enjoy a lifetime with".
Zou asks for a man "ideally in good health (non-smoker or drinker)", aged up to 45, "unencumbered and of caucasian appearance [with a] good sense of humour [and a] solid financial background with warm and caring nature".
She also says she would prefer a "businessman or professional background" before asking for "serious replies only" at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Zou resorted to the billboard after earlier attempts to find a partner failed. She had previously been involved in a five-year, transnational relationship with a man.
According to experts, Zou's predicament is not unusual for many young Sydney women — even if her solution is.
In 2001, the Australian Bureau of Statistics found that 23 percent of Australian households were single-person and that a quarter of women of child-bearing age were likely to remain childless. And the trend has only continued.
Social observers have also blamed a relative abundance of young single women in Sydney for the failure of young men to commit to long-term relationships.
But Zou insists her unorthodox search for a mate is not so strange. "I'm surprised a lot of people think this is special or unusual," she told Sydney's Daily Telegraph.
"It's Australia. There's a lot of freedom here. If you can put up a sign advertising Coca Cola, why not write one about a husband?"
Under Zou's contract with the Australian Posters company, her billboard will stay up for another month — or until her ideal man arrives.