Husband hunt takes on giant dimensions

Nick Squires

It is the kind of lonely hearts advertisement which appears in newspapers every day: 'Beautiful, intelligent Australian-Chinese lady seeks to have dream family with a fabulous partner to enjoy a lifetime with.'

Only this one is six metres wide, overlooks a busy road and cost A$5,000 (HK$28,480).

The giant billboard, emblazoned with the words Husband Wanted, is the latest attempt by Helen Zou to snare a mate.

And not just any Tom, Dick or Bruce: Ms Zou specifies in the ad that she is looking for an 'unencumbered' man with a good sense of humour, a solid financial background and a warm and caring nature.

Ms Zou is not so much looking for Mr Right as Mr White - she insists that the man of her dreams must be 'of Caucasian appearance'.

He must also be under 45, preferably a businessman or professional, and a teetotal non-smoker.

The 40-year-old civil engineering researcher, who has never married, decided to pay for the ad after finding it hard to meet suitable men.

Like thousands of Sydney women looking for love, she found that most of the men she met through work or friends were either married or gay or both.

After briefly considering speed dating, online matchmaking services and singles bars, she hit on the idea of taking out a billboard ad.

It now towers over a popular shopping area in Sydney's upmarket eastern suburbs, home to some of the city's wealthiest men.

Ms Zou shrugs off suggestions that her ad smacks of desperation.

'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 or whatever, why not write one about a husband.'