This past weekend, millions of Chinese people got together with their families to celebrate the Chinese New Year, but for many of the nation’s singletons this time of year isn’t always a happy one.
Because family life is so important in Chinese tradition, many singletons face huge pressure from their loved ones to find a partner and settle down.
This is particularly bad for women, who are expected to be married before they reach the age of 30. So rather than spending the few days of the holidays listening to mom and dad go on and on about when they will find a significant other and tie the knot, some Chinese women are taking a different option!
They hired fake boyfriends to take home with them to meet the family during the holiday season!
Taobao, China’s most popular online market place offers the pretend boyfriend rental service in the form of numerous classified from males offering paid companionship. The price range varies dependent on the particular advert and some classified even offer a menu-type fee list for services. One classified states a charge of $5 an hour for a dinner date and $8 for a kiss on the cheek.
In another, if the rented boyfriend is needed to stay over, the charge is $80 if he gets his own bed, but $95 if he has to bear the discomfort of sleeping on a couch! Unsurprisingly sex does not appear as an option in the classifieds, but who could say if that was a little clandestine side-service that the men also decided to offer under-the-table?
One nearly 30-year-old singleton, Ding Na, explained the difficult predicament she was in, she said;
“I’m under lots of pressure. My sisters and my relatives all ask me why I’m not married. When they call me, I’m scared to pick up the phone.”
Zhou Xiaopeng, a consultant with Baihe.com – one of China’s most popular dating agencies said that the marriage pressure reached a head around the Chinese New Year. Zhou describes a scene where families get together for dinner and everyone is seated in pairs, whilst the singleton is sat alone and constantly questioned as to why they have not yet settled down!
Apparently though it isn’t just the women who are feeling the pressure, as many of the men advertising themselves for hire have said that they are doing it in the hope that one day they will be rented out by their dream girl and end up settling down with her.
Li Le, an agricultural product salesman from Tianjin is one such man who offered his services as a fake boyfriend over the New Year holiday period. For Li Le, it’s not really about the money, but rather the quest for his soul mate and an interesting experience. He said;
“It’s an exciting thing to do…I might find someone who shares my interests and it would make both of us happy…the best result would be for me to find someone to marry through this.”
What do you think of fake boyfriend hire? Would you be tempted to hire a rental partner just so your family will quit their marriage jibber-jabber? Leave a comment and let us know.