Date
11 December 2017
We all long for companionship and recognition, and we seek out relationships. There's a new kind of rental agency that help clients to look for and rent relationships. Photo: Reuters
We all long for companionship and recognition, and we seek out relationships. There's a new kind of rental agency that help clients to look for and rent relationships. Photo: Reuters

Relationships for rent

Believe it or not, there’s a new kind of agency in Japan that helps clients to look for and rent relationships. Looking for a temporary husband, wife, girlfriend, parents or even guests to a fake wedding? These agencies can supply the warm bodies you need.

In an interview with local media, one agent revealed that he started the business after a single mother told him she was desperately in need of a “husband” to attend her daughter’s school admission interview.

Some Japanese schools – prestigious ones, in particular – are pretty biased against single parenting, and so the single mother had wanted to eliminate one possible factor that could have her daughter rejected by the school.

This rental business also runs in Hong Kong, but it is limited to rent-a-boyfriend and rent-a-girlfriend. People pay for someone to go out with them to shop, dine, watch a movie or, depending on the what’s agreed upon, to have sex with. It’s also called “compensated dating”. 

The customers cannot stand long-term relationships but long for the feeling of being in love or simple companionship.

According to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, every human being has esteem needs, which refer to the need for respect, self-esteem, self-confidence, etc. 

One of the two layers of esteem needs is the esteem granted or approved by others, which might be fulfilled by renting relationships, whether it is an intimate partner or a temporary friend.

Some loners want to fit in the mainstream narratives of society that one must be born in a “complete” family, or be well-traveled, popular and significant.

Another form of esteem need is the esteem that one grants to oneself. A person becomes confident if they recognize their true value. Since this involves a certain degree of inner competence, Maslow believes this is a higher level of need.

When our relationships fall apart and we become social outcasts, we may feel depressed and helpless.

To fight against such emotions, which arise from the lack of self-esteem, some people rental relationships – but they don’t last.

Why not be a little more appreciative of oneself? Seek out your admirable traits and look for platforms to show your talent to the world.

Learn from setbacks in relationships and prepare for more challenges in the future. Even if you find yourself in the minority, do not force yourself to fit in the norm. Remember that everyone is a unique individual with a different background; we have our own strengths and directions.

Self-confidence does not happen overnight, and the process of acquiring long-term recognition is definitely harder than seeking short-term ones.

I wish everyone patience and perseverance in their pursuit of long-lasting happiness.

This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on Nov. 15

Translation by John Chui

[Chinese version 中文版]

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JC/BN/CG

Education Officer from the Family Planning Association of Hong Kong

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