The Chinese Lunar New Year is coming up this week on February 10. The biggest holiday in China, it’s a time when most families retreat home to spend some quality time together. Which sounds nice, except that, much like in this country, it’s often terrible. Nothing curdles a holiday faster than family tensions—and in China apparently one of the most sensitive issues is young people’s failure to get married and start a traditional life as fast as their parents would like them to.
Thankfully, technology and good old fashioned human desperation are coming to the rescue this year: Services are popping up on the Chinese internet offering boyfriend rentals for $50 per day for single ladies to take home to their parents in order to get the older generation off their backs by fooling them into thinking marriage is imminent.
“The pressure for singles to settle down crescendos around Chinese New Year,” reports BBC. Chinese company Taobao is swooping in for the rescue, with over 300 results for boyfriend rentals. The going rate is $50 per day for the boyfriend to accompany you to your family home over the holiday. From BBC:
Some postings list a full menu of possibilities – charging $5 an hour to accompany a girl to dinner and $8 for a kiss on the cheek. If the fake boyfriend stays overnight with his client’s family for Chinese New Year, he charges $80 a night to sleep in his own bed, and $95 to sleep on the couch.
Business Insider quotes Meng Guangyong, who operates a boyfriend-broker business and rents himself out: “Young people both want to go home yet are afraid to go home. If they haven’t found a partner yet, when they go home parents will nag them or send them on blind dates or find someone to introduce them to people. Then even though all you wanted was to enjoy a happy new year, in the end nobody in the family is happy.”
So the answer, natch, is not confronting your parents but fooling them with a fake boyfriend.
One man the BBC interviewed was renting himself out with the secret hope of finding true love: “The best result would be for me to find someone to marry through this,” said Li Le.
None of the ads mentioned sex on the menu of services—it’s all apparently on the up and up. Honestly though, spending an entire holiday waiting for your surrogate boyfriend to slip and say something that makes it obvious you’re total strangers sounds even more stressful than a holiday under the shadow your parents’ judgement.