Monday 11 February 2013


With Valentines Day breathing down our proverbial necks, a recent article caught my eye in regards to the societal and cultural pressure to be married/in love, or taken (and I don’t mean in way of a kidnapping).  I’m always amazed by this, especially as once you are married, you often look at single people and think - damn you have it made! (I kid, I kid) - not only do they get to sleep a hell of a lot more than us married folks with kids, but they’re certainly not arguing over the mundane and pointless, like who is going to take out the trash.

But I digress…

Apparently in China, the celebration of the Chinese New Year is a very big deal, I'm thinking it's on par with us Western folks Christmas celebrations. The entire country shuts down, fireworks adorn the sky and families come together across the continent ( you know, to fight, eat too much and rue the day they thought it was a good idea to get Uncle Li and Aunt Cho in the same room). The focal point of the holiday is around a dinner where the entire family assembles. And apparently if you’re single the pressure becomes far too immense for most Chinese youth to bear, especially if you are staring at 30 and are still single. From the sounds of things in the article, you may as well find a pasture to retire in, cause you’re as good as dead.

Hence, due to this societal pressure to have someone to bring home for the holidays, a spate of websites where one can 'rent a boyfriend' for as little as fifty bucks a day have sprung up (for 50 bucks I’d rather have a housekeeper, but hey that’s me). There is a range of services offered, from a kiss on the cheek – to make it look convincing - attending a family diner, or even spending the night at the family’s domicile, on the couch of course. Sex is strictly forbidden on these sites - and I'm thinking as it's communist China this is not a rule one should try to break. The majority of the sites are usually geared towards women finding fake boyfriends, cause you know, a woman without a husband is utterly useless (are you also hearing U2 sing in your head… ‘a woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle,’ or is that just me?), but often gay men hire fake girlfriends if they haven’t come out to their families yet. I’m sensing a lot of duplicitous behavior in the country of China.

Trust obviously is an issue for women that use sites of this nature, which is ironic, as it’s all predicated on a lie. Ah the irony of life. But some men say that they although they will receive a lot of 'hits' on the site, it takes a lot for the women to trust them to bring them into their families home. Gee, you think? I’m wondering if all these parents that are so thrilled their children have boyfriends would actually prefer a single child to the alternative of having a hired stranger in their house asking them to pass the rice. Then again, perhaps the illusion is more palatable than the truth.

For some candidates that go to work for the site, as well as patrons, they hope that a potential fake arrangement could perhaps turn into the real thing. Because beginning any relationship on the basis of lies and monetary exchange is a damn fine foundation. Then again, I’m jaded; I suppose they would have as good of odds of making it as the rest of us. 

Happy New Year all, (especially the stranger rifling through my Aunt Chan's purse).

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