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For Rent: Spouse or Cat January 25, 2009

Posted by Onely in Food for Thought, Honorary Onely Awards.
Tags: , , , ,

Recently I got an invitation, to a rather large formal party, addressed to a curlyquey “Christina C. and Spouse”. 

Turns out, while I’ve been wasting time joking with my friends about needing a rent-a-boyfriend for just such awkward occasions, the Japanese have actually gone and created such a service

Such services appear to be much less about sex and more about creating an image for the customer. You can rent relatives to bulk up the crowd at funerals, or play-act with you as a mother, or father, or spouse–either to give you practice for interacting with your real relatives, or just to give you the experience of what it’s like to fight with your father, or flirt with your husband. (I’m extrapolating a lot of this from the meager news postings and blogs writing about Hagemashi Tai, apparently one of the premier providers.) 

I pronounce Hagemashi Tai an Honorary Onely–the first time this honor has ever been bestowed on a corporation! They have deconstructed the idea of one type of relationship (matrimony) being more important than others. They acknowledge the importance of many different kinds of relationships in our lives–from parents to lovers (I hate that word btw!) to pets. Yes! The servces also include rent-a-pet!   Which is what I will choose–at least, until they come up with the Rent-a-Brad-Pitt option. 

We’d love to hear what our Copious Readership thinks about this rent-an-important-role-in-your-life business. Anyone??



1. Singlutonary - January 26, 2009

Fascinating. I wonder how much this costs. Is having fake relatives/partners/friends kinda like having fake boobs? Eventually the trashy rich people will brag about it.

“My family looks so great because I paid a lot for them!”

“That girl really need a boyfriend enhancement. Just look at her.”

This is really fascinating. I just don’t know what to think about it yet.

Thanks for the post!

2. lori - January 26, 2009

Sorry to throw water here; I didn’t get at all from the article that this business is an acknowledgment of different relationships, rather, you have this option of “filling in” if you can’t adapt your circumstances as they are. It may be harsh, but it really feels dishonest, and as if one is not living on their own terms but someone else’s.
And the funeral fill-ins? That’s just really sad.

I understand that in business it can be a boon to be married with kids, but don’t we onelies seek a change in how we are perceived and treated in society? It seems like a step-backward and that it would feel worse to show up with a stranger just to put forth a “I’m somebody because I’m with somebody” image.

While the Rent-a-Date/Dad/Sister/Pet concept is funny in a tongue-in-cheek way, who really benefits? Who really feels better when we show up coupled?

3. onely - January 27, 2009

Great points, Lori–and I absolutely agree that we shouldn’t have to provide filler people to meet society’s wierd paradigms for funerals, or coupling, etc. But what I *do* like about the concept (and yes, there’ s a lot of tongue in the cheek here) is that they don’t provide *only* coupling filler services. They provide pet filler services, and extended family filler services.

Fill-in roles reflect a desire by people to have “real” equivalents in their lives. So if the service only provided rent-a-spouse, that would sort of be saying to me that the society values only coupling. However, because the service also provides other rentals, that says to me that maybe society–in Japan at least–values many different kinds of relationships. Though yes, the whole concept of fill-in roles in general is icky. = ) CC

4. onely - January 27, 2009

“Boyfriend enhancement!” excellent.

5. Here Comes the Bra « Onely: Single and Happy - May 15, 2009

[…] japanese stuff trackback Nobody does bizarre like the Japanese. We already covered Japan’s rent-a-spouse concept and are pleased to see that they have made further strides in the love industry with […]

6. crissy - September 22, 2009

It would not be something I would want to do, but I can see for someone who is very private or wants to have an event without being judged it is a perfect option. Someone said ” as if one is not living on their own terms but someone else’s”…. I think this is their own terms, and they do not have to explain or anything. Private life should be private but human nature creates atmsopheres where we judge someone based on social values even when we try not to.
I try not to judge, so in this case it may not be for me but who I am to judge someone who feels they need this service.

Onely - September 22, 2009

OK good, so you wouldn’t be judging me, because I would be tempted to get the rent-a-cat for sure. = )

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