Who says love can’t be bought? In China, it can be…at least for a little while. As millions of young Chinese women return home this summer from school, they’ll face their anxious parents. The gulf between cultures might make such practices bizarre to western nations, but in China, women are expected to be married by the time they’re 30 years old. With so many young adult women in China facing the prospect of being “unwanted” and unmarried, many resort to renting a boyfriend in an attempt to deflect inquisitive relationship questions from demanding parents.
For many young women, showing up at home with a pleasant-looking, well-behaved boyfriend – even if your family never sees him again – is better than enduring two weeks of questions about why there’s no marriage or kids on the horizon. (China can be a deeply sexist society – women who are unmarried past the age of 30 are often referred to as “leftover women,” even in official media.)- The Globe and Mail
This elaborate courting service may sound extreme to western civilizations but have become part of the cultural norm in Asian countries that place high emphasis on courting and family planning for their young. Boyfriend rental services have boomed as result of this maligned custom. There’s no reprieve for these relationship-gigolos, who admit they wouldn’t be a serious candidate to the women who hire them due to their blue-collar backgrounds. With so much emphasis on money and status playing a role in barring young Chinese from matching up, maybe The Beatles were on to something when they wrote “Can’t Buy Me Love.”