For young and middle-aged women in China who just want to live freely without being hounded by their parents to marry, renting a boyfriend for a day could be the perfect answer! Japanese news site, Nikkei, recently sat down with 27-year-old financial businessman and volunteer boyfriend, Wang Zhuo, for an interview regarding his 100 plus “girlfriends” over the past two years. Could it be that for whatever reason China’s women are becoming increasingly dependent on rental boyfriends? We’ve seen how it works for lonely ladies in Japan! What sort of insights has Wang gained into these Chinese women’s desires…

Early on in his exploits as a rental boyfriend, Wang remembers being contacted by a particular hard-working career woman (let’s call her Ning), with power over nearly 1,000 subordinates at her place of work in Beijing’s private banking industry. She was actually 10 years Wang’s senior in the same financial company where he worked! Just before the anniversary of China’s founding Wang received a short message from Ning that read, “I understand that you act as a rental boyfriend? I was wondering if we could meet.”

“I’m not interested in getting married or in getting a boyfriend,” Ning explained at their meeting. She had graduated from one of Beijing’s top universities and then entered into the workforce, where she drove herself to become one of the 30 most important people in a company with approximately 20,000 employees. If she were to continue down this path, she could very well achieve her dream of becoming company president! Love and marriage did not appear on Ning’s list of priorities.

However, Ning had trouble explaining these things to her parents, and even more so to her grandparents. They constantly made remarks such as, “It’s strange for a woman to be 35 years old and single. Our neighbors will start to spread rumors!” Ning’s grandmother in particular would repeat this same sentiment over and over. Ning tried to rebuttle, “ Grandma, I’m really just focused on work right now. I’m more successful now than any of my former peers, and there’s room for me to climb even higher in the company.” But, no matter how many times she explained herself, the meaning wouldn’t stick, and her grandmother would ask, “But what about children?” leaving Ning at a loss.

All of this urging to get married and have kids was not just some selfish desire to have cute, little grandkids running about. Ning’s grandparents must have understood first-hand that social security benefits like pension, as well as nursing care, are insufficient in China. It’s often necessary for elderly people to rely on their children and grandchildren to care for them in their old age. Nevertheless, Ning did not want to hear it.

Ning brought Wang with her to her parents’ home in the Beijing suburbs for National Foundation Day, in hopes of easing her family’s worries. In order to hide the staggering age difference between the two, Wang, “the boyfriend,” dressed formally and introduced himself as being 30, adding five years to his actual age. He watched as utter relief grew on the face of Ning’s grandmother, utterly convinced by their lovers’ act.

Although Wang has escorted more than 100 women in his time as a rental boyfriend, only five of those encounters have resulted in actual relationships. In order to avoid complications down the line, Wang insists on having a preliminary chat at the woman’s place of employment, so that he can fully explain the rules and limitations of his service before putting on the boyfriend act.

Wang recalled one instance where he pretended to be the boyfriend of a 29-year-old medical professional from Heibei Province (let’s call this one Chun). Nearly every night Chun’s parents would call her and press her on the importance of marriage. She wasn’t sure what to do, so she contacted Wang for help, asking him to join her at her parents’ house for a formal marriage interview. She didn’t want her family to discover how attracted she was to single life in the city. “Just thinking of how my mother would react gives me shivers. She’s the type to nag and complain if I’m even a little late returning home. She’d surely take all my freedoms away.”

And so, last year on the Chinese New Year, Wang and Chun went to Heibei to stay with Chun’s family for a week. “I come from Shandong Province but now work with financing in Beijing,” Wang claimed for his introduction. “My parents have a house out in the country, but in Beijing I don’t yet have my own home or automobile.” At that, and despite this being their first time meeting, Chun’s father clapped Wang on the shoulder and said, “Don’t worry. That’s no problem. If you marry our daughter, we’ll buy you both a house and a car!” How presumptuous!

It’s been two years since Wang first put out his Internet offer to be a free rental boyfriend. At first it was exciting to see new requests, but after crossing paths with more than 100 single women in this manner, he can really sense the enormous pressure that each of these ladies has to live with. As Wang puts it, “I feel bad for deceiving all of these kind and well-meaning parents. However, these women request a rental boyfriend because they want to better focus on their careers. If doing so helps them to achieve their goals, then my job was well worth it.”

Source: Nihon Keizai Shinbun