Lonely? Rent a friend and pay by the hour
Thu, 22 Jul 2010 4:30a.m.
By Jerram Watts
Heading out to the movies but have no-one to go with? Or do you have a work function but don’t want to show up alone?
Why not rent a friend?
Effort used to be required to make friends; you had to go looking and be willing; you had to put yourself out there and appear approachable and fun.
But no more; you can now purchase a friend at your convenience and pay by the hour.
Hire a gym buddy, a shopping tag-along, a coffee gossip or simply someone to fill the seat next to you on the park bench – there is a friend for everyone.
This phenomenon has its roots in Japan, but has become big in the US, The Guardian reports. The website www.rentafriend.com has a database of 218,000 ‘friends’ waiting to be rented.
The website maintains the friendships are “strictly platonic” and is “not a dating website and not an escort agency”.
Users in the US or Canada seeking companionship can simply enter their zipcode and a list of ‘friends’ who live close by appears.
You can view their photos, read their profiles and see what they are interested in before you commit to the friendship.
But the site isn’t just for your typical loners; you can rent a friend who may possess a particular skill or talent you wish to learn.
They can teach you a new language, share a new hobby or debate Voltaire’s philosophies – if you are that way inclined.
In most cases the rent is relatively affordable; averaging around US$10 an hour, but the website says it is not uncommon for the friend to waive the fee depending on the activity.
Apparently 2,000 ‘Nigel-no-mates’ pay to subscribe to the site, but compared to the 218,000 friends for hire, it probably says more about what people will do to make a quick buck.
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22/07/2010 7:40:02 a.m.
I think that guy's rented a different type of friend
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