BEIJING: The woman in the picture looked cheerful enough, but her words posted on an internet message board spoke of desperation: “I’ll be 28
this year, which I think is a normal age to be single, but my parents back home have been harassing me every day to get married. I promised I would bring home a boyfriend for New Year’s, but I’ve been too busy with work and haven’t found one. I don’t want to let my parents down, so I’ve decided to rent a boyfriend to come home with me.”
The successful applicant would earn $735, for the 10-day home stay during the Lunar New Year holiday, also known here as Spring Festival.
Lest candidates get the wrong idea, the woman also wrote: “We will not sleep together.”
The Lunar New Year, which begins Sunday, is the most important day in the traditional Chinese calendar. In recent years, thousands of “rental lover” ads have popped up on websites as young people turn to the internet to hire a counterfeit boyfriend or girlfriend to fool their families during the high-anxiety visit home.
Even more numerous are ads by people offering themselves up as the rented co-conspirator. nyt news service