Lonely, How About Renting A Family Member?

If pet rental isn't enough to fill the void in your soul, how about renting a mommy or daddy? If you're a single mom, and you think your child needs a father figure, just rent them love by the hour. Or, at least you can if you live in Japan.
"The website says the "dad" will help the children with their homework. He will sort out problems with the neighbors. He will take the kids to a barbecue or to a park. He could also appear at the daunting interview with a nursery school head teacher which parents are required to endure in order to persuade the principal to give their child a good start in life."

While one hopes they check all the actors to make sure they aren't sex offenders, I think there's a much bigger concern here. Have our lives really gotten so empty that we must rent relationships rather than forging our own? And how long until this service comes to the states? I've really wanted to have a family reunion, but don't feel like actually contacting all of my distant relatives.

Link Via TokyoMango

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There is a service in the US that matches people who need family, with people who want to be their family. Rather than "renting," there is a nominal one time membership fee, and you are matched with people who need you as much as you need them. www.CreatingExtendedFamilies.com And you don't even pay unless there is at least one potential match in your vicinity.
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Culture does play in a large role in how much more acceptable this is in Japan where emotional needs are often appeased by monetary means. While geishas did use their bodies, many were instead expected to entertain by witty conversation and artistic endeavor...in short providing reprieve from the emotional stresses of life and not necessarily by physical means. Giving payment for temporary family members may sound strange to us but therapists also provide emotional help for a fee and that is increasingly more commonplace here.

Perhaps it seems sad that people are paying actors money to act as family, but (money aside) I view this as no different than a number of people born into families that are less than ideal. Those people enrich their lives by creating a family composed of close-knit friends and mentors, thereby CHOOSING the people in their family. It would be emotionally more rewarding to pick family that way but some places and some people don't have that kind of luxury.
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I have to agree with violet in saying that it is a rather creative solution for those in need of the help. Say what you will about Japanese society being male dominated or whatever, but at least this is a society that recognizes these needs and attempts to fill that void, whether it be for an alpha male or a loving pet. After all, some male dominated societies discard women outright.

I think it's very sad that there is a demand for a business like this, and in the States or here in the UK, it would be ridiculed and people would be too ashamed to use it. However, I bet a lot of people in the US and UK would benefit from it.
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I don't know; it seems like kind of a creative solution for people that need help. Best case scenarios like truly good-hearted people coming to form a bond with their host family seem quite plausible. I was a nanny for years and that worked out fine. Just because there's an exchange (money for time, advocacy) doesn't mean it's devoid of meaning or heart. Necessarily.

I suppose ideally we'd all have sprawling extended support systems made up of wonderful people we're glad to be connected inextricably with, but most big families don't fit that description. A lot of people have unhealthy relationships with their family, but are dependent on/beholden to them nonetheless. I think I'd rather choose my team member than have to depend on someone with whom the dynamics were imbalanced and screwy just because they happened to be related to me.
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