Just in Time for the Holidays, Chinese Ladies Are Renting Boyfriends

Proving that the plot of every bad rom-com you've ever seen might actually be true

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It turns out plot points for mediocre American romantic comedies have an afterlife in people’s real, depressing lives abroad.

First the Norwegian Minister for Children, Equality and Social Inclusion announced that her plan to lower the country’s divorce rate was inspired by Tina Fey and Steve Carrell’s Date Night. And now The Wedding Date scenarios are becoming commonplace in China as single women — which state media often refer to as “leftover women” — are renting out boyfriends to appease disapproving parents during the holiday season.

Online Chinese newspaper People’s Daily reported on the phenomenon on Monday, which is China’s official Singles’ Day. Singles’ Day, which occurs annually on 11/11, celebrates the unattached’s one true love: online shopping. But on top of taking advantage of retailers’ holiday shoe promotions (and they are, in record numbers), People’s Daily says Chinese women are turning to retailer Taobao for temporary boyfriends costing from $82 to $1300 a day.

The price list per hour can be quite detailed. In some cases, dining is 50 yuan an hour [the employer pays], shopping 30 yuan, seeing a movie 30 yuan [double price for a thriller]. A by-courtesy-only kiss costs 50 yuan, which will also include a free embrace, free hand-holding and a free goodbye kiss on the cheek or forehead.

The Daily Dot notes that the practice even inspired a hit Chinese TV series.

The next time life imitates art(ish), we hope it’s in the form of The First Wives Club.