April 01, 2013 08:24
A company is advertising men who will pose as husbands for women at social gatherings for just W50,000 for two to three hours (US$1=W1,111).
One woman banker used the service last month and intends to use it again. "It's really convenient for social occasions," she said. The woman is 36 years old and single but did not want to be left out of social gatherings with colleagues which involve spouses.
"The price is manageable and it's really efficient," she said. "I don't plan on marrying soon so I'm going to use the service from time to time."
It has become popular among single women in their 30s and 40s. "Our main clients are single, professional women who need someone on occasions like signing real estate contracts," said a staffer. "They also seek to rent husbands when they have nobody to eat or spend their holidays with."
Pets are also available for rent, a popular service among foreigners who live in Korea for limited periods. It costs around W50,000 to rent a pet for three days, but people who use this service say the price is affordable considering the expenses of raising their own pet, such as vaccinations, grooming and pet hotel fees.
Other services supply people who pose as family members or friends of young men serving their mandatory military duty so they do not feel left out on visiting days.
But critics are worried about the trend to disposability. "If we put a price on non-material things like family, we may end up harming the very values that we hold dearest," said Kim Seok-ho at Sungkyunkwan University. "This rental culture has been created by people's inability to accept that they can't have everything."
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