"A boy or girl student is wanted for Valentine's Day: 20 yuan (about 2.67 U.S. dollars) per hour for a movie, two yuan (nearly 0.3 dollar) for a hug and five yuan (nearly 0.7 dollar) for a kiss."
This is not an advertisement, but a post on a city BBS on Thursday, and it attracted loads of messages. The male college student who posted this didn't want to spend a Valentine's Day without a sweetheart.
The student, who was named "always lonely in university", put up the post on Feb. 12. He said he felt bad when he saw couples out together - and he definitely didn't want to spend another Valentine's Day without a girlfriend.
It astonished everyone that his post was quite popular among Internet users. A girl even left her e-mail address or QQ number, with the hope of receiving both love and money on Valentine's Day.
A boy who is named "I love girlfriend" said he had few expectations to rent a girlfriend. He put up the post because he was lonely. "If I can find one, it will be a romantic Valentine's Day. However, I'll lose nothing even if I can't," he said.
Two other students expressed the same idea, "Nothing is impossible these days," they said.
But some claimed that renting love is not pure. One of their messages read that life would be colorful if one could spend a Valentine's Day with a person you love. But it is really weird if you rent a person. You'd not feel happy to have a day which is more like a business deal.
Two Spring Forum is a BBS where such posts appear. A forum official, who refused to give his name, said that these posts would not be deleted. "There are also many similar posts on other forums. These posts haven't violated any rule of our forum, and they will not harm others."
In fact, the "rental" of girlfriend has been popular in recent years. Last year, a Peking University student, Zhu Lijie, offered 1,000 yuan (about 133.3 U.S. dollars) for ten days "rental" of a girlfriend to take home for the holidays to please his parents.
"People who rent girlfriends to go home just mean to comfort their parents. But people who rent a "lover" for a Valentine's Day are just trying to please themselves," said Dr Zheng Xiaohua, an expert at a psychiatric hospital in Changchun, capital of northeastern Jilin Province.
Zheng believed that these phenomena resulted from the loneliness of modern urban life. But it's worth noting that renting a lover may lead to some sex-related service, which runs counter to the moral meaning of Valentine's Day.
"People should be wary about losing money or love because of the ignorance of rented lovers," he warned.
Xia Xueluan, professor of sociology at Peking University said, "It's understandable to rent a girlfriend to comfort parents. But it's inappropriate to rent a lover for Valentine's Day. It will only degrade social conduct."
"Leaf without leafstalk" is a young boy who spent yesterday with a rented girlfriend. "At first there was a little embarrassment. But an hour later we got familiar and everything went well," he said. They had dinner and went to watch a movie. "It felt much better than staying at home lonely," he said. But he wouldn't say whether he got to kiss the girl before the night was over.
(Xinhua News Agency February 18, 2008)